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Dreams Feature (1968 - 197?)

Photo Gallery - Band Lineups - Discography - Audio samples - Where Are They Now?

The Story

The Dreams started life in July, 1968 and played their first gig in the Television Club in Dublin on July 8th. They were fronted by John Farrell who had previously been lead singer with The Movement, one of the most popular groups on the Dublin beat group scene for several years. As was the custom at the time, any beat group musician or singer with talent and a following was soon drafted into the world of the showbands. Tony Kenny, Bobby Kelly and Fran Byrne (of the Sands), Fran O'Toole and Paul Ashford (of the Miami), Mick Roche (of the Arrows) and John, along with many many more all came from the same small group of musicians in Dublin.

Managed by Jim Hand, one of the shrewdest promoters in the Irish entertainment industry, the band was launched in a flurry of excitement at a time when the "showbands" were undergoing a major identity crisis and the impending split between pop and country had began. The band was an answer to the aging and "tired" showband scene which had enjoyed many years of success under the guidance of stars like Dickie Rock and Brendan Bowyer, but 1968 saw a multitude of changes of the scene with bands like the Dreams presenting a new younger, more exciting image for punters.

The original Dreams lineup included two members of the Debonaires - bandleader Shay O'Donoghue (keyboards) and Joe Geoghegan (sax) along with group players: Eric Bell (previously with Van Morrison's Them and Shades of Blue and soon to be Thin Lizzy guitarist), Mark McCormack (Duffy's Circus trumpeter), Jim Hudson (formerly bass player with King Bees), and Dougie McIlwaine (drummer formerly with the Mad Lads).

John, from Cabra in Dublin, was one of eleven children. In an article in Spotlight in 1969, he spoke about his desire to be in a band, "I always wanted to sing with a big band and I think living on the same road in Cabra as Dickie Rock was a great inspiration." The band's first single was "I'll See You There" which established the band on the dance circuit as well as reaching number 14 in the Irish Charts. The B side was Shay's original, A Boy Needs A Girl. Although originally a seven piece, they added former Miami member, Pat McCarthy on trombone in January, 1969, expanding to an eight piece.

In late 1968, the band appeared on the German TV Show, "4,3,2,1." Manager Jim Hand, announced the band was making a play for success on the continent.

Their next single was "Baby, I'm Your Man," formerly a hit for Dickie Rock and again, written by Shay O'Donoghue, it just made it into the top twenty. After releasing "Sweeter Than Sugar" which failed to chart, they hit the jackpot with "The Casatchok," a continental dance craze which was sweeping Europe at the time. The disc reached number five in the Irish charts and firmly establish The Dreams as one of the top pop bands of the late sixties and early 70's.

In the January 1st, 1970 issue of Spotlight, Pat Egan revealed that Eric Bell would be leaving the Dreams to form a group within a few weeks. Of course, Eric left to form the band that would become Thin Lizzy. He was replaced by Damien McKerr. The band brought out another single, Don't Throw Your Love Away, also written by Shay, but again the single failed to chart.

In August 1970, the band underwent a major upheaval when John Farrell and a few other members broke away to form a new band called "Freedom." The reason for the new band was explained by John in a 1970 Spotlight article, "we'll be much more progressive, now than we were in the Dreams. We'll be doing stuff by Chicago and The Band and a lot of stuff by Van Morrison." Unfortunately, Freedom started off slowly and then fizzled out altogether. The band was off the road by June, 1971. At that time, only member Mark McCormack found worked with Frankie Carroll's Ranchers.

The move left The Dreams with the task of rebuilding the band and they did so by adding lead singer, Eric Murray, to the ranks. Eric, from Dublin, had previously sang on the group scene with The Strangers, Hot Air Machine, and the Pebbles, among others. The new band debuted on Friday, September 4th, 1970 in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone. The band also included several new members including Pat Flahive (bass), Alan Thunder (also from Hot Air Machine on drums) and Jackie Aherne from Cork on sax. In May, 1971, Shay would leave to take a job as the Musical Director at the Old Sheiling. In the August 19, 1971 issue of Spotlight Pat Egan reported that former Creature, Liam McKenna had left Gypsy Rock to join the Dreams, so we assume Damien McKerr joined Freedom.

Just three months later, in the November 11, 1971 issue of Spotlight, it was reported that the band had changed its lineup and name. The band would be known as the Dreams Rock N' Roll Circus and the new lead singer was Jimmy Fanning. The rest of the lineup included Liam McKenna (we assume on bass), Austin "Perky" Boggins (guitar), Victor McCullough (steel guitar), Kevin McAlea (from the Real McCoy - keyboards), and Willie Behan (Gypsy Rock - drums).      

More to come.....

