Based In Sligo, Ireland / email: showbands@gmsproductions.com

CLICK FOR:     FREE FORUM        HOME PAGE        GUESTBOOK      MAKE A DONATION

Royal Showband (1957-1974)

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

The Story

Not much has been written, shown, or said about the Irish Showband era without extensive reference to Brendan Bowyer and the Royal Showband. The Royal followed followed the initial success of The Clipper Carlton, the band that was credited with starting the whole music industry upheaval in Ireland. The Clippers transformed the genre from a conservative, static stage to an exciting display of talent, energy and entertainment.

However, where the Clippers left off, the Royal took it to a whole new level, playing to a dancing public that had awakened from the slumber and drabness of the 50's. The Royal came roaring out of Waterford and took the entire country by storm, setting many of the records for attendance which stand to this day.

The band also made the first single by a showband, had the first Irish showband number one hit on the Irish charts, and captured the imagination of a generation in the 1960's and beyond. The Royal Showband possibly stands alone as the most successful showband in Irish history.

However, the band's origins were the same as any other band. Michael Coppinger and Jim Conlon started playing together originally. Michael was the "guru" with his accordion and saxophone and Jim played banjo and guitar. Together they joined up with the Harry Boland Band, and soon they wanted to expand. "We wanted to play pop and rock music," says Jim Conlon today, "and we roped in Charlie Matthews, Tom Dunphy and Gerry Cullen." Charlie, Michael and Gerry all lived in Ferrybank (Ard Mhuire) in the same area, while Jim lived on the Cork Road - all in Waterford of course.

Brendan Bowyer was the only boy of musical parents so it was probably natural he would become a musician. He made his first public appearance in the Redemptorist Church in Limerick where his Father conducted the choir (Spotlight, July 31, 1971) After leaving school, Brendan took a job as a clerk in Waterford and he was mates with Tom Dunphy. When Harry Boland left Waterford, the final piece of the puzzle came in the form of Brendan who had previously played with The Rhythm Kings and the line up was set. Eddie Sullivan also joined the band a short time later. 

Launched in the Fall of 1957, Jim came up with the name, Royal, from a local theatre, "at the time, I felt that the band needed a name that would command respect. So, I used the Royal (from the Theatre Royal) because it suggested royalty (a stretch of course) and because Ireland had its own royalty long before our neighbors across the Irish sea. It had no connotation of the Empire. I reversed the words Band Show (the Clipper Carlton used it at times) and joined the words into Showband. Tempo, acknowledged it as a "brainwave". All I can say is that it looked great on the Stardust Hotel sign on the Strip in Las Vegas later on. I had to clear the name with the Theatre Royal in Dublin at the time. They had no objections. Of course, we had our own one in Waterford as well."

The original lineup included: Brendan Bowyer (trombone), Michael Coppinger (sax), Jim Conlon (guitar), Tom Dunphy (bass), Gerry Cullen (keyboards), and Charlie Matthews (drums). Eddie Sullivan (trumpet) would join the band in early 1958. However, so uncertain were the band about their future that Jim Conlon took 18 months off in 1959 and 1960 to study accountancy. In the meantime Mickey Gilligan (pictured below who would eventually join The Blue Aces) stepped in on guitar. Other than this one change, the lineup would remain the same for the next 13 years. Originally, the band had no front man...several members sang different styles of songs as was the tradition in the early showbands. However, it wasn't long before Brendan's talent took center stage and he became the band's main attraction, even though they would be the only showband to have number one singles recorded with four different band members on lead vocals.

Meanwhile, T.J. Byrne had been working for Cotts of Kilcock (in Kildare) selling musical instruments among other things. Jim bought his first guitar from them on hire-purchase (HP) and T.J. became interested in Jim and his band. He heard Jim had a group in Waterford and Jim I invited him to hear the band rehearse. T.J. eventually offered himself up as their manager, but took no pay until they started to get some dates in 1957. 

