The largest digital showband archive in the world!
Based In Sligo, Ireland / email: showbands@gmsproductions.com

CLICK FOR:     FREE FORUM        HOME PAGE        GUESTBOOK      MAKE A DONATION

Regal Showband Feature (1950-1972)

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

The Story

Our special thanks to Jim Cotter for his assistance with this story....

While the majority of major bands during the showband came out of Dublin and Belfast, Ireland's third largest city, Cork, also produced many fine bands. Of course, The Dixies were Cork's most famous export, but The Regal Showband (based in Bantry) was another band that did very well in the early days of the showband era. The Regal started life as The Regal Dance Band in 1950 with John Minehane as the leader and sax player (they would eventually become the The Regal Orchestra). Like most of the the early "orchestras," there were no guitars in the band. The early lineup included Paddy O'Sullivan, who would later move to bass, but like many Irish musicians in the 50's he also played accordion. His brother Mort O'Sullivan was also in the band and played accordion. Other members were Donal O'Donovan (keyboards), Sean O'Leary (trumpet), and Sean Clifford (drums).

Like almost all bands of the era, they started as part timers, playing mostly in local ballrooms and backing bigger acts that might make a swing through the area. In 1954, they were the summer resident band in the Cockleshell Hall in Crosshaven (which still stands today and is an amusement centre called La Scala). Eventually though, (again like all bands of the era), they had to make the big decision as to whether they were turning professional. For most bands, this meant some of the members dropped out, unwilling, or unable to give up their day jobs. By 1957, the band had a new lineup, had turned pro and were well and truly established as one of the top bands in the region. The lineup included, John Minehane (leader and sax), Jack Brierley (who would soon leave to form his own band), Gordon Hanley (RIP-trumpet), brothers Mort (accordion) and Paddy (bass) Sullivan, Chris St. Leger, Benno Haussmann (RIP-drums), Kevin Lynch (sax) and 18 year old Michael Noonan (vocals). Michael had previously been with the resident band in the Arcadia Ballroom, The Melody Trio. The band was being managed by John Minehane.

Within a short time, Jack Brierley had left to form his own Jack Brierley Showband, which coincidentally featured Jim Cotter on vocals. Jim would move to the Regal in 1963 and take over from Len McCarthy. By 1964, the band had established themselves as one of the top showbands in the country and during that year they played with Jim Reeves and the Blue Boys in the Redbarn in Cork. They also spent the summer of 1964 as the resident band in the famous Seapoint Ballroom in Salthill, Galway.

The band was then being managed by Paddy Kennedy of Galway and the lineup included: Gordon Hanley of Skibbereen (RIP-trumpet), John Minehane of Bantry (sax, trombone & tin whistle), Kevin Lynch of Bantry (RIP-sax), Paddy Sullivan of Bantry (bass), Mick Aherne of Cork (guitar), Declan Ryan of Cork (guitar & vocals), Benno Haussmann (RIP-drums) and Jim Cotter of Cork (vocals). Des McAlea (aka Des Lee) joined the band for a short time on sax. 

In 1965, Jim Cotter left the band to join Cork's Rio Showband, managed by Sean Murphy. The same year, The Regal had a huge hit with I Need You sung by Declan Ryan. Despite the single's success (it reached number six on the Irish charts), the band shocked the entertainment scene when they announced that four members were leaving to form a new band. Originally, the new band was supposed to be called Declan Ryan and the Regalmen, but they eventually settled on the Arrivals.  

Declan Ryan (vocals), Des McAlea (sax-a.k.a Des Lee), Mick Aherne (guitar) and Benno Haussmann (drums) departed the band and were the subject of a major marketing campaign headed up by their first manager Murt Lucey who with his brother at that time owned two of the most successful ballrooms in Co. Cork. To complete the new band, they recruited Mick's brother, Will Aherne on bass, Tony Neenan (trumpet) and Billy Curtin (sax). Billy had previously been playing with the Swingtime Aces and Tony Neenan had been with the Jack Brierley Showband. The Arrivals went on the road in late 1965 and had a modest hit in 1966 with their first single, My Wishful Dreaming.

Meanwhile, the Regal had the daunting task of replace half its lineup. They enlisted Brendan O'Leary (guitar), Barry and Bobby Hendricks (vocals) and Maurice Byrne (drums) and never missed a beat. By April, 1967, Tony Hegarty was managing the band when they announced the addition of George Gibson (real name McFadden) . 

In June, 1968, Declan Ryan rejoined the band after leaving nearly 2 years earlier to form his own band, the Arrivals. After 18 months, Declan had left the Arrivals and decided to go it alone as a solo cabaret artist. At that point, Regal manager, Tony Hegarty stepped in and offered him a spot with the Regal again, which he accepted.  

In June, 1971, the band (which by this time was no longer one of the top names on the scene) was in trouble again when much of its line-up left to join what remained of the Airchords to form the Treetops featuring Pat Lynch. Front man George Gibson also left and it was reported he was replaced by a new lead singer called Canice. George had helped form the Courtney Circus with Tom Courtney in 1970. Following this, the band continued to play under the name the New Regal Showband but we have not been able to find out who was in the new line-up. The last confirmed advert for the band we have found is in the Hilton Club in Cork, on January 8th, 1972 and we assume this is when the band finally packed it in after over twenty years on the road.

