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Spotlight on Singers

Throughout music history the debate rages on...who made who, the singer or the band? Ultimately, the question lies in the talents of the individuals and whether there is a magic chemistry that seems to work only with that combination of musicians. Would Paul or John have made it without the Beatles? Or Jagger without the Stones? Sometimes, the chemistry is so strong, the only way the band works is if they stick together, neither the band or the singer able to attain the success it had while together. 

The Irish Showband era produced a plethora of home grown superstars, some of whom started innocently enough, as a drummer or sax player...perhaps never intending to be out front, until it was suggested by other band members or management. In fact, the early showbands usually didn't have a single lead singer, but instead shared the vocal duties pretty evenly.

Like English and American bands, Irish showbands usually only had a name, (i.e. The Royal Showband, The Miami, The Dixies). In most showbands, vocals were shared among the members, one handling country tunes, while another sang pop songs. It wasn't until the mid to late 60's that names like Dickie Rock, Joe Dolan, and Brendan Bowyer took center stage and punters started to refer to "Dickie Rock and the Miami."

However, solo performers in Ireland in the 60's and 70's generally couldn't make a living without a band. "House" bands were rarely available to back soloists and the constant rounds of the ballroom circuit (as opposed to "tours") made it difficult to put together musicians for a specific set of dates. Outside of a select group of "heads" in Dublin, no musician could make a living unless they were on the road full time or had a day job. The bottom were either in a showband, or you weren't in the "business." 

An interesting phenomenon occurred though, because in the early 70's, when many of the new "stars" left to pursue their own careers, the bands continued, usually replacing the lead vocalists, and creating new solo stars. Some, like the Miami, continued on for years, while others, such as The Royal pretty much vanished. There was always somebody trying to capitalize on a "name" created during the heyday of the showbands.

Eventually, most of the "superstars" put together their own bands such as Dickie's Band (Dickie Rock of the Miami), Joe Mac, Brendan O'Brien and Stage 2 (from the Dixies), or Brendan Bowyer and the Big Eight (from the Royal).    

In this area of the site, we plan to pay tribute to those singers who transcended the showband scene and established themselves as solo stars. They all started with a band, and actually may have fronted several bands before striking out of their own. One thing they all have in common is that they brought their own unique style to the music, whatever the style: from Dickie Rock to Brendan Bowyer to Big Tom, the listener immediately knows who is singing!  

This part of the website is driven by your input and will constantly be updated. Since very little information is available on the Internet about most of the era's singers, we need your comments, photos, and suggestions on who should be included. If your favorite singer is not listed, it's only because we do not have any info about their career.   

Click on the photo to see the singer's special feature

This page is undergoing some updates, please bear with us......

Cathal Dunne Red Hurley Tony Kenny Butch Moore Tina Reynolds

Rob Strong Dickie Rock Big Tom Brendan Bowyer Brian Coll




Johnny Logan Billy Brown More To Come More To Come More To Come




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