All the musicians had day jobs and could only play at the weekends. It wasn't until Easter, 1959, that the band turned professional, and never looked back. Over the next few years, the band's talent and showmanship, augmented by Byrne's astute promotion, coincided with the rise of popularity of the ballrooms across the country and by 1960, the band was playing for huge money almost every night of the week. Eventually likened to Ireland's version of the Beatles, the Royal Showband had arrived.

The lack of dance dates during Lent in Ireland also helped the band, who used the time to tour Britain and the United States, creating even more excitement. The Royal made their first trip to the States in 1960, invited by Bill Fuller, who brought all the bands to the East Coast in those days.  

In 1961, they won Britain's Carl-Alan Award for box office achievements as "Most Outstanding Modern Dance Band" of the year. In 1962, they released the first record ever by an Irish showband, Come Down the Mountain Katy Daly, sung by the late Tom Dunphy. In April of the same year, the band played the Pavilion Theatre on Lodge Lane in Liverpool with a little known support group (at the time) The Beatles.

However, nothing was to prepare the band for the magic that was 1963. That year, Brendan recorded Kiss Me Quick, which was to become the first number one single (of many) by a showband. They also starred in the film, The One Nighters, which was produced by Peter Collinson and followed the band through their "wholesome" private lives and onto the stage. In 1963, no other band in Ireland could touch the success enjoyed by Brendan, Tom and the rest of the Royal Showband.

By the time 1965 rolled around, the band had achieved almost everything possible. That year, they released a single called I Ran All The Way Home, the B-side was a little R&B number from the late 1940's called The Hucklebuck which had been made into a minor U.S. hit by Chubby Checker in 1960. Once the band realized the potential for the song, it was made the A-side and reached Number 1 in the Irish charts, staying on the charts for 12 weeks. It even charted in England as well. The song would chart again in 1976 and has become the song most associated with the showband era by many people, due to its enduring popularity even though it came relatively late in the peak of the showband era.  

As the sixties progressed, so too did the band's popularity and earnings. 1966 was the first year they went to Las Vegas, a destination that was soon to become too strong a lure for Brendan and the boys. They played for four weeks at the Desert Inn. The following year, they would play the Stardust Hotel on the strip. That same year, 1967, the Irish entertainment industry was stunned when T.J. Byrne announced he was giving up managing the band, a shock that was comparable to Big Tom leaving the Mainliners, Dickie Rock departing from the Miami, or a few years later when Brendan quit the Royal! By the way, all of which actually happened within a couple of years.

Connie Lynch, who was already managing Pat Lynch and the Airchords, stepped in as the new manager and from then on, they divided their time between Ireland and Las Vegas. In 1967 they signed a five year deal to appear in the Stardust in Vegas which was reported to be worth in excess of $250,000 for two eight week stints a year. The band took four girl dancers with them as well - Rita Holohan, Angela Larney, Jessie Fagan and Pauline Barry. 

Later, they would generally go to the States between Christmas and July, missing the Irish Winter. The fact that they were gone for nearly six months, made them an even hotter commodity when they returned home to the summer ballroom circuit.

In 1970, the seeds of change were sown when Tribune Records management tried to lure Brendan away from the Royal. In October, a pair of articles in Spotlight reporting that not only was Brendan considering leaving the Royal, and apparently Tom Dunphy was also approached to start a new country band. At one point it was reported that Brendan had accepted the offer and was leaving the band, but last minute meetings with the Royal convinced Brendan (and Tom) to stay. The following week, it was reported that both Brendan and Tom would be staying. However, in the January 4th, 1971 issue of Spotlight, the Royal were in the news again as it was reported that the Tribune Organization had failed in getting the High Court to issue an injunction which would prohibit Brendan singing with the Royal. The Tribune group claimed that he actually had signed a contract, but later changed his mind. A hearing was scheduled for January 12th. From what we can gather, Brendan never sang with the Royal in an Irish ballroom again as they left for Vegas January 4th.   

