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Polka Dots Feature (1964-1971)

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

The Story

When they formed around 1964, the Polka Dots had several future stars among their ranks.

Within a short time, Rob Strong was on bass, Frankie McBride lead singer and Gregory Donaghy was also in the band. Gregory would be first to leave, joining the Cadets. A year later, Rob strong moved to the Plattermen. And the band also included guitar ace, Arty McGlynn for a time. 

There aren't many Irish showbands that can claim success in the British single charts, but Frankie McBride of the Polka Dots is one of them. In the summer of 1967, his single, Five Little Fingers, reached number 19 in the UK charts. The massive success of the single resulted in rumours that Frankie would be leaving the band to pursue a solo career. However, Frankie stayed with the band, saying in a 1967 Spotlight interview, "I have been very happy with the Dots and we have come a long way together. We are looking forward to even greater things."

In November, 1970, Frankie announced he was leaving the Polka Dots to start a country band of his own. To coincide with the launch of the new outfit, Emerald planned a release of a new single, Daddy's Little Man, while the new band was rehearsing. However, in February, 1971 Frankie announced he had joined a new outfit, The Highwaymen. Frankie released an album, Real Smooth Country, in 1971.

In July, 1972, Frankie had moved on to a new band, Rio Grande, which included Barry McAllister (keyboards), Brendan Sweeney (guitar), Martin Coll (guitar), Don Sherry (bass), Anthony Hughes (drums) and Frankie (vocals).

In the meantime, Pio McCann of the band, spotted a young singer at a local talent show which turned out to be Hugo Duncan, who had just left the Melody Aces after six months. He was introduced to the band and replaced Frankie, but the magic was gone and the band disbanded after only a few months. 

More to come.....

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

  Polka Dots (BS) Polka Dots (JB) Dots Showband (JB) Frankie McBride - 1966 (LR) Frankie McBride - 1967

Frankie McBride - 1967 Frankie McBride - 1967   Polka Dots - 1967 Frankie McBride - 1967 Frankie McBride - 1968
Polka Dots (PL) Polka Dots (PL) Polka Dots - 1965 (PL) Polka Dots (PL) Polka Dots (PL)
Polka Dots (PL) Polka Dots (PL) Polka Dots (PL)

Coming Soon

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Years Vocals Guitar Bass Drums Keyboards Sax Trumpet


Cottage In Old Donegal / Long Black Limousine - #28 Irish Charts
Emerald Records - Unknown - April, 1967
Five Little Fingers / Long Black Limousine
- #2 Irish Charts  [#19 UK Charts]
Emerald Records - MD.1081 - July, 1967
Burning Bridges / Don't Make Me Go
- #11 Irish Charts
Emerald Records - MD.1086 - November, 1967
Hold Me / I'm Going Home
Emerald Records - MD.1093 - 1968
With Pen In Hand / Oh How I Miss You
Emerald Records - MD.1102 - 1968
Long Black Limousine / Love Bug
Emerald Records - MD.1109 - 1968
Give Me Your Word / Bienvenidos Amigos
Emerald Records - MD.1125 - 1969


Frankie McBride Sings
Emerald Records - MLD 28 - December, 1967
Real Smooth Country
Emerald Records - GES 1062 - 1971

Audio Clips

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Where Are They Now?  

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