A mainstay with Ireland’ premier rock magazine Hot Press for many years and one of the most well-respected music journalists in Ireland, Jackie Hayden is also a best-selling author. He followed the chart-topping success of My Boy, the Phil Lynott (of Thin Lynott) story based on interviews with the star’s mother Philomena, with the UK and Ireland release of A Map Of Love – Around Wales With Dylan Thomas. It’s a combined CD and book dealing with the places in Wales associated with the poet Dylan Thomas and referenced in his works. The CD has since been issued as a separate item and the book is available as a separate e-book.
Hayden started out with Polydor Records in the ’60s and for most of the ’70s was Marketing Manager with CBS Ireland (now Sony), where he signed U2 to their first record contract. During his time with CBS he masterminded nationwide marketing campaigns for acts as various as Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Abba, the Clash and Paul Simon. In 1983 he became a director and General Manager of Hot Press.
A founder member of the Jobs In Music Campaign, he was invited by the Irish Government to serve on the Task Force and was also appointed Chairman of a Committee to examine the International Marketing of Irish Music. He wrote The Winner In Me, the controversial biography of Don Baker, and co-wrote The Need To Know Guide To The Record Industry and The Need To Know Guide To Careers In Music. He has also delivered thought-provoking lectures to the MIX (Music Industry Xplained) course, which he helped set up, IMRO workshops, songwriters clubs and in universities and colleges throughout Ireland and the UK, in Bourges (France), Vic (Spain), Freiburg (Germany) and Austin (Texas). He penned the First Cuts column in Hot Press for fifteen years, attracting demos from Ireland, the UK and beyond as new artists submitted themselves to his constructive and often witty assessments.
2007 saw the publication of A Man In A Woman’s World, recounting his experiences within Ireland’s rape crisis movement and generating highly positive coverage from national and local media. In 2011, the updated edition of My Boy –including the first ever interviews with Philomena’s other son Leslie and daughter Philomena – spent 6 weeks at No.1 in the Irish book charts. Hayden has also been interviewed about his background and life in the music industry for a historical audio archive set up by Wexford County Library.
Despite retiring from Hot Press in 2012, Hayden has continued to combine his enthusiasm for writing, music and literature by penning a wide range of written materials, from press releases to media biogs, music career plans, lectures, articles, reviews and books. Meanwhile, in 2013/4 he delivered his lecture, Dylan, Dylan and Me, about how he discovered Dylan Thomas via Bob Dylan, in venues in Ireland and Wales. He has also presented a workshop called Write For Your Life about how to approach writing as a form of therapy.