It was only a matter of seven months before Brendan and Tom were gone. The original Royal Showband played it's last gig on July 29, 1971 in the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas. Their fans in Ireland wouldn't learn of the break up until August 5th. Jim Conlon, the band's original guitarist (and a Certified Public Accountant) decided to retire from show business. Jim cited a lack of a home life, financial matters within the band and concern over his own health among his reasons for leaving the band.

Shortly thereafter, Brendan and Tom announced the formation of The Big 8, along with former member of the Capitol, sax player Paddy Cole as bandleader. The band also enlisted Twink (of Maxi, Dick and Twink) on vocals, Dave Coady of The Real McCoy on trumpet, Mickey O'Neill of The Times on drums, Johnny McEvoy's Michael Keane on keyboards and ex-Stranger, Jimmy Conway on guitar. The Big 8 took Las Vegas by storm, playing for five years in the Stardust until 1975. The split in the band did create some legal problems as it was the Royal who had contracts in Vegas, while Brendan and Tom were the main stars of the show. 

Back home, the shattered Royal had to fill the three gaping holes left by the departure of Bowyer, Dunphy and Conlon. Several members of the Airchords, Arthur Madden (keyboards), Billy Hopkins (brother of drummer Des Hopkins) on bass and Fergie Burke (guitar) were joined by Lee Lynch on lead vocals. Lee, from Ballinasloe, had previously been singing in London with his own group, The Blue Angels. Lee had left Ireland for England in 1959, returning in 1964, but only stayed a few months before returning to the UK. Lee and the "New" Royal hit the road playing their first gig iin the Majestic Ballroom, Mallow on September 3rd, 1971.

However, only four months later, they had to make a change: Lee Lynch was gone and soon-to-be Elvis impersonator Frank Chisum was the new lead vocalist, making his debut on St. Stephen's Night, (December 26th) 1971 in the Dreamland Ballroom, Athy. Frank had previously been with the Omagh group, Pebbles. Another big change in the lineup was the loss of original member, Gerry Cullen who left the band, and show business. However, this version of the "New Royal" would not last long either as by April, 1972, Frank had been replaced by Carl Phillips, a Dublin cabaret singer who had also done some theatre in the city. By this time both Eddie Sullivan had left the band leaving only Charlie Matthews and Michael Coppinger from the original lineup.

In May, 1972 they added Barbara Dickson, better known as Dick from the girl group Maxi, Dick and Twink. By coincidence, Twink had joined Brendan and Tom in The Big Eight the year before and Barbara would also end up with the Big Eight some time later! The "New" New Royal hit the road in May, 1972 with a short English tour, and then came home to Ireland in the first week of June, playing their first gig in Johnstown on June 2nd.

Although the duo were heralded by new Royal Manager, Greg Hughes, as "tremendous singing talents...and just what the band needed to get them back to the big time," it was not to be. Less than five months later, Carl was gone and he was replaced by the former front man of The Sounds, Derrick Mehaffey.

In September, 1972, Derrick, who had emigrated to Canada after previously being with the Sounds, and had been singing with the resident band in Toronto's Maple Leaf Ballroom, returned to take over from the front spot. Within a few months of him joining, Dick announced she was leaving the band.

Despite the addition of Derrick to their lineup, the summer of 1973 saw crowds for the Royal steadily dwindling while Brendan and the Big 8 managed to generate continued interest in the new band on their annual trips home. At the beginning of 1974 the band released a single, Visions. However, after the New Year Charlie and Michael decided to call it quits and the Royal performed its last gig on February 9, 1974 in Bantry, Co. Cork. Strangely enough, though, Julie Boyd reported in her Spotlight column on April 4, 1974 that Arthur Madden and Fergie Burke had quit the band. It is possible that Julie was not aware the band had called it quits as she reported the two musicians were going into cabaret in the Pig and Whistle in Dublin. Further to this, a story in the May 2, 1974 issue of Spotlight stated that Derek Mehaffey was leaving the band as he had grown tired of traveling. 

