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Wheels - 1969-1971

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

The Wheels were a short lived band which are best known as one of two bands that featured Brian "Red" Hurley, before he became a major showband star when he joined the Nevada in 1972. Although not on the road for long, the Wheels featured some major talent including several members of the famous Airchords

Red started his singing career in 1969 as the very young lead vocalist with The Colours. The band was formed when the Jackpots Showband changed their name. The band had featured Jack Cooke as its lead singer who, it was reported in the May 3rd issue of Spotlight, he had emigrated to Canada. Also joining the band was Bill Ward on trumpet. The band came together around May of 1969 and Red cut his first record and had his first chart hit with A Poor Man's Roses (no. 14). From an issue of Spotlight from 28th June, an article publicising Red's first single mentioned that the Colour's lineup included Brian and Bill Ward on trumpet, although in August another article said Brian was no longer with the band.

When the Colours were featured in the August 16, 1969 issue of Spotlight, it described Red as a former opera singer who also played drums. In fact, Red had previously sung with the Dublin Grand Opera Society. The article also stated that Red would have been in a band much earlier, but he had been seriously injured in a road accident. 

In November, 1969 an article in Spotlight announced the formation of a new band by the Tom Costello Organization, The Wheels. Fronting the band would be Red, along with members of the Airchords and the group Magazine. From the Airchords came Dermot Ryan (sax), Arthur O'Neill (sax), Emmet Wynne (trumpet) and Myles Mooney (guitar). From Magazine came Johnny Browne (bass) and Denis O'Neill (drums). They added Des Hickey on guitar. With Wheels, Red released a few more singles including, Isadora and Take Me Tonight, both of which caused a minor stir on the scene and made it into the lower reaches of the Irish Charts. Around this time, Red and the band also took top honours in the Castlebar Song Contest with their song, The World Is Such An Empty Place.

Meanwhile, in 1968, Liam Hurley left the Jim Farley All Stars to move to the The Nevada Showband. It was an important move in that a few years later, when Roly Daniels left the Nevada, Liam suggested his brother, Red, and together with "The Blonde Bombshell," Eileen "Kelly," Red Hurley and the Nevada took the country by storm.

The announcement that Red was leaving the Wheels to join the Nevada came in the March 6, 1971 issue of Spotlight. After Red left the Wheels, Johnny Brown also left to join Billy Brown's new Superband and was replaced by John Quarney.  Before joining the Nevada, Red had been selected to sing one of the entries in the Irish National Song Contest, Going Away. He finished second to Angela Farrell's song, One Day Love, and although the record didn't make the charts, the experience helped establish him as one of the country's top vocalists. As an aside, Des Hickey would also join the Nevada, although much later in 1978.

At the same time the band called it quits with Emmett Wynn, Denis O'Neill, Des Hickey and Dermot Ryan joining Gloria Smith's new band, 's Cascades.   

More to come...

Photo Gallery

Red Hurley & Wheels (DD) Red Hurley & Wheels - 1970 December, 1970 Wheels - 1970 Wheels - 1971
Wheels - 1970 Wheels - 1970 Wheels (RF) Wheels (RF) Wheels (RF)
Years Vocals Guitar Bass Drums Keys/Gtr/Vcl Trumpet Sax Trmbn/Sax
1970 Red
Hurley
Des
Hickey
Johnny
Brown
Dennis
O'Neill
Myles
Mooney
Emmett
Wynne
Arthur
O'Neill
Dermot
Ryan
1970 Red
Hurley
Des
Hickey
John
Quarney
Dennis
O'Neill
Myles
Mooney
Emmett
Wynne
Arthur
O'Neill
Dermot
Ryan

Discography through 1990:

Singles:

Isadora / Amigos (with the Wheels) - #14 Irish Charts
Target Records - May, 1970
Take Me Tonight / Let's Get Started (with the Wheels) - #20 Irish Charts
Target Records - 7N.17982 - September, 1970
 

Audio Clips

         
Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?  

Red Hurley: Red left the Wheels to join the Nevada, becoming one of the top singers of the 70's with the band. After leaving the Nevada, Red formed his own Red Hurley band and continued to tour the ballrooms for a few years. However, at the same time, he moved into the growing cabaret scene and when the end of the ballroom era came in the mid 80's, Red was already established as one of the top cabaret artists in the country. He is still very active on the entertainment scene today and plays regular gigs both at home and abroad. He also plays regularly in charity golf tournaments both in Ireland and the United States.
Des Hickey: We know that Des joined the newly formed Stage 2 which featured ex-Dixies Joe Mac in 1973. He stayed with the band until around 1976 and then eventually went on to follow Red into the Nevada, but not until 1978, by which time Red was long gone from the band. If you know more, please let us know.
Johnny Brown: Johnny joined the Real McCoy in 1971 after the split up of Wheels. He also went on to be a part of the Billy Brown Superband. If you know more, please let us know.
Denis (John) O'Neill:  We know that John ended up in the Sands around 1974 and also played with the Top 7 at some point. If you know more, please let us know. . 
Myles Mooney: We received an email from Arthur O'Neill in June, 2011 telling us 69 year old Myles is in Australia entertaining on tour buses. From an old issue of Spotlight, we have discovered that Myles first went off to Australia in the early 70's and was playing with a group called The Drovers in Sydney in 1975. It appears from an Internet search that the Irish Drovers are still on the road!
Arthur O'Neill: We received an email from Arthur in June, 2011 telling us he is still gigging in Ireland. He is 70 and living in Port Laoise and playing lots of golf
Emmett Wynne: After Wheels, we know that Emmett joined up with Brendan Shine's Superband in the early to mid 70's. If you know more, please let us know.
Dermot Ryan: We know that Dermot joined Stage 2 at the same time as Des Hickey. If you know more, please let us know.

 
 


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