Remember the hit songs “I Dream to Sleep to Sleep” and “Just Outside of Heaven” under RCA Records in the early 80s? I Dream peaked at No. 17 on the UK Singles Chart in June 1983 while the follow-up single “Just Outside of Heaven” reached No. 38 later the same year. These were among the most memorable songs of the H2O, formed in Glasgow, Scotland in 1978 by lead singer Ian Donaldson together with Alan McGhee (who later went on to discover OASIS and launch Creation Records).
Since then, Top of The Pops appearances and chart success in Europe, The Far East, and Australia established the H2O around much of the world. However, the band broke up in 1985.
Despite the break-up, Ian and keyboardist Ross Alcock continued to write and demo new material, in an attempt to obtain a new record deal which eventually resulted in ‘Blue Diamond’, another hit record in early 1986, and Ian’s first solo record a version of The Walker Brothers’ “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore.”
The following years turned up productive for Ian, resulting in touring, club DJing, writing for and producing other artists, and a weekly show as a Radio DJ. Ian Donaldson’s Essential 80’s on Your Radio.
The songwriter is a novelist, too
More recently, in 2017, Ian had his first novel A Rainbow in the Basement published by Strident Publishing. Launched at Glasgow’s Aye Write annual Book Festival, it was nominated for the prestigious Saltire First Book Prize. Described as Magic Realism, Donn Albright, who worked with legendry US fantasy writer Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451, The Illustrated Man, and many others) for over 50 years, wrote the afterward for the book: “This is fine writing that rivals Ray Bradbury at his very best”. Since being published, A Rainbow in the Basement has been added by a number of UK High Schools to their English Curriculums as part of students’ course work. I have two more books currently in the works.
The following year. Ian released a solo album of new music: ‘From Stars We Came’. The Q Magazine reviewed it this way: “From Stars We Came is a bold and imaginative collection of songs reflecting upon a life well lived. Full of otherworldly prose, and razor-sharp observations. Beautiful. Staggering at times. Invest. Your soul will thank you.”
Most recently Ian teamed up again with Alan McGhee and Craig Walker, a Dublin musician living in Berlin. They collaborated on a new material resulting in ‘All I Have is Forever’ which Alan released earlier this year on his new label, It’s Creation, Baby.
“The reaction to the song has been amazing. Radio play, new followers, sold-out shows … wonderful forward motion. Craig and I have finished our next record, due to be released in August of this year, once again on It’s Creation, Baby,” Ian told Soundstrip via an email interview.
“The immediate future is equally exciting … I will be in the Philippines in late July to headline a New Wave Concert. A new album release of brand-new remixes of H20, ‘Diamonds Never Rust’ will be released there, too,” he added.
H2O followers and music lovers would surely rejoice with this new development on Ian Donaldson.