The Kelly Family Biography

Review The Artist (22)

The Kelly Family-photo
The history of the Kelly Family must be one of the most unusual band biographies there is. Back in 1966, dancer Barbara Ann and her husband Daniel Jerome Kelly leave the USA with the four children Danny, Caroline, Paul and Kathy and settle in southern Spain. Inspired by the ancient traditions of their new homeland, the children begin singing and dancing to folk music with their parents. Because they enjoy making music, they start appearing at birthday parties, weddings and local fiestas. Dan Kelly, whose work as an antiques dealer in Toledo makes him the family breadwinner from 1966 to 1972, gives up the business and starts singing with his children.

n 1973 the family moves to Pamplona and for a year, runs the artists' tavern "La Viana" there. Mother Barbara gives the children ballet lessons at home, and they take music lessons in the city of Talavera de la Reina. Under the name of the "Kelly Kids", the family make their Spanish television debut in 1975 and go on tour through Spain.

Their first trip to Italy in 1976 unexpectedly turns into the start of an extended tour of Europe. While Dan Kelly is showing his children the city of Rome, the Kellys' minibus is looted, leaving only their instruments and passports. Seriously short of money now, the family starts singing on the street. Passers-by stop in amazement, and the collecting-basket keeps filling up with money. At the end of the first day, Dan tells his children: "Kids, our life has changed!" They go on from Italy to Austria, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands. 1977 sees the Kellys in Germany, where they are discovered as street musicians, and not long after that, they sign their first record contract.

They get their first Number 1 hit in Holland and Belgium in 1980 with "Who'll Come With Me (David's Song)" (and make 40 TV appearances), and in Germany, the single climbs to No. 15. Their English double-decker of those days, with its trademark logo "The Kelly Family", is a familiar sight.

The Kelly children's mother contracts breast cancer in 1981. The family returns to Pamplona, Spain. A year later, when mother Barbara Ann dies, it seems as if the dream that began so promisingly has come to an abrupt end. The Kellys take her last wish, "Keep on singing", as a promise to be fulfilled.

1983 sees the family return to Paris, and in 1986 they tour the streets of 20 US cities, finally coming back to Germany in 1988. They found their own record company, "KEL-Life", and settle down for a while: the houseboat "Sean O'Kelley", which they buy in Amsterdam in 1989, becomes their new permanent home. A new blow befalls the family in 1990: Father Dan has a stroke, is paralysed down his right side and is bedridden. The Kelly children go on tour alone for the first time. Thanks to his iron discipline, their father gets back on his feet, and for the first time since his illness, he appears with his kids in 1994 in front of 16,000 people on the stage of the Westfalenhalle in Dortmund.

he 1993 album "Wow" marks the start of a new era. Streets and tents have grown too small for the successful musical family. Their album "Over the Hump" seals their success in 1994 and brings the final breakthrough. The disc sells more than 4.5 million copies in Europe. The Kellys appear on almost all the popular TV shows. Their own TV specials are watched by an audience of millions. By 1995, the Kellys have won all the big viewers' and listeners' prizes: Bambi, Goldener Löwe, Golden BRAVO-Otto, Golden Europa, 2 Viva Comets and the German Video Prize. It's soon raining platinum and gold for their albums and singles. The family fills all Europe's football stadiums and makes its biggest live appearance in Vienna before an audience of 250,000.

he Kelly Family success continues with the album "Almost Heaven" (1996). After moving to their new home of Eastgrove in southern Ireland, they pass another milestone with "Growin' Up" (1997). The family return to Germany in September 1998 and make their principal residence Schloss Gymnich (the former guest house for state visitors to Germany). The family go back on tour with their album "From Their Hearts" (1998). They mark their 25th anniversary with two Best Of albums (1999). Meanwhile, the Kellys are known on other continents, in countries such as China, South Africa and the USA.

With a total of over 15 million albums sold and over 2 million videos to their credit, the Kelly Family can look back after 27 years of band history on a thoroughly successful career. The album "Over the Hump", with which the Kelly Family made their definitive international breakthrough, has sold 3.5 million copies in Germany alone, making it Germany's all-time best-seller. Worldwide, the singing family have collected a stack of gold awards and 48 platinum discs to date.

