American Pie Gallery (1972-1977)
Photo Gallery -
Band Lineups -
- Audio samples -
Where Are They Now?
Ronnie Griffiths started his career as part of
the Mighty Avons with Larry Cunningham. Ronnie left the Mighty Avons
to be replaced by Gene Stuart and formed American Pie on November
12th, 1972. Manager of the Avons, Charlie McBrien (RIP) also left
and was replaced by Peter Smith who left the bandstand to take up
the new position. The band went into rehearsals in early December with
their first gig scheduled for Christmas.
The band's original lineup was:
Ronnie Griffiths (vocals), Francie Lenehan (guitar), John Lenehan
(bass), Billy Kelly (drums), Damien Given (trumpet), Martin Campbell
(trombone), and Bobby Moore (sax). The band was launched with a maxi
single which was touted as "The Birth of American Pie" and featured
four of the band's singers: Damien (Sleep Song), Bobby (Count
O'Hanlon), Billy (Teach Your Children) and Martin (The
Last Time I Called Somebody Darling). Interestingly, it
did not feature front man, Ronnie, who was reportedly ill according
to newspaper reports. The single including pop, folk and country
The band made its debut in
Claremorris, Co. Mayo on Christmas Night. Within a short time (in
February, 1973) Enniskillen man, Sean McGrade took over as their manager,
and at the time, he was also managing Tommy Fee and the Cajun
Sound. There was some confusion early on as to whether the band
was pop or country as their single was trying to be all things to
In May, it was finally Ronnie's
turn to release a single which was Dingle Bay Boat Song with
Ladies Love Outlaws on the B side. It was an instant success
for the band climbing to Number 12 on the Irish Top Twenty. It would
be the band's only chart success. The single was arranged and
produced (as was their earlier release) by Damien Given. The band
was doing very well gig wise playing all across the country.
In October, the band released
another maxi saingle which included the tracks My Heart Is Where
The Shannon River Flows (written by Damien) as well as Love
Is and Sea of Heartbreak. By now it was becoming obvious
they were mainly a country band, but (as most country bands did)
they included a serving of pop as well.
In March, 1974, the band released
another single, the Ray Charles' hit I Can't Stop Living You,
which was seen by some in the press as a strange choice for the band
as it was so closely linked to Ray. Around June, 1974, Francie, John
and Billy left and returned to their home town of
Sligo to form a three piece group called Southern Comfort. They were replaced
in Pie's line-up by
Terry Duffy (RIP-guitar), Sam Connelly (drums) and Johnny Blackledge
In January 1976, Ronnie left
American Pie to start a new band, Driftwood, while he still retained
an interest in American Pie along with Sean McGrade. The new band's
lineup was: Ronnie (vocals and keyboards), Thomas Kiernan (guitar),
Bobby Kennedy (bass), Ally Harron (guitar), Tommy Mclvor (drums) and
Mervyn Nixon (steel).
Meanwhile American Pie continued
on as a six piece for a time before adding a new lead singer. In
early 1977, J. (Johnny) Mac was named as the singer with the "new
look" American Pie. In March, 1977 Terry Duffy left the band to
join the Ramblin Men.
It was reported in the Donegal News
on November 26, 1977 that American Pie was disbanding with J. Mac reportedly
about to join Philomena Begley's Ramblin Men.
More to come.....
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