The Harry Boland Dance Band in Waterford was the foundation stone of the Royal Showband.
Michael Coppinger (Sax.), Charlie Matthews (Drums), Jim Conlon (Guitar) , Jerry Cullen (Piano) and Tom Dunphy who sang the Lonnie Donegan skiffle type numbers and also played double bass

Michael Cleere and Richard Fitzgerld
and my dad Tony Linnane (Died 9/10/89 R.I.P.)
 were members of the band.
 Jennifer Linnane

At one stage in their early line up John Gilligan from the Blue Aces Showband in Waterford , a guitarist was also part of the Royal line up. The lads were soon to be joined by a young trombonist, Brendan Bowyer from a local band the Rhythm Kings. Being greatly influenced by the style of the Clippers, especially the brass section , Coppinger decided to add trumpeter Eddie Sullivan to complete the line up. Their name was taken from the Royal Theatre in Waterford , and they were launched on a semi-pro.basis on the 22nd Sept.1957.

They played their first date outside their native county when on St Patricks night 1958 the took the stage of the Olympia Ballroom, Parnell Sq, Dublin.Carlow businessman T.J. Byrne took over in 1958 after he  had heard this young musical combination while on a business trip to Waterford and decided to put his trust in the band . It was a wise decision and the Royal went “ full time” on Easter Sunday 1959. By November of that year they were playing to packed dancehalls across the Country 6 and 7 nights a week. They never looked back and it was not long before they found themselves in the recording studios where Tom Dunphy recorded “Katie Daly” the first Showband recording issued on a single They were also the first Showband to use the now famous “Binson” echo chamber, and they also made their TV  debut at Easter 1963 with a forty five minute show “The Royal Showband Show”.Their recorded single “Kiss me Quick” spent 14 weeks in the Irish charts , seven of them being at No. 1. They also made a film “The One Nighters” depicting life in the Showband and issued their first LP of the same name. They also won the coveted Carl Allan Award in England for being the most outstanding modern Dance Band on the Mecca dance circuit and while playing a gig in Liverpool ,the Beatles played as support band for them.

Courtesy of Liam O'Reilly Collection

     They also played in all of Bill Fullers major venues in Britian and the USA. In 1964 “Hucklebuck Mania” hit Ireland followed by hits like “Don,t lose your Hucklebuck Shoes”, “I ran all the Way Home” and others.

Cavan man Connie Lynch took over management of the Royal in 1967. but bigger changes were on the way. Reports were rife that Bowyer and Dunphy were to form a new band to play exclusively in America. These reports were confirmed when the Royal Showband played their last”gig” in the Stardust , Las Vegas in July 1971. They had been together thirteen years and the new band was named the BIG 8 ,with Paddy Cole ex. Capitol as Bandleader and Twink as female vocalist. They were to renew their partnership with T.J.Byrne as manager

        Sadly tragedy was to strike the BIG 8 when Tom Dunphy was killed in a car accident on the main Carrick-on-Shannon to Longford Road at Drumsna , on the 29th, of July 1975.
He was on his way to meet up with the Big 8 who were to play at the
Mary from Dungloe Festival Dance that night.

Tom is remembered by a monument
at the scene of the accident but the most fitting monument to
Tom and all the Royal Showband boys is that Brendan Bowyer
is still entertaining us so brilliantly at concerts and tours ,
reminding us of the great days and sounds of the Royal Showband , Waterford.
John Baird

The Royal Showband: Standing L-R: Michael Coppinger, Brendan Bowyer, Gerry Cullen
. On the ground L-R: Charlie Matthews, Jim Conlon, Tom Dunphy and Eddie Sullivan

  Born 12th Oct 1938, Waterford

He began his career with the Royal Showband in 1957.
 The only Irishman to have 8 consecutive #1 hits
His ability to tailor American Rock'n'Roll music to the tastes of Irish audiences, and his athletic and spirited on-stage performances, made him by far the most popular vocalist of the showband era of the 1960s. The Royal had several number one hits in Ireland, including 'Kiss Me Quick', 'No More' and the enormously successful 'The Hucklebuck'. In 1971 Bowyer left the Royal and joined the Las Vegas circuit with his new band, the Big 8. He has been based in  Las Vegas since then. In 1977 he made a brief return to the Irish charts with his tribute 'Thank You, Elvis'.