In the spring of 2001 Angelo, Maite. Paddy, Barby, Joey, Jimmy and Patricia went into studio in the south of france and recorded their 15th studio album "La Patata" (named after one of the Kellys favoured restaurant), which was released on the 8th of April 2002. They also performed over 80 concerts throuout the whole of europe.

Due to the decreased health from his operation before christmas (2001) Daniel Jerome Kelly peacefully passed away at the age of 71 on the 5th of August 2002 surrounded by his family at home. Shortly after his burial in Irland and the memorial ceremonie for the public, the Kellys completed their schedule apperances and continued touring.

In this year of 2003 the band is perfoming some concerts across Europe, and they're in studio recording their new album.

Thanks to kelyluna for submitting the biography.

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kelly family | Reviewer: lenka | 8/3/14

I used to listed to Kelly Family 20 years ago when I was a teenager..I went to see them 3 times live in concert. They are wonderful and talented people I had nearly all video tapes from concerts etc..posters. I would like to see more news about them:-)

Correction to biography | Reviewer: TTaylor | 7/3/14

Just to put the record straight: Barbara Ann is not the mother of the four eldest children. This explains the fact that the first four children have long oval faces and black hair, while the next stage of the family, Barbara Ann's children are all fair and have rounder faces. Barbara Ann came to the family as Nanny to Caroline Paul and Kathy, when there mother returned to the US, taking Daniel Jnr. Daniel and Barbara Ann fell in love. John is the eldest child of Barbara Ann.

Review from Canada and a great fan. | Reviewer: Glenn Hardy | 5/6/14

Never heard of the Kelly family until about two months ago, now can't get enough of them. I would like to say I don't have a favorite individual as all are talented performers that sing in many languages play many differant instruments, I will get to my favorite in a minute but first I have to mention that for all thier concerts that they do there never is a feeling that they are better than anyone else and never a moment of showing of. This relates back to thier up bringing and thier parents. Now for my favorite it has to be Kathy, her ability to reach the high notes gives a smooth transition to most of thier songs. Example of that would be when Paddy and Angelo sing Angel and Angelo cuts in to sing I wish I was an Angel or something like that and always did a great job but however as Angelo got older his voice leveled out beautifully and the Key that Angel is sung in is now a little too high, now enters Kathy and hits that part just right. My name is Glenn Hardy from Canada and I am really glad to have found your family on the Internet.

smokey | Reviewer: terry tate | 1/16/14

i did not know you had a hard life.i watch you every time i can.i think you are so smart,you are so pretty you make my heart flutter every time i see you,keep going gearl, ill be watching you. kissis

one more time | Reviewer: terry tate | 1/16/14

i did not know you had a hard life.i watch you every time i can.i think you are so smart,you are so pretty you make my heart flutter every time i see you,keep going gearl, ill be watching you. kissis

The mother of the older children was Joanne, not Barbara | Reviewer: Shia | 10/14/13

I think some of the information about their early days here is incorrect. The older four children were not born to Barbara, but to Joanne Kelly, who divorced their father a year or two after they moved to Spain. She returned to the USA with Daniel Jr. Their father then married Barbara, with whom he had the younger eight children.

Makes me remember that Love is all there is | Reviewer: Val Kiernan | 7/16/13

Just rediscovered this family thru F.B. Having heard them when I was young but being too busy to fully absorb the richness of their talents didn't have an effect. But now, at 51 I've lived a life been thru a divorce yada yada, now a a singer myself as are 3 of my 4 children I sing and perorm with my children when I can. In fact we have a gig coming up soon with my exhusband and my two sons. Music binds us together. I live in Greystones, Co. Wicklow IRELAND.

Please help - DVD's? | Reviewer: Sue | 1/18/13

I discovered the Kelly Family some time ago, and have been teased ever since about them. I have quite a few of their cd's , and have just ordered "Growing Up" via Amazon, as it was in my car's cd player when it was stolen, and I could not get a copy in South Africa.

