Millionaires Showband Feature (1964-1972)
Photo Gallery -
Band Lineups -
- Audio samples -
Where Are They Now?
Millionaires were launched in Dublin's Crystal Ballroom on St.
Stephen's night, 1964 to great fanfare. They featured female
vocalist Penny Trent (real name Bridget McAenerney), managed by
Crystal owner Pat O'Flynn and the road manager was former showband
drummer Johnny Devitt. Several other new showbands were slated to
make their debut the same week including Earl Jordan's band and the
newly revamped Maisie McDaniel and the Nevada.
The original lineup was: Penny
Trent (vocals) from Cookstown, Co. Tyrone who had previously been
with the Grafton Showband for several years, Michael O'Brien
(drums), Gene Bannon (sax and band leader) from Cootehill, Co. Cavan
who previously played with the Pat Campbell Showband, Billy Doyle
(trombone) from Dublin who was previously with the Diamonds
Showband, Tommy Walshe (trumpet) from Castleblaney who had
previously played with the Jack Ruane Band and Paragon 7, Joe
Doherty (bass) from Belfast, Mickey Conn (guitar) from Dundalk who
had also been with the Grafton Showband as well as the Woodpeckers
In 1965, the band got a regular
spot on RTE's Hoedown show which exposed to a nation wide audience
and helped establish them as one of the major bands on the circuit,
although they would never reach the status of bands like the Miami,
Capitol or Nevada. They were doing good business, but still had no
records to their credit. In January 1966, they would release the
Merry Ploughboy as their first single, but it failed to chart.
In February, 1966, Penny left the
band to join the Skyrockets Showband but was not replaced as Joe
Doherty and Mick Conn sharing the spotlight as the "Yodeling Twins."
A month or two later (or possibly as the same time), Tommy Walshe
left the band and was replaced by Tuam man Jimmy Higgins, who had
previously been with the International Showband. In November, 1967,
it was announced that Johnny Devitt would take over managing band on
a full time basis after serving as road manager since their
In February, 1968, Alfie Kerrigan
(from Dublin) took over on drums for Michael O'Brien who it was
reported had gone to join an airline company in Toronto, Canada.
Alfie had spent the previous two years with Enniskillen based
Skyrockets Showband were Penny Trent (now known as Penny Starr) had
gone after leaving the band in 1966.
In May 1970 rumours of the band
breaking up were circulating on the entertainment scene and they did
eventually call it quits.
However, manager Johnny Devitt didn't waste any time in putting
together a new Millionaires who hit the road in September, 1970.
This new line-up included Mick Doherty (vocals) from Dublin formerly
of the Airliners and Pennies, Ray Grant (guitar and vocals) a former
solo artist, Jimmy O'Neill (trumpet), Noel Devine (bass), Willie
Kelly (drums), Liam Kielty (sax), and Dennis Skerritt (keyboards).
It appears this version of the band would only last a couple of
years as we can find no mention of them in dance adverts across
Ireland after August, 1972.
More to come.....
click on thumbnails for full image