One way or another, a little more than a decade after the band had set records in ballrooms across the country and set the standards by which future showbands would be measured, they were no more.  

At the same time, The Big 8 continued to build on their success in America and returned home to Ireland for a tour every summer. It was during one of their trips home in 1975 that tragedy struck the Irish entertainment industry.

On July 29th, 1975, 40-year-old Tom Dunphy died in a car crash at Drumsna, near Carrick-on-Shannon on his way to a gig in Donegal. His passing was one of the truly sad days for fans of the Royal, The Big 8 and the entire showband era. Two days later, the showband world would be rocked by the Miami massacre, an event that would dramatically overshadow Tom's tragic passing.

When the band returned to Las Vegas later that year, they moved to the Alladin Hotel where they stayed until 1980. Frankie Carroll of the Ranchers replaced Tom Dunphy and The Big 8 finally relocated to Las Vegas on a permanent basis in 1983.  

Despite the fact that the band called it quits in 1974, EMI and HMV released several of their earlier records which made the charts for a second (and in the case of the Hucklebuck a third) time.

Obviously, Brendan Bowyer's fame and longevity far surpassed that of the band that brought him to the forefront of the Irish Showband era. With his gyrating hips, and exciting performances, he captured the hearts of a generation of dancers that packed the ballrooms and dance halls of Ireland all those years ago. One thing is for certain: together they played a very big part in the rejuvenation of the Irish music industry and contributed in their own small way to the economic revival of the country. 

(Some facts for this page were referenced from "Send 'Em Home Sweatin" by Vincent Power and also provided by Jim Conlon, Mickey Gilligan and Liam O'Reilly.) 

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full size image

Harry Boland Band (LR) Royal Showband (LR) Royal Showband (LR) Royal Showband (LR) Royal Showband (LR)
Royal Showband (JD) Royal Showband (LR) Royal Showband (PB) Royal Showband (BS) Royal Showband (JD)
Royal - 1967 Royal - 1964 Royal Showband (LR) Royal Showband (LR) Royal - 1962
Royal Showband (JD) Royal Showband (JD) Royal Showband (JD) Royal Showband (JD) Royal Showband (JD)
Royal Showband (JD) Royal Showband (JD) Royal Showband (JD) Royal Showband in Vegas (LR) Royal Showband Live (JB)
Royal Showband (BF) Royal Showband in 1967 (LR) Tom Dunphy - 1967 (LR) Brendan Bowyer (LR) Tom Dunphy (LR)
Brendan Bowyer (LR) Brendan Bowyer Live in 1966 (LR) Brendan Bowyer (LR) Brendan Bowyer (LR) Brendan Bowyer (LR)
Royal Showband (LR) Royal Showband (LR) Royal Showband (LR) Royal Showband in Arklow (LR) Royal Showband in
Las Vegas
(LR)
Royal Showband - 1966 (LR) Royal Showband - 1971 Royal Showband featuring Lee Lynch (DD) Frank Chisum - 1972 Royal Showband (JB)
Royal - 1972 Royal - 1972 Brendan Bowyer
& The Big 8 - 1974
Royal - 1974 Royal Showband - 1974 (LR)
Royal in 1966 (MY) Royal Showband - 1968 (LR) Brendan Bowyer (LR) Brendan Gets Married-1967 Brendan Bowyer - 1967
Tom Dunphy - 1967 Charlie Matthews - 1967 Tom Dunphy Brendan Bowyer - 1967 Royal in Vegas-1967
Royal - 1969 Royal - 1969 Royal - 1969