However, I would really like to purchase a DVD of one of their concerts, and can't seem to find one, can anyone point me in the right direction? Many thanks

The Best There Ever Was | Reviewer: Gennie Tucker | 12/1/12

I have been listening to the Kelly Family for a few years now and have introduced them to my family and friends. I just cannot seem to get enough of their voices, I have on the computer at night and at work I listen to them with my ear plugs on my phone. I have to say it is hard to have a favorite song or singer when all the songs are so beautiful and all the family are so very talented and have very strong voices. I guess when you hear them for the first time that there will be one or two songs that stand out more then the others. The song that stands out most and the one that brings a tear to my eye every time I watch the video is Take My Hand with Papa on stage with Paddy after his stroke. I also love to watch and listen to Paddy sing the same song when he goes down to the audience and shake their hands, very touching and then when he goes back on stage to do his little dance , that is very funny. I also like the song Santa Marie and An Anglel very much. Those were the ones that caught my attention a few years ago. What I would give to see this family in concert, yes I would take my last dollar if need be if they had ever come to Canada. They were by far the most talented and interesting band I ever heard.

Springboard to Prayer | Reviewer: Adelina Kelly | 10/23/12

My son introduced me to the Kelly Family Band a few months ago, perhaps to add to my list of "painkillers". I am in constant back pain due to past injuries and operations and. I refuse to take the meds because of stomach sensitivity. I found the music very effective to distract me from the pain and gives me a quick start to pray...and intercede for the world. I belong to a group of prayer- warriors ...Intercessors without borders...One of our constant prqyer intentions is for the youth . Paddy's testimony of conversion is such an inspiration, we have used it a lot In our workshop: Deepening the Prayer Life . We also use some of his songs as. Preludes to the Meditations. I pray that someday Paddy will visit Canada and surprise our participants and sing those songs in person as we introduce them to the different ways to deepen the prayer life. May he and his family continue to bless God's people with their music . God bless each one of them with good health and continued energy to do what they're doing.
With much gratitude and prayers,
Adelina Kelly. ( sorry we are not related, but my late husband 's. parents came to
Canada from Ireland in the early1900's)

South Africa an option? | Reviewer: Rita Haley | 1/10/12

HI I'm from South Africa the first song I've heard of the Kelly Family was Because its Love that was a long time ago ... I started looking for the cd's, try doing that without internet....I finally got it 1998 .....Bought all I could get. I love them because they show so much heart and passion! And because of the bond they have as a family! I'm speechless....

inspiration | Reviewer: Ted + family | 9/22/11

Thank You, "freedom of information". Art and passion would be never seen if not the freedom of internet. Every stick has two ends, You get the good with the bad and You get the bed with the good - You certainly get the good out of this freedom. My kids( 5+7) love it, ask for it and sing along - no more I could ask for. Thank You parents for Your strength and persistence. I hope You will reunite and my kids and myself will see You life in USA or Europe. Stay fit, TG

a Angels | Reviewer: Marielle | 6/6/11

À mon humble avis ils sont tous merveilleusement bon et incroyable tout l'énergie qu'ils y mettent moi j'en suis toute émue et exité de voir autant de talents multiples j'aurais envie de les embrassé tous tellement ils me donne de la joie dans le coeur et l'esprit un tonic infaillible j'aimerais tant les voir en personne ou peut-on aller les voir ... merci de tout coeur pour ces beaux moments à les écouter aurevoir ...

Can't get enough of the Kelly's | Reviewer: Betty McCarthy | 5/6/11

Like so many of the other's I also found The Kelly's on Youtube. I listen to the all the time. I this the US has really missed out on some wonderful music. It is so amazing to see how they have grown and have families of their own. I sure do wish they would come to America. I have several of them as friends on facebook and try to keep up with them. What a wonderful family!

Love the Kelly Family | Reviewer: Laura Gammon | 4/27/11

Funny how the p p song revealed such an amazing gift. I too kept searching on you tube for their music. Something special in their eyes, such tenderness in their hearts. I do hope their music can be heard here in the States. I am a huge fan now!

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