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Derrick & The Sounds (1965-1974)

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

The Story

The story of the Sounds starts around 1959 or 1960 when Derrick Mehaffey (keyboards), Richard McCracken (guitar) and Mervyn Martin (drums) met in school at the Omagh Academy. They became fast friends and formed a skiffle group (as most musicians did in those early days). They soon changed their name to The Strollers and added Richard Sharpe on bass and Ray Gourley on guitar. Now a five piece, the boys had little success but continued to struggle on.

Around 1965 they added Richard's brother Ralph Lyons (sax) to the lineup and became a fully fledged six piece "showband," changing their name to Sounds Anonymous. A little later they would add Richard's brother Bill McCracken (sax) to expand to seven. The band was going done well, especially with the younger dancers and they started to attract the attention of promoters. One in particular, Bobby Platt, who ran the Strand Ballroom, Portstewart and the Limavady Agricultural Hall, was convinced the boys had the potential to make a go of it on the ballroom circuit, although they were still just a semi-pro band.

In August, 1965, the boys approached Bobby to help with their management and he agreed. Watching the band, it had become obvious to Bobby that Derrick was attracting the most attention from the punters (especially the girls) and he was soon the front man. Around this time, John Wilson (formerly with Van Morrison's Them) joined the band on drums, replacing Mervyn and the band changed its name to Derrick and The Sounds. It was reported that Jimmy O'Neill was hired as the band's musical director (a somewhat unusual move for the time as most MD's were members of the band). He started traveling with the band on a regular basis and they improved in leaps and bounds. 

Under Bobby's watchful eye, the band started to enlarge it's touring area, first across the North and into areas like Donegal, but as they were still going to school, longer trips were out of the question. During holidays, the boys finally took the plunge and headed South to Cork and Killarney. They were going down so well, it was hard to ignore the pull to turn professional.

A final meeting was arranged and it was decided the band would go off the road in June, 1966 to allow the lads to do their final exams and they would turn professional on September 1st, 1966, which they did and never looked back. Although at the time, a single was the next order of business, Derrick remarked that they were in no hurry release something "just to put out a record." It would be some time before they did.

In January, 1968, Richard McCracken and John Wilson left the band. According to Pat Egan in his Beat column, the lads joined with Roy Abbott (guitar) and Nicko Hallewell of the Interns to form a new lineup using the name Interns. Further research has shown we think this band became Cheese but within a few months (May, 1968), Richard (switching to bass) and John joined the second version of Rory Gallagher's Taste. At this point the band was being managed by Jim Doherty.

John Murphy replaced Richard on guitar and Seamus Caulfield took over on drums, however we know that Vic McNamara also drummed with the band, but possibly just stood in for a short time.   

For the next five years, the band enjoyed great success, especially in the North where they were considered one of the top bands in the country. Although less successful across the border in the South, they did good business.  Finally, in November 1968, the band released their first single, Power of Love, which barely cracked the Irish charts reaching the number 20 spot for a single week. It would be their only chart success.

In early 1969 manager, Jim Doherty announced that the band had a deal for a record and a tour of the United States in March. The details included word of "national promotion" for the single, an original by Melody Aces's guitarist, Ray Doherty. We have no idea whether there actually was a tour or if it was just a publicity stunt (one used by many showbands in the 60's and 70's) but we do know Power of Lover was never a hit in the USA for the Sounds. 

Several more singles would follow including My Sly Sadie, Morning Paper and Margarine and Needing You, but none of them would have any impact on the charts. 

At the end of 1970, after six years on the road, Derrick received an offer from John Gilligan to go to Canada. He spent a couple of years singing with the resident band in the Maple Leaf ballroom. In September, 1972, Derrick returned to Ireland to take over the lead singing job with the waning Royal Showband (he would be their last lead singer). The Ropyal struggled on for a couple of years but by May, 1974 Derrick was fronting the Conquerors Showband who changed their name temporarily to Derrick's Band.

Manwhile, despite losing their lead singer, the Sounds decided to carry on as a six piece and became Malachy and the Sounds with Malachy Kearns stepping out front as well as playing the sax. The band toured Canada, which had become all the rage with the showbands in the early 70's. We also know that Damien Given left the band around April 1971 to take a job with the new country outfit, The Tallmen which was being put together around Hugo Duncan. He joined several ex members of the Buckaroos in the new band. We do not know who replaced him.

We cannot be sure, but it was sometime around 1973 that the band called it quits. We will research more to find out details.  We do know that several members ended up in other bands. More to come....

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

Strollers - 1964 Sounds Anonymous (RF) Derrick & The Sounds Derrick & The Sounds Derrick & The Sounds
Derrick & The Sounds Derrick & The Sounds Derrick & The Sounds Derrick & The Sounds Sounds - 1966
Derrick Mehaffey Derrick & The Sounds (DD) The Sounds (KS)

Derek & The Sounds (KS)

Sounds - 1967
Derrick Mehaffey-1967 Sounds - 1969 Sounds (RF) Sounds (RF) Derrick & The Sounds
Sounds (RF) Sounds (RF) Sounds (RF) Sounds (RF) Sounds (RF)
Sounds (RF) Sounds (RF) Sounds (RF) Sounds (RF) Sounds (RF)
   
Sounds (RF) Sounds Anonymous Showband (BS) Sounds Anonymous (PL) Coming Soon Coming Soon
Records
Derrick & The Sounds Derrick & The Sounds Derrick & The Sounds Derrick & The Sounds Derrick & The Sounds
       
Derrick & The Sounds Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon

Lineup Changes (Coming Soon)
 

Years Vocals Guitar Bass Drums Gtr/Keys Sax Sax
1964 Derrick
Mehaffey
Richard
McCracken
Richard
Sharpe
Mervyn
Martin
Ray (Gtr)
Gourley
   
1965 Derrick
Mehaffey
Richard
McCracken
Richard
Sharpe
Mervyn
Martin
Ray
Gourley
Ralph
Lyons
 
1966 Derrick
Mehaffey
Richard
McCracken
Richard
Sharpe
Mervyn
Martin
Ray
Gourley
Ralph
Lyons
Bill
McCracken
1967 Derrick
Mehaffey
Richard
McCracken
Richard
Sharpe
John
Wilson
Ray
Gourley
Ralph
Lyons
Bill
McCracken
1968 Derrick
Mehaffey
Richard
McCracken
Richard
Sharpe
Vic
McNamara*
Ray
Gourley
Ralph
Lyons
Bill
McCracken
1968 Derrick
Mehaffey
John
Murphy
Ray
Gourley
Seamus
Caulfield
Damien
Given
Ralph
Lyons
Malachy
Kearns
Nov
1970
  John
Murphy
Ray
Gourley
Seamus
Caulfield
Damien
Given
Ralph
Lyons
Malachy
Kearns
April
1971
  John
Murphy
Ray
Gourley
Seamus
Caulfield
Unknown Ralph
Lyons
Malachy
Kearns

* Reported in Pat Egan's Beat column in Spotlight - January 1968

Discography (Incomplete)

Power of Love / I'll Take You Home - #20 Irish Charts
Pye/Target Records - Unknown - November, 1968
My Sly Sadie / I Can't Lose That Girl
Pye/Target Records - Unknown - March, 1968
Morning Paper and Margarine
Pye/Target Records - Unknown - 1969
Needing You / Silly Girl
Release Records -
1970
My Guitar
Hit Records -
September, 1970
 

Audio Clips

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?   (Coming Soon)

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