Royal

Brendan Button (LR)
Royal Cancer Fund (LR) Royal Cancer Fund (LR) Bowyer - 1968 Royal (MQ) Bowyer - 1967
Bowyer - 1968 Bowyer - 1968 Bowyer - 1968 Bowyer - 1969 Royal - 1970
Royal - 1971 Royal - 1971 Royal - 1971 Royal - 1971 Charlie - 1971
Royal - 1967 Royal - 1967 Royal - 1969 Royal - 1968 Royal - 1970
Royal - 1968 Royal - 1971 Royal - 1969 Royal - 1969 Royal - 1970
Royal - 1970 Royal - 1969 Royal - 1974 Royal - 1972 Tom Dunphy - 1967
Royal - 1967 Royal - 1970 Royal - 1969 Royal - 1969 Royal - 1971
Royal - 1971 Royal - 1968 Royal - 1968 Royal - 1968 Royal - 1971
Royal - 1970 Tom Dunphy - 1968 Tom Dunphy - 1968 Tom Dunphy - 1967 Tom Dunphy - 1968
Tom Dunphy - 1967 Tom Dunphy - 1970 Royal (PL) Royal (PL) Royal (PL)
Royal (PL) Royal (PL) Royal (PL) Royal (PL) Royal (PL)
         
Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon
CASUAL PHOTOS FROM JIM CONLON'S COLLECTION
Royal-One Nighters (LR) Royal-One Nighters (LR) Royal-One Nighters (LR) Jim and Dusty (LR) Jim Reeves (LR)
Nino Tempo & April Stevens (LR) Royal Showband Families (LR) Hank Thompson (LR) Faron Young (LR) George Morgan & Skeeter Davis (LR)
Marty Robbins (LR) Johnny Tillotson (LR) Jim Conlon (LR) Tom and Gerry (LR) Gerry at the piano (LR)
Jim and Sammy (LR) Royal Dance Crowd (LR) Royal-One Nighters (LR) Charlie, Michael and Jim (LR) Las Vegas Airport (LR)
TJ and Jim (LR) Niagra Falls (LR) The Lads at play (LR) Las Vegas (LR) Tom & Jim's Mum (LR)
On Parade (LR) Belfast (LR) Jim Conlon (LR) Jim Conlon (LR) Royal-One Nighters (LR)
     
Jim and Family-1967 Letter to Jim 1954 Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon

Records

A - Tom Dunphy B - Tom Dunphy A - Big Eight A - Royal - 1974 B - Royal - 1974
A - Royal Showband - 1964 B - Royal Showband - 1964 A - Royal Showband - 1967 B - Royal Showband - 1967 A - Royal Showband - 1970
B - Royal Showband - 1970 A - Royal Showband - 1976 B - Royal Showband - 1976 A - Royal Showband (LR) B - Royal Showband (LR)
Come Down The Mountain Katy Daly - Tom Dunphy & The Royal Showband - 1962 Kiss Me Quick
Brendan Bowyer & The Royal - 1963
Come Down The Mountain Katy Daly - "Royal Waterford Showband" - 1963 No More
Brendan Bowyer & The Royal - 1963
Bless You
Brendan Bowyer & The Royal - 1964
The Hucklebuck
Brendan Bowyer & The Royal - 1964
Don't Lose Your Hucklebuck Shoes -
Royal Showband - 1965
The Fly
Brendan Bowyer & The Royal - 1966
Don't Lose Your Hucklebuck Shoes -
Brendan Bowyer & The Royal - 1965
The Wonder Of You
Bowyer, Brendan - 1965
If I Didn't Have A Dime
Tom Dunphy & The Royal Showband - 1965
One Way Street
Brendan Bowyer & The Royal - 1966
I Can't Get You Out Of My Heart
Brendan Bowyer & The Royal - 1966
Everything I Touch Turns To Tears
Brendan Bowyer & The Royal - 1966
Somewhere My Love
Charlie Matthews & The Royal - 1966
The Rapparee
Brendan Bowyer & The Royal - 1967
Time and The River
Charlie Matthews & The Royal - 1967
Da Do Ron Ron
Brendan Bowyer & The Royal - 1967
Silent Night
Brendan Bowyer & The Royal - 1967
Lady Willpower
"Brendan Bowyer With the Royals" - 1968
Sweet Caroline
Brendan Bowyer & The Royal - 1970
Both Sides Now
Charlie Matthews - 1970
500 Miles
Tom Dunphy & The Royal Showband - 1970
The Hucklebuck
Brendan Bowyer & The Royal
The Hucklebuck
Brendan Bowyer & The Royal
The One Nighters
Royal Showband
The Hucklebuck
Brendan Bowyer & The Royal
The Same Old Song
Brendan Bowyer & The Royal
The Hucklebuck
Brendan Bowyer & The Royal - 1964
The Hucklebuck
Brendan Bowyer & The Royal - 1964
         
Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon
Years Vocals Vcls/Keys Guitar Bass Drums Keyboards Trumpet Sax Trombone
1957     Jim
Conlon
Tom
Dunphy
Charlie
Matthews
Gerry
Cullen
Eddie
Sullivan
Michael Coppinger Brendan
Bowyer
1959     Mickey
Gilligan
Tom
Dunphy
Charlie
Matthews
Gerry
Cullen
Eddie
Sullivan
Michael Coppinger Brendan
Bowyer
1960     Jim
Conlon
Tom
Dunphy
Charlie
Matthews
Gerry
Cullen
Eddie
Sullivan
Michael Coppinger Brendan
Bowyer
1960-
1971
Brendan
Bowyer
  Jim
Conlon
Tom
Dunphy
Charlie
Matthews
Gerry
Cullen
Eddie
Sullivan
Michael Coppinger  
Aug.
1971
Lee
Lynch
Arthur
Madden
Fergie
Burke
Billy
Hopkins
Charlie
Matthews
Gerry
Cullen
Eddie
Sullivan
Michael Coppinger  
Dec.
1971
Frank
Chisum
  Fergie
Burke
Billy
Hopkins
Charlie
Matthews
Arthur
Madden
Eddie
Sullivan
Michael Coppinger  
May
1972
Carl
Phillips
Barbara Dickson Fergie
Burke
Billy
Hopkins
Charlie
Matthews
Arthur
Madden
Mick
Healy
Michael Coppinger  
Sept
1972
Derrick
Mehaffey
Barbara Dickson Fergie
Burke
Billy
Hopkins
Charlie
Matthews
Arthur
Madden
Mick
Healy
Michael Coppinger  
Jan
1973
Derrick
Mehaffey
  Fergie
Burke
Fintan Murphy Charlie
Matthews
Arthur
Madden
Mick
Healy
Michael Coppinger  
Feb
1974
Derrick
Mehaffey
  Fergie
Burke
Fintan Murphy Charlie
Matthews
Arthur
Madden
Mick
Healy
Michael Coppinger  

Discography:

Singles
Our thanks to Liam O'Reilly for much of this info!

Come Down The Mountain Katie Daly / I Heard The Bluebird Sing (Tom Dunphy)
HMV Records - POP(I)1011 - 1962
Marta / Bless Your Heart My Darling (Tom Dunphy)
HMV Records - POP(I)1070 - 1962
Kiss Me Quick / Love Thee Dearest (Brendan Bowyer)
- #1 Irish Charts
HMV Records - IP.1293
- May, 1963
Theme From The One Nighters (Jim Conlon) / Goodbye And God Bless You (Tom Dunphy)
HMV Records - IP.1294 - September, 1963
No More / Fountain Of Love (Brendan Bowyer) - #1 Irish Charts
HMV Records - POP(I)1238 - December, 1963
So Deep Is The Night (Brendan Bowyer) / From the Bottom of My Heart (Charlie Matthews) /
Dear Waste Basket (Tom Dunphy) / C'mon Everybody (Brendan Bowyer)
HMV Records EP - S
EGC.30 - 1964
Bless You (For Being An Angel) / California Sun
(Brendan Bowyer) - #1 Irish Charts
HMV Records - IP.1295 - June, 1964
I Ran All The Way Home / Hucklebuck (originally the B-side)
(Brendan Bowyer) - #1 Irish Charts
HMV Records - POP(I)1377 - Dec., 1964
If I Didn't Have A Dime (Tom Dunphy) / What Will My Mary Say - #1 Irish Charts
HMV Records - IP.1296 - March, 1965

