Art Supple and the Victors Feature (1963-1973)
Photo Gallery -
Band Lineups -
- Audio samples -
Where Are They Now?
The Victors came together in the Spring of 1963 and the original
lineup was Len McCarthy (sax), Chris St. Ledger (sax-whoi came from
a stint with the Derek Joys Showband), Tony Erangey
(drums), John Sweeney (bass), and Wolfgang Nordt (guitar), but the
band needed a lead vocalist. Murt Lucey, owner of the famous Redbarn
Ballroom in Youghal, suggested the lead singer with his relief
group, a young lad named Art Supple. Art fit in perfectly with the
band and they took the stage for the first time in June at the
Highfield Rugby Club.
For most of 1963, they generally played in and around Cork, rarely
venturing from from home, but they were gaining a reputation as a
good outfit. On July 29th, 1963 they played support to worldwide
star Chubby Checker when he visited the Redbarn in Youghal. By
September, they had played in the Olympic Ballroom in Dublin and
started to extend their circuit beyond the southern counties of
found a small article in the Munster Express from January
1964, which reported that Michael Cleere had left the Savoy Showband
to turn professional with the Victors on lead guitar. In April, 1964
in was announced in the Evening Herald that Terry Logue had
taken over managing the band.
November of 1964, one of Ireland's top vocalists, Pat McGeegan
announced he was joining the Victors and around this same time
Mickey Brennan joined on trombone). Pat had made quite a name for
himself with his own band, The Big Four, in the early 1960's.
The move gave the band a new lease on life and, in fact, helped Art
Supple develop more as an entertainer as he wasn't having to carry
the full load of the singing chores. Additionally,. the band release
its first single in early 1965 which featured Pat, but followed it
up with a slew of singles during the year featuring alternately Pat
and then Art. The first to hit the charts was the band's novelty
song, "Showbands On Parade" for which Art mimicked many of the
leading singers of the era and it went to number 9 in the Irish
Charts giving them their first top ten hit.
early 1966, the band announced a unique gimmick as beauty pageants
were held in ballrooms across the country and bands were always
booked to play at the events. They announced their own search for a
beauty who would become Miss Victor. It was announced the contest
would run from January 23rd till Sept 17th and four provincial
finalists would be named from which Miss Victor would be chosen. The
move came amid a noticeable fall off in midweek dancing which had
bands scrambling to bring in more patrons. The contest definitely
got a lot of free publicity for the band. At some point prior to
this the manager also change managers to Hugh Hardy.
April, 1966 singer Pat McGeegan left the band to join the Skyrockets of
Enniskillen and although it was rumoured he was returning to the
band in mid 1967, he elected to stay with the Skyrockets. At the same time they added Des Smith of the Collegemen
and ex-Nevada accordionist, Pat Neary. In May of 1967 Chris St
Ledger left the band and Art Supple became the leader of the band.
Chris left to manage the fortunes of Declan Ryan and the Arrivals.
Said Chris at the time, "the Arrivals should have been a nationwide
attraction a long time ago."
Pat would not stay long with the Skyrockets, leaving them a few
years later and then representing Ireland in Eurovision and then
getting back with and leaving the Big Four, all before 1970. In
1969, Noel Carty took over managing the Victors, the third manager
of the band's fortunes.
published in the September 6, 1973 issue of Spotlight said
the band were going to be touring Europe for the following six
months. At that time, Art said the band, "will still be coming back
for the Summer months. What we intend doing is spending the Autumns
and Winters abroad and playing the Irish scene during the Summer."
We know from Art's own site that this did not last long. Less than a
year later, an article in Spotlight in July, 1974 reported
that Art had return to Ireland and joined the
Brendan Shine Superband. We also now know that this was the end of
the Victors. The last dance we can find them advertised to play was
in July, 1973.
received an email from Des Hopkins in which he reported that
in March, 1973 the cabaret scene was starting to take off and
together with brother Billy Hopkins (Airchords and Royal), Arthur O’Neill
(Airchords/Victors) and Jimmy Byrne (Victors) they formed Just Four.
