Artones/Jets Showband Story (1960-1964)
Photo Gallery -
Band Lineups -
- Audio samples -
Where Are They Now?
Hayden was born in London and came to Ireland in the late 1950's and
immediately set about forming a band. He would gather the best
musicians he could find and they hit the road in early 1960 as the
Artones. The earliest reference to them we can find is in March 1960
in an advert where they were looking for bookings from Easter
in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, the band didn't seem to have much
success early on as most of the references to them we have found in
1960 newspapers were small adverts announcing the number of vacant
dates the band was trying to fill. It would be January, 1961 before
they got their first gig in Dublin in Barry's Hotel.
Throughout 1961 things started to
pick for the band and they started playing regularly around south
Leinster, but soon spreading their wings and going further afield.
By the end of that year, they were playing gigs from Donegal to Cork
and all places in between. This was the very early days of the
showband era and the idea of frontmen like Dickie Rock and Brendan
Boyer had yet to surface on the Irish entertainment scene. Most
bands had a leader (Tommy Hayden, Jack Ruane, Maurice Mulcahy, etc.)
but they were not singing stars, just band leaders.
Apparently, in November 1962 (or
thereabouts) the band (being managed by Jack Lynch) changed their
name to Tommy Hayden and the Jet and added Jim O'Connor to the lin
eup as their new lead singer. An article reporting the change
made reference to the fact that the "Artones" moniker had lead to
confusion among promoters and fans alike as every other band in the
country seemed to be called the "something-tones."
The lineup was Jim O'Connor
(vocals), Wally Meehan
(rhythm guitar), Jimmy Clarke (lead guitar), Pete Hayden (Tommy's
brother on drums), Jack McGuinness (bass), Tommy Hayden (sax and
bandleader), John Cleary (trumpet) and rounding out the eight-piece
line-up was Mark Leech (piano and trombone).
Although at the time of their name
change the band was playing all around the country, they still seem
to have been somewhat of a second tier band, often playing second
billing to larger bands on many two-band dances. The last advert for
a dance played by the Jets we found was for August 3rd, 1963,
although we know the band did not call it quits.
In late 1964, it was announced
that Sligo born Maisie McDaniel would be joining the showband ranks
after the Fendermen left to join another band. The new outfit would
be know as the Nevada Showband but it was actually just the Jets
with the line-up being Tommy Hayden (sax and leader), Wally Meehan
(guitar), Jim O'Connor (vocals and piano), Jack McGuinness (bass),
Jimmy Clarke (guitar) and John Cleary (trumpet).
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