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American Pie Gallery (1972-1977)

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

The Story

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 numbers.  

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 all people.

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 (bass).

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.....

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

American Pie - 1972 American Pie - 1972 American Pie - 1972 (DL) American Pie - 1973 American Pie - 1974 (LR)
American Pie - 1973 (DL)

American Pie - 1973

American Pie - 1973

American Pie - 1973

American Pie - 1974

American Pie (RF) American Pie - late 1974 American Pie (RF) American Pie (RF) American Pie (RF)
     
American Pie (RF) American Pie (RF)

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

Coming Soon

Years Vocals Guitar Bass Drums Guitar/Keys Trombone Trumpet
1972 Ronnie
Griffiths
Francie
Lenehan
John
Lenehan
Billy
Kelly
Bobby
Moore
Martin
Campbell
Damien
Given
June
1974
Ronnie
Griffiths
Terry
Duffy
Johnny
Blackledge
Sam
Connelly
Bobby
Moore
Martin
Campbell
Damien
Given
Jan
1976
  Terry
Duffy
Johnny
Blackledge
Sam
Connelly
Bobby
Moore
Martin
Campbell
Damien
Given
Feb
1977
Johnny "Joe"
Mac
Charlie
McNally
Matthew
Bonner
Sam
Connelly
Unknown    

Discography

Singles:

The Last Time I Called Somebody Darling / Count O'Hanlon / Teach Your Children / Sleep Song (Our thanks to Paul Clarke)
Release Records - RL.660 - 1972
Dingle Bay Boat Song / Hello Walls / Ladies Love Outlaws- #12 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.679 - May, 1973
My Heart Is Where The Shannon Flows / Love Is / Sea of Heartbreak
Release Records - RL.692 - October, 1973
I Can't Stop Loving You / Sidewalks of Chicago
Release Records - Unknown - March, 1974
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (Damien) / Please Mr. Please (Martin) / Forget the Janes and the Jeans (Bobby)

Release Records / Unknown / November, 1975

Albums:

A Slice Of American Pie
Release Records - BRL.4087 - December, 1974
Country Freedom (Driftwood)
Top Spin Records - TSLP.99 - December, 1978

 Audio Clips

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?  

  Terry Duffy - RIP: Terry sadly passed away August 28, 2013 - Clare O'Brien
  Ronnie Griffiths:
  Francie Lenehan:
  John Lenehan:
  Billy Kelly:
  Damien Givens:
  Martin Campbell:
  Bobby Moore:

 

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