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

The Dreams - 1969 The Dreams - 1968 The Dreams The Dreams (BS) Dreams
Dreams (TP)

The Dreams - 1971 (KS)

A - Dreams - 1970 B - Dreams - 1970 The Dreams - 1969

The Dreams (KS)

John Farrell - 1969 The Casatchock - 1969 The Dreams - 1969 The Dreams - 1969
Shay O'Donoghue-1969 Dreams - 1968 Dreams - 1970 Dreams - 1968 Dreams - 1969
Dreams - 1970 Dreams - 1968 Dreams - 1969 Dreams - 1970 Dreams - 1969
Dreams - 1968 Dreams - 1970 Dreams - 1969 Dreams - 1971 Dreams - 1970
Dreams - 1969 Dreams - 1968 Dreams - 1969 Dreams - 1969 Dreams - 1970
Dreams - 1969 Dreams - 1968 Dreams - 1969 Dreams - 1970 Dreams - 1968
Dreams - 1969 Dreams - 1969 Dreams - 1968 Dreams - 1969 Dreams - 1969
Dreams - 1968 Dreams - 1970 Dreams - 1969 Dreams - 1969 Dreams - 1968
Dreams - 1970 Dreams - 1969 Dreams - 1969 Dreams - 1968 Dreams (RF)
Dreams (RF) Dreams (RF) Dreams (RF) Dreams (RF) Dreams (RF)
Dreams (RF) Dreams (RF) Dreams - 1969 (RF) Dreams (RF) Dreams (RF)
       
Dreams (RF) Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon
         
Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon
         
Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon
         
Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon

Lineup Changes (Coming Soon)
 

Years Vocals Guitar Bass Keyboards Drums Sax/Steel Trumpet Trombone
1968 John
Farrell
Eric
Bell
Jim
Hudson
Shay
O'Donoghue
Dougie
McIlwaine
Joe
Geoghegan
Mark
McCormack
 
1969 John
Farrell
Eric
Bell
Jim
Hudson
Shay
O'Donoghue
Dougie
McIlwaine
Joe
Geoghegan
Mark
McCormack
Pat
McCarthy
1970 John
Farrell
Damien
McKerr
Jim
Hudson
Shay
O'Donoghue
Dougie
McIlwaine
Joe
Geoghegan
Mark
McCormack
Pat
McCarthy
Aug
1970
Eric
Murray
Austin
Boggins
Pat
Flahive
Shay
O'Donoghue
Alan
Thunder
Jackie
Aherne
Unknown  
1971 Eric
Murray
Austin
Boggins
Pat
Flahive
  Alan
Thunder
Jackie
Aherne
   
Nov
1971
Jimmy
Fanning
Austin
Boggins
Liam
McKenna
Kevin
McAlea
Willie
Behan
Victor
McCullough
   
                 

Discography

Singles:

I'll See You There / A Boy Needs A Girl - #14 Irish Charts
Dolphin Records - DOS.12 - September, 1968
Baby, I'm Your Man / Softly, Softly - #15 Irish Charts
Dolphin Records - DOS.25 - March, 1969
Sweeter Than Sugar / Dance In The Light of the Sun
Dolphin Records - DOS.33 - May, 1969
The Casatchok / Don't You Ask Me - #5 Irish Charts
Dolphin Records - DOS.40 - June, 1969
Don't Throw Your Love Away / All Alone Am I
Dolphin Records - DOS.57 - May, 1970
Julie (Where Has Your Love Gone) / Let The Earth be Free
Dolphin Records - DOS.57 - December, 1970

Album:

Best of The Dreams
Dolphin Records - DOLB.7002 - 1970

Audio Clips (Coming Soon)

         
Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?  

John Farrell: Unknown, if you know more, please let us know.
Eric Bell: Eric left the Dreams to form what would become Thin Lizzy. After leaving Lizzy, Eric went through several bands including his own Eric Bell Band and with Skid Row bass player Brush Shiels in the Bell-Brush Band. In 1974 he joined with ex-Jimi Hendrix bassist Noel Redding in the Noel Redding Band which lasted through 1976, recording a couple of albums. During the last 30 years, Eric has continued to gig and record with his own Eric Bell Band, playing to large crowds across the continent and around the world. He appeared with Gary Moore in 2005 performing Whiskey in the Jar to an extremely appreciative crowd (a great DVD if you're interested).  
Jim Hudson: Unknown, if you know more, please let us know.
Shay O'Donoghue: It was reported in the Southern Star newspaper June 14, 1971 that Shay had left the Dreams to become Musical Director of dance groups at the Old Sheiling and Teach Furbo. Sadly, Shay died suddenly of a stomach aneurysm on February 9th, 2007 at the age of 63. Shay's son, Danny O'Donoghue, is the lead singer with Irish pop band, The Script. If you know more, please let us know.
Dougie McIlwaine: Unknown, if you know more, please let us know.
Joe Geoghegan: Joe stood in for Paddy Cole with the Capitol for an 8 week North American tour. While in Toronto, Joe was introduced to Beverley Gardiner and they fell in love. At the same time the sax player with the resident band in the Maple Leaf Ballroom quit and Joe got the gig. He and Bev married and he settled in Toronto, joined the Civil Service and played with the band for a few years. In 1975, he formed Trillium, a quartet doing Irish, corporate and wedding circuit gigs around Toronto, but quit gigging after a heart attack in 1992. In 2002 Joe retired to a warm and sunny seaside place, where he fishes and drinks lots of local red wine. He now jams and reminisces with the musos at a local club on Sunday mornings. Our thanks to his nephew Jody for the info/
Mark McCormack: Unknown, if you know more, please let us know.
Pat McCarthy: Unknown, if you know more, please let us know.
Eric Murray:  We received an email from Eric's daughter, Erika in March 2017 telling us Eric became a photographer after leaving music, but sadly passed away on March 25th, 2015 at the age of 67. If you know more, please let us know. If you know more, please let us know.
Pat Flahive: Unknown, if you know more, please let us know.
Alan Thunder: Unknown, if you know more, please let us know.
Jackie Ahern: Unknown, if you know more, please let us know.

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In Loving Memory of Grant Gallagher: Sept. 21, 1990 - Nov. 18, 2006