Don't Lose Your Hucklebuck Shoes / Hawaiian Wedding Song
(Brendan Bowyer) - #1 Irish Charts
HMV Records - IP.1301 - July, 1965
She Was You Again / Count Me In
(Tom Dunphy)
HMV Records - POP.1444 - 1965
The Wonder Of You / Fun Fun Fun (Brendan Bowyer) - #2 Irish Charts
HMV Records - POP.1481 - 1965
One Way Street / Everything I Touch Turns To Tears
(Brendan Bowyer)
HMV Records - IP.1306 - Feb.,  1966
I Know What It's Like (To Have Loved) / My Little Girl
(Tom Dunphy)
HMV Records - POP(I)1505 - 1966
The Fly / Answer Me
(Brendan Bowyer) - #6 Irish Charts
HMV Records - POP(I)1521 - March, 1966
I Can't Get You Out Of My Heart / Can I Forget You (Brendan Bowyer)
- #4 Irish Charts
HMV Records - IP.1304 - August, 1966
Somewhere My Love / Spanish Lace (Charlie Matthews)
- #1 Irish Charts
HMV Records - IP.1305 - 1966
Time And The River/ Younger Than Springtime (Charlie Matthews)
 - #17 Irish Charts
HMV Records - IP.1307 - Jan., 1967
The Rapparee
/ Whistling Phil McHugh (Brendan Bowyer) - #20 Irish Charts
HMV Records - IP.1308 - May, 1967
Da Do Run Run / Sitting In The Sun (Brendan Bowyer)
King Records - KG.1059 - May, 1967

Look Into My Teardrops / Between The Window and the Phone (Tom Dunphy)
King Records - KG.1065 - November, 1967
The Holy City / Silent Night (Brendan Bowyer) - #7 Irish Charts
King Records - KG.1066 - December, 1967
Lady Willpower / Woman Woman (Brendan Bowyer) - #9 Irish Charts
King Records - KG.1078 - 1968
Same Old Song / Come On Let's Go (Brendan Bowyer) - #9 Irish Charts
Dolphin Records - DOS.19 - 1968
Both Sides Now / My Way (Charlie Matthews) - #13 Irish Charts
Pye Records - 7N.17905 - 1970
Sweet Caroline / Kentucky Woman (Brendan Bowyer)
Pye Records - 7N.45024 - 1970
500 Miles / Doc Brown (Tom Dunphy)
Release Records - RL.547 - 1970
No One Can Break A Heart Like You / My Child (Charlie Matthews)
Columbia Records - IDB.797 - Late 1971
Stand By Your Man / Me and Bobby Magee / Four and Twenty Hours (Barbara "Dick" Dickson)
Release Records - RL.655 - Late 1972
Visions of You / All My Love (Derrick Mehaffey)
Release Records - RL.710 - 1974
Reissues
The Hucklebuck / I Ran All The Way Home / Fun, Fun. Fun (Brendan Bowyer)
 - #4 Irish Charts
EMI Records - EMI.2459 - March, 1976
If I Didn't Have A Dime / What Will My Mary Say (Tom Dunphy)
- #4 Irish Charts
HMV Records - IP.1296 - July, 1976
The Hucklebuck / I Ran All The Way Home / Fun, Fun. Fun (Brendan Bowyer)  - #10 Irish Charts
EMI Records - EMI.2459 - February, 1981

Albums

The One Nighters
HMV Records - HMV 1779 - 1964

The Best Of The Royal
HMV Records -
HMV 3620 - 1967
The Royal's Stardust Show - Las Vegas
King Records - KGL 4008 - 1968*
Ireland Calls
Pye Golden Guinea Records - GSGL 10456 - 1970
The Royal Showband Story
EMI Records -
EMI 1046 - 1976

* Additional record info provided by Liam O'Reilly.