This group lasted eleven years with considerable success.
with many bands, it appear the Victors simply "fell apart." We are
not sure about their time in Europe and we are trying to contact Art
to find out more.
click on thumbnails for full image
The Victor's stayed on the road until about 1974 at which
time Art was invited to join the Brendan Shine Superband,
which had been on the road for a short time. Around 1978, he
joined Joe Mac in Stage 2, taking over from Alan Carr who
emigrated to Canada. When Stage Two packed it in, Art once
again formed his own band called "The Showstoppers" which
worked extensively on the cabaret circuit in the 1980's. The
1990's saw Art put together a band with his son, Shane, and
focus on the growing corporate and functions market and is
still playing today.
||Wolfgang Nordt: Unknown - if you have info please email us
||John Sweeney: Unknown - if you have info please email us
||Tony Erangey: We
understand that Tony was playing with Art in his band in the
mid 1990's, and we got an email in January, 2014 from Shane
Supple telling us
Tony still plays in the local
scene in Cork and can be seen during the Jazz festival
playing with different bands in and around the city of Cork.
Still plays the occasional gig with Art.
||Len McCarthy: Shane
Supple tells us in January, 2014 that Len is one of the
leading sax players in the Jazz scene in Ireland and can be
seen playing around Cork with many different bands today.
Chris St. Ledger -
Pat McGeegan - RIP:
After leaving the Victors, Pat went to the Skyrockets of
Enniskillen and represented Ireland
In the Eurovision song contest in 1968 with Chance of A
LIfetime. He formed a cabaret group, The Big Four, which
he would also reform later in his career. Pat (real name
McGuigan) sadly passed away on June 27, 1987.
Shane Supple emailed us in January 2014 and told us Jim has
retired from the pro music circuit, and living in County
Waterford, however, several of his brothers are still active
on the local scene.
Joe Prendergast -
Mickey still lives in Strandhill County Sligo and regularly
plays with several jazz groups around the Sligo area. In
2012, Mickey returned to the lineup Sligo's legendary Jazz
Ladds which also features former showband stars Roddy Gillen
and Padraic Potter. .
||Des Hopkins: Unknown - if you have info please email us
||Arthur O'Neill: Unknown - if you have info please email us
In January, 2014, Shane
Supple tells us that after the Victors Neil played for many
years with different bands for a few years he played with
Red Hurley. Neil is still playing music in and around his
home of Ardara, Co. Donegal.
When he left the Victor's, he joined Brendan O'Brien and Joe
Mac in their new band, Stage 2 around 1974. Alan left Stage
2 at the end of the 70's and emigrated to Canada and settled
on the West Coast. A few years ago he relocated to Red Deer,
Alberta, where he lives with his wife. He is still very
active in music and now plays the North American "casino
circuit" under the name Alan James. He has his own website
||Jimmy Byrne: Shane
Supple tells us (Jan 2014) that after the Victors Jimmy
played with Just Four for several years then he played with
Twos Company. Jimmy still plays music in his local area and
is often seen in the pit at local productions in Kilkenny
playing guitar for local shows. He plays in churches for
weddings, confirmations etc in his local area. In recent
years he was one of the main guitar technicians for Cort
Guitars here in Ireland. He repairs guitars for many of the
top players in the country today. He also plays with Art
Supple and his band on a regular basis in and around Munster.
We received an email from Shane Supple in January, 2014
telling us that after
the Victors Martin played with many bands. He had his own
band Rockabilly Rebel with his sister Valerie Gildea singing
with them, he played with Roly Daniels for a few years and
Glen Curtin, More recently he played with Jessie Conlon. Martin
still works in the music scene in and around his home in
Ardara Co Donegal. He is involved in local radio there
Owenea FM and he also does a Kenny Rogers tribute show on
the local music circuit.