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Swarbrigg's Band / Winter Feature ()

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

The Story

Tommy and Jimmy Swarbrigg were born in Cootehill, Co. Cavan, 2 of 11 children in the Swarbrigg family. Their brother Paddy played with the Navak Showband. Their father Pat, worked in the poultry industry, but also played three nights a week with local dance bands. Growing up, both boys were taught to learn the trumpet by their father, but Jimmy was more interested in other things and never learned. When the boys came of age, Jimmy went off to London to find work. Meanwhile in Ireland, Tommy got a job with a local electrical shop in Cootehill.

At the age of fifteen, Tommy joined local Cootehill band, The Jordanaires, who also included in their lineup a future member of the Times, Gene Bannon on sax. The band were part timers and it wasn't long before Tommy was drafted into a professional outfit as a founding member of The Drifters from Mullingar. Over in England, Jimmy began to write poetry, which he would send home to Tommy, who would try to put music to the words. As their songwriting partnership matured, Jimmy starting writing lyrics and their first real songs were recorded by Joe Dolan.  

Despite the success of the Drifters, Tommy and four other members of the band decided to split, it was his brother, Jimmy, who was brought on board to front the new band, The Times. It was 1968 when the Times hit the road, but it didn't take long for it to become obvious, it was the Swarbrigg Brothers who were the leaders of the band.

The story of the Times is chronicled elsewhere on this website.

Soon, the Swarbrigg brothers began to distinguish themselves from the vast majority of bands in the country by writing their own material. They enjoyed a string of self penned hit records as the 70's progressed. In 1973 they had their own television show on RTE, which allowed the Swarbriggs to showcase their original songs. The band enjoyed a reputation, along with the likes of the Freshmen, of being one of the true "original" pop bands in Ireland. They also hooked up with British singing star, Hurricane Smith (Oh Babe, What Would You Say) as he helped produce several of their singles.  

As the popularity and the success of the Swarbriggs continued to grow, in the the tradition of the Irish showbands, the future of The Times became more in doubt. In 1975 the Swarbriggs represented Ireland in Eurovision with "That's What Friends Are For." In 1976, they came 5th in the Irish contest with "The Way of Love." In 1977, they won the Irish national Song Contest again with "It's Nice To Be In Love Again" as The Swarbriggs plus Two (with Alma Carroll and Nicola Kerr). 

In 1975, the Swarbriggs decided to leave and they took manager, Sid Aughey, with them. Also departing was guitarist Sean Kenny, who went with the Swarbriggs before eventually ending up with Sean O'Dowd and Dingaling in the early 80's. Interestingly enough, Joe Dolan's manager, Seamus Casey took over managing the Times, bringing them into the same stable as their former band mates, Joe and Ben Dolan.

The Swarbriggs continued to enjoy success with their own band, and actually changed their name to Winter in 1978 based on a recommendation by their label in England, EMI.

More to come...

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

The Swarbriggs

Swarbriggs - 1978 Swarbriggs - 1975 Swarbriggs Band (PH) Swarbriggs Band (PH)
The Swarbiggs (PH) Swarbriggs band (PH) Swarbriggs (RF) Swarbriggs (RF) Swarbriggs (RF)
Swarbriggs (RF) Swarbriggs (RF) Swarbriggs (RF) Swarbriggs (RF) Swarbriggs (RF)
         

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Years Vocals Vocals Guitar Bass Drums Keyboards
1975 Jimmy
Swarbrigg
Tommy
Swarbrigg
Sean
Kenny
Tommy
Moore?
Micky
O'Neill
Pat
Crowley?
             
             

Discography

Singles

That's What friends Are For - #2 Irish Charts
EMI Records - IEMI 5013 - February, 1975
Shuffle Into My Heart / Sing It Again - #13 Irish Charts
EMI Records - IEMI 5025 - July, 1975
Funny - #2 Irish Charts
EMI Records - Unknown - October, 1975
Give Her Your Love
EMI Records - Unknown - May, 1976
Joanne - #1 Irish Charts
EMI Records - Unknown - August, 1976
Someone Else's Land - #1 Irish Charts
EMI Records - Unknown - November, 1976
It's Nice To Be In Love Again / Here We Are Again (Swarbriggs Plus 2) - #1 Irish Charts
EMI Records - IEMI 5059 - March, 1977
Rock n' Roll Kisses - #9 Irish Charts
EMI Records - Unknown - March, 1978
Turn Around
EMI Records - EMI 2824 - August, 1978
We Can Make Good Music
EMI Records - Unknown - November, 1978

Don't Ask Me To Teach You To Drive

Meglo Records - MEG 101 - October, 1979
Bits of the Hits / Bits of the Hits - Jimmy Swarbrigg
Swarbriggs Records - SWA.001 - 1980

Albums

Winter (as Winter)
EMI Records - EMC 3266 - December, 1978

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