Audio Clips

       

The Hucklebuck

       

Where Are They Now?

Brendan Bowyer: Currently living in Las Vegas and "semi" retired, Brendan continued to do residencies in Las vegas for twenty five years, building a reputation as one of the top local performers. Although he will always be remembered in Ireland as the gyrating "Elvis" of the Royal and later The Big Eight, in Vegas, he is known more as an Irish crooner of immense versatility who played for over a quarter century with "The Irish Showband." He still tours with daughter, Ashling, and has a website at www.brendanbowyer.com

Tom Dunphy RIP: Tom was tragically killed in a car accident on July 29, 1975 at the age of 40. The accident occurred en route to Donegal near the village of Dromod in Co. Leitrim. News of his passing was sadly overshadowed by Miami Showband tragedy just two days later. Tom was the first showband star to record a single and was one of the true gentlemen of the era. His tragic passing at the young age of forty left a gaping hole in the Irish entertainment industry. 
Mickey Gilligan: Mickey left the Royal when Jim Conlon finished his accountancy exams and went on to play with the Blue Aces for many years. Married now for over 40 years, Mickey retired in 1993 and still plays guitar regularly with a local pub group. You can read his story here.
Michael Coppinger: Michael's son, also Michael, wrote to tell us his dad still lives in Waterford. In the early 80's he formed a ten piece band called Brass and Co, with fellow ex Royal Eddie Sullivan, who are still on the go. He retired in 2004 and spends most of his time these days golfing. If you have any additional info please email us
  Eddie Sullivan: Lizanne Sullivan (Eddie's daughter-in-law) writes to tell us that Eddie now lives in Mooncoin, Co. Kilkenny with his wife of 42 years, Celia, and their youngest son Fred (17). He has 6 children--Paul, twins Garry and Greg, Lynne, Laura and Fred. After the band days he set up a very successful jewelry business which he retired from a few years ago to a farm in Mooncoin, where he and Celia raise horses. He has been playing with Michael Coppinger in Brass and Co. 

Jim Conlon: After leaving the band, Jim emigrated to the United States where he went to work for B.M.I. (Broadcast Music, Inc.) the largest performing rights organization in the work, tracking royalties for music performed in the United States and around the world. He lived in New York and then moved to Nashville for several years also with BMI. Today Jim again lives in New York and plays and sings a couple times a week in The Irish Coffee House and has been for the past 15/16 years.
  Gerry Cullen: Still lives in Waterford. If you have any additional info please email us
  Charlie Matthews: Michael Coppinger junior writes to tell us that Charlie is retired and still lives in Waterford where he also enjoys golfing. If you have any additional info please email us

Billy Hopkins: In the early eighties, Billy joined with brother Des Hopkins (who now runs DH Entertainment as well) to form the Cluskey Hopkins Band. The band plays jazz and has been on the road for over twenty years. They have played all the major jazz festivals in Ireland and the UK, as well as touring. They have a close association with Guinness and are the original Guinness Jazz Band. Sadly Billy passed away on the 16th February 2010.      
  Lee Lynch: Lee quit the Royal after a very short time in late 1971 to return to his home in London where he had been based since 1959 (from Ballinasloe, Co. Galway) and had a band called the Blue Angels. He continued to perform, write and record until the mid 90's, when ill health forced him to retire. He is now 69 years of age and living with his wife in a small country village in Bedfordshire. Our thanks to Phil Lynch for the update on Lee.
Derrick Mehaffy: Derrick (sometimes also spelled Derek) has continued to perform since the Royal called it quits in 1974. He was playing around Ireland with his own band last year, but we understand from John Baird he has joined forces with the Foyle Showband recently.  

 Back


2002-2014 GMS Productions

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