(Our thanks to Jim Cotter for his help)

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

Regal - 1950 Regal Orchestra - 1957 Regal Orchestra - 1958 Regal - 1965 Regal - 1967
Regal Showband (JD) Regal Showband (LR) Declan Ryan Regal Showband (PB) Regal - 1967
June, 1967 Regal Showband (LR) Arrivals Showband Regal Showband (JC) Regal Showband (JC)
Regal Showband (JC) Jim Cotter - 1963 (JC) Regal - 1963 (JC) Regal - 1964 (JC) Jim Cotter - 1965 (JC)

Regal - 1963 (JC) Regal (PL) Regal (PL) Regal (PL) Regal (PL)
Regal (PL) Regal (PL) Regal - 1964 Regal - 1967 Regal - 1967
     
Regal - 1967 Regal - 1969 Regal - Regal - Regal -
Years Vocals Guitar Bass Drums Keyboards Sax Sax Trumpet Accordion

Regal Dance Band

1950     Paddy
O'Sullivan
Sean
Clifford
Donal
O'Donovan
John
Minehane
  Sean
O'Leary
Murt
O'Sullivan

Regal Orchestra

1957 Paddy
Cassidy
  Paddy
O'Sullivan
Sean
Clifford
Donal
O'Donovan
John
Minehane
  Sean
O'Leary
Murt
O'Sullivan
Aug
1957
Michael
Noonan
  Paddy
O'Sullivan
Sean
Clifford
Donal
O'Donovan
John
Minehane
  Sean
O'Leary
Murt
O'Sullivan
1958 Michael
Noonan
Chris (sax)
St. Leger
Paddy
O'Sullivan
Benno
Haussmann
Jack (keys)
Brierley
John
Minehane
Kevin
Lynch
Gordon
Hanley
Murt (sax)
O'Sullivan

Regal Showband

1962   Mick
Ahearne
Paddy
O'Sullivan
Benno
Haussmann
Declan
Ryan
John
Minehane
Kevin
Lynch
Gordon
Hanley
Len (sax)
McCarthy
1963 Jim
Cotter
Mick
Ahearne
Paddy
O'Sullivan
Benno
Haussmann
Declan
Ryan
John
Minehane
Kevin
Lynch
Gordon
Hanley
 
Late
1964
Jim
Cotter
Mick
Ahearne
Paddy
O'Sullivan
Benno
Haussmann
Declan
Ryan
John
Minehane
Kevin
Lynch
Gordon
Hanley
Des "Lee"
McAlea (sax)
Nov
1965
Bobby
Hendrick

Barry
Hendrick

Paddy
O'Sullivan
Maurice
Byrne
Brendan
O'Leary (gtr)
John
Minehane
Kevin
Lynch
Gordon
Hanley
 
Mar
1967
George
Gibson*
Barry
Hendrick
Paddy
O'Sullivan
Maurice
Byrne
Brendan
O'Leary (gtr)
John
Minehane
Kevin
Lynch
Gordon
Hanley
 
June
1968
George
Gibson*
Declan
Ryan
Paddy
O'Sullivan
Maurice
Byrne
Brendan
O'Leary (gtr)
John
Minehane
Kevin
Lynch
   
June
1971
George
Gibson*
Declan
Ryan
Paddy
O'Sullivan
Maurice
Byrne
Brendan
O'Leary (gtr)
John
Minehane
Kevin
Lynch
   
                   
* George's real last name is McFadden

Discography

You Know Her / Love Me (Declan Ryan)
King Records - KG.1010 - 1964
I Need You / Hurtin' Inside (Declan Ryan) - #6 Irish Charts
Emerald Records - MD 1014 - July, 1965
A True, True Love / I Hurt Too Much To Die (Bobby and Barry Hendricks)
Emerald Records - MD 1031 - 1966
The Blarney Stone (Kevin Lynch) / I'm Ashamed of You (Bobby and Barry Hendricks) As the Regal Sound
Pye Records - 7N.17296 - March, 1967
Lindy, Lindy / When Two Worlds Collide (George Gibson)
Honey Records - COMB 03 - March, 1969
Hello There Santa / Everybody Sing and Dance (George Gibson)
Honey Records - COMB 13 - December, 1969

Audio Clips

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?  

Michael Noonan:   Unknown, if you have any info, please contact us by clicking here.
Mick Ahern: Mick, along with other members, left the Regal in 1965 to form the Arrivals showband.

Sean Clifford:   Unknown, if you have any info, please contact us by clicking here.

Paddy O'Sullivan - RIP:  Mike Ahern reports that Paddy sadly passed away June 1, 2013.
Donal O'Donovan:   Unknown, if you have any info, please contact us by clicking here.
Sean O'Leary - RIP:  An email from Breda Stafford in March 2013 told us Sean sadly passed away
on the 31st July, 2012
Mort O'Sullivan - RIP:  Mike Ahern reports that Mort sadly passed away.
Benno Haussmann - RIP: Benno was one of the members who left the Regal in late 1965 to form the Arrivals.
Sadly, Benno was killed in a boating accident in 1990.
Kevin Lynch - RIP: Kevin sadly passed away February 15th, 1999.
Gordon Hanley - RIP:
Jim Cotter: Jim left the Regal Showband in 1965 to join the Rio, also from Cork (see news clipping above). More to come...
John Minehane:   Unknown, if you have any info, please contact us by clicking here.
Declan Ryan: Declan, along with other members, left the Regal in 1965 to form the Arrivals showband.
Chris St. Leger:   Unknown, if you have any info, please contact us by clicking here.
Michael Noonan:   Unknown, if you have any info, please contact us by clicking here.
Jack Brierley: After leaving the band, Jack formed his own showband and played throughout the 1960's on the ballroom circuit. He eventually went into cabaret and in 1973, he and George Crosbie wrote the winning song in the National Song Contest, Do I Dream, which was sung by Maxi and placed 10th in Luxembourg that year.
George Gibson:  Unknown, if you have any info, please contact us by clicking here.

 

Back


2002-2017 GMS Productions

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