1960 - The Royal Showband is forced to change its name to the
 Waterford Showband for an appearance at the Victoria Palace Theatre
 in London because two members of the British royal family are in attendance

The Royal Showband
                       Regarded by many as the top showband in Ireland                  .
They were the first ever showband to cut a record when Tom Dumphy
 and the Royal recorded "Katie Daly". Irish record sales were charted for the first time on October 5th.
  1962 and the first Irish number 1 was on September 6th. 1963 when Brendan Bowyer and the Royal
    Showband hit the No. 1 spot with "Kiss Me Quick". He was to repeat this performance again on
                      December 27th. 1962 with the recording of "No More".


Kiss me Quick
Hucklebuck Interview
 Hucklebuck Again
Answer Me
 I ran all the way Home
The Onenighters
Brendan first came to prominence in the early 60'a as lead singer with the famous Royal Showband.
                     He is the only Irish singer to have had seven No 1 hits. the Royal Showband had a total of nine including, Tom Dunphy's No. 1 with 'If I didn't have a Dime' and Charlie Matthews with
                     'Somewhere My Love'. However, the hit that most people associate with Brendan is, of course, 'The Hucklebuck'.

 Brendan first went to Las Vegas with the Royal Showband in 1967. Back in those days
 they just went for one month each year but so popular was their show in Las Vegas that
 by the mid 70's, due to demand Brendan was spending six months a year in Las Vegas
 and six months in Ireland.

 The Royal Showband broke up in 1971 and Brendan, together with Tom Dunphy formed
 The Big 8 Showband. The Band are still together although Tom Dunphy was tragically
 killed in a car accident in 1975, on his way to the 'Mary from Dunloe' Festival. Since 1981
 Brendan and the rest of the band have been living permanently in Las Vegas.


  To Royal Showband Sites

MP3 The Hucklebuck

 The Royal Showband with Guitarist Mick Gilligan
 who came from the Blue Aces and was later replaced by Jim Conlon

Read This Article about the Band
Story of the Royal Showband
By John Baird

 THE HUCKLEBUCK - Brendan Boyer and the Royal Showband 1965
 Brendan Boyer and the Royal Showband defined the music of a generation in the swinging sixties in Ireland with ‘The Hucklebuck’ – in dancehalls all over the country they were wriggling like snakes and waddling like ducks to one of the biggest dance tunes of the decade. Brendan heard a swing version of The Hucklebuck by Frank Sinatra and decided to record it – it was completed in 20 minutes as it was a nice simple catchy number but he never intended it as a single release.
Together with the Royal Showband Brendan played all over Ireland and the UK, not surprisingly they had a string of chart hits with songs like ‘Kiss Me Quick, No More and Bless You but it was The Hucklebuck that made Brendan Boyer a household name.
 In 1962 Brendan had none other than the Beatles playing relief at one of his gigs in The Liverpool Empire AND even Elvis came to see the band play in Las Vegas - he joined them on stage and invited Brendan and the boys back to his house after the concert. Brendan is remarkably modest about this claiming that he would never compare his music with that of the Beatles or Elvis.
The Hucklebuck spent a total of 12 weeks in the Irish charts and was number one for seven of those. As he was appearing on television both RTE and the BBC Brendan was recognised all over Ireland – he could no longer do things such as go to football matches without being spotted by fans! However he does admit that he rather enjoyed all this attention! He is still recognised today even though one fan, a little worse for wear, mistakenly identified him as Huckleberry Finn!
In the seventies Brendan moved to Las Vegas with his new band 'The Big 8' – this was at a time when Irish music was not so well known in America as it is today – there was no Sinead O’Connor, U2 or Riverdance, Brendan was pretty much on his own as an Irish performer but he was always proud to be Irish in Las Vegas and he still is.

Lee Lynch and Barbara Dickson

Lee Lynch replaced Brendan Bowyer
When Brendan left to form The Big 8 Showband

From John Bairds collection

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