Photo Gallery (1965-1971)
Photo Gallery -
Band Lineups -
- Audio samples -
Where Are They Now?
While the majority of major bands during the
showband came out of Dublin and Belfast, Ireland's third largest
city, Cork, also produced many fine bands. Of course,
The Dixies were Cork's most famous
export, but The Regal Showband (based in Bantry) was another band that did very
well in the early days of the showband era.
In 1965, The Regal had a huge hit with I
Need You sung by Declan Ryan. Despite the single's success (it
reached number six on the Irish charts), the band shocked the local
entertainment scene when they announced that four members were
leaving to form a new band, The Arrivals. Declan Ryan
(vocals), Des McAlea (sax-a.k.a Des Lee), Mick Aherne (guitar) and
Beno Haussmann (drums) departed the band and were the subject of a
major marketing campaign headed up by their first manager Murt Lucey
who with his brother at that time owned two of the most successful
ballrooms in Co. Cork. To complete the
new band, they recruited Mick's brother, Will Aherne on bass, Tony
Neenan (trumpet) and Billy Curtin (sax). Billy had previously been
playing with the Swingtime Aces.
The band went on the road in late 1965
and had a modest hit in 1966 with their first single, My Wishful
In January, 1967, the band went on its first
tour of the United States, playing mostly in the New York area, but
also going on to Chicago and Toronto.
In June 1967 Declan Ryan left
the band and we think rejoined the Regal and Des Lee took over as lead vocalist. However, just
as he was about to release his first single with the band, Des took
up the lucrative offer to join the Miami
Showband (by coincidence, they had just suffered the loss of
more than half the band to the breakaway
Sands). The Miami were much bigger than the Arrivals and
although at the time, his decision was to be expected, it would
prove to be one of the most fateful decisions of any musician's life
eight years later.
At that stage, The
Arrivals signed Kevin Kane as lead vocalist from a very
successful semi-pro Cork band called The Vards. At the same
time, Nicky Kirwan replaced Benno as drummer. Kevin was introduced
to the dancing public through an advert in Spotlight's Sept 28th
edition as the "Great New Voice of '67." The band released two
singles with Kevin out front, neither of which reached the charts
and in 1969, Kevin left the band and formed a local group in Cork
The Arrivals signed Jimmy
Fanning who had featured as lead vocalist on a first time major hit
for an Irish beat group – The Stranger's version of Look
Out, Here Comes Tomorrow. However, Jimmy (from Balbriggin, Co.
Dublin) soon felt working with a Cork based band was not going to
work for him so he left after a few dates, leaving the band without
a lead singer again.
It was then that the band
looked to their own and Will Aherne, Mick’s brother became the lead
vocalist. Later that year, the band released two very impressive
singles. Unfortunately, despite their best attempts, the band still
couldn't crack the national ballroom circuit like they wanted and
finally broke up in 1970.
But the story of the Arrivals
was not over. About a year later, the boys decided to reform, but on
a part time basis only. They enjoyed tremendous success on the local
scene, which they put down to the lessons they had learned from
their first time around. The band lasted a number of years but
gradually with members moving on, etc., it all came to an end
several years later.
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