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

CLICK FOR:     FREE FORUM        HOME PAGE        GUESTBOOK      MAKE A DONATION

All About the Clipper Carlton (1949-1970) & (1985-1987)

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

The Story

Founded in the late 1940's as Hugh Tourish and the Carlton, the Clippers are credited with starting the whole showband craze in the late 1950's. Up until that point all "orchestras," including the Clippers, sat behind music stands and read their music, playing the dance hits of the day and a wide range of musical styles. The only "frontmen" were the bandleaders and the entire band divided the songs among the members based on each musician's singing style.   

One night in 1949, the band held a contest to find a new name and the "Clipper Carltons" were born. In 1952 Victor Craig took over the band's management and things started to change. The original members were: Hugo Quinn (RIP-trumpet), Hugh Tourish (RIP-keyboards-piano in those days), Terry Logue (RIP-sax/clarinet), Mick O'Hanlon (RIP-drums), Art O'Hagan (bass), and Fergus O'Hagan (RIP-vocals). Victor Fleming (RIP-trombone) joined the band in 1954 and the lineup was set.

It was in 1954 that the band also stood up, breaking tradition with the orchestras and big bands from England and the States. Relying on memory to play the hits, they moved around the stage and took to wearing snappy suits rather than tuxedos, which was the norm at the time. The band also included a special feature in their act called "Jukebox Saturday Night" in which members of the band dressed up, impersonating the stars of the day. They were one of the first to include a "show" in their act, but it was the late Dave Glover, another Northern band, who claims to have actually coined the term, "Showband." Dominic "Dom" Shearer joined the band as lead singer in 1956 along with Billy McFadden on guitar and their fame continued to spread far and wide. They started touring England and the United States during Ireland's "off season" - Lent.

Throughout the fifties and into the early 1960's, the Clippers were one of the biggest acts in Ireland, but they were a mature band compared to many of their rivals like the Royal and Dixies. The rise of the showband genre was taken over by younger, more charismatic performers like Dickie Rock and Brendan Bowyer. Although excellent talents, the Clippers lacked the excitement and power of the younger bands and by 1964, just as the showband era was peaking, the Clippers were seen as "yesterday's news."

In early 1964, the band split in two with Hugo Quinn and the O'Hagan brothers continuing on as the Clippers while Mick O'Hanlon, Dom Shearer and Victor Fleming formed the Santa Fe Showband with George Galway, and Barney Skillen (guitar). Victor Craig left the scene and Maurice Cassidy took over the management of the Santa Fe.

In the meantime, the Clipper Carlton continued on with a new lineup which included Art, Fergus and Hugo along with newcomers Pat Lynch - soon to be of the Airchords (vocals) - along with Paddy Courtney (drums), Billy Brady (guitar), Jimmy Moore, (keyboards), and Neil Mc Mahon (sax). George O'Reilly took over the management following Victor's temporary retirement. To many, they split was the end of an era and mourned by their legions of fans. Pat would not stay long as in March 1965, her left to join the Airchords.

For a couple of years, both bands floundered, neither able to come anywhere near the popularity of the original band. Then in June, 1966, Cassidy suggested the band reform with the original lineup. The idea paid off and for three years, the Clippers enjoyed a rebirth with many of the dancers that had grown up with them in the 1950's. Rumours abounded in mid 1969 that the band was ready to break up, but an article in the September 12th issue of Spotlight reported that Merv Allen had been signed as the band's new lead vocalist. In 1968, like the Royal and other bands, the Clippers were drawn to Las Vegas. The band continued to play through the end of the decade, although without the major drawing power of their early years.

In August, 1970, an advert appeared in Spotlight advertising vocalist Merv Allen (Ireland's top yodeling star), along with Scotty Coburn. By the end of 1970, the ride was over and the band broke up again. Maurice Cassidy ran the Stardust Club in Derry and eventually managed Tony Kenny and the Sands. The rest of the band packed it in, returning to civilian life.

In early 1972, the New Clippers were put together by founding member Terry Logue. According to an article in Spotlight, the band featured Terry's 17 year old son, Terence, on sax and the band's oldest member was keyboard player Billy Hamilton at 22. Also mentioned in the article is Maurice Hamilton (trombone) and Cecil Jack (guitar). We are not sure how long this incarnation of the band lasted.

The final chapter in the history of the Clipper Carlton started in 1985. Coming out of retirement, the band planned to play a summer season that turned into two years. The only "original member" not on stage was Victor Fleming, who was replaced by Terry Duffy. Their "Jukebox Saturday Night" was rekindled with a new name, "There's No Business Like Show Business." Unfortunately, it all came crashing down with the death of Hugo Quinn in 1987. 

Terry Logue, Hugo Quinn, Victor Fleming, and Hugh Tourish have all passed away. Fergie O'Hagan sadly passed away on February 24, 2007. Mick O'Hanlon passed away 7th September, 2009, leaving only one member of the original Clippers surviving today, Art O'Hagan.              

More to come....

Photo Gallery

Click on thumbnails for full images

Clipper Carltons (PB) Clipper Carltons Clipper Carlton Showband (JD) Clipper Carlton - 1969 (KS) Clipper Carlton (JB)
Clipper Carlton Ad - 1968 (BJ) Clipper Carlton (JB) Fergus O'Hagan of the Clipper Carlton-1966 (LR) Clipper Carlton (BK) Santa Fe Showband (PB)
Clipper Carlton - 1966 New Clippers - 1972 (JR)

Clipper Carlton

Clipper Carlton - 1968 Clipper Carlton - 1968
Clipper Carlton - 1968 Clipper Carlton - 1960's Clipper Carlton - 1967 Clipper Carlton (RF) Clipper Carlton (RF)
Clipper Carlton (RF) Clipper Carlton (RF) Clipper Carlton (RF) Clipper Carlton (RF) Clipper Carlton (RF)
Clipper Carlton (RF) Clipper Carlton (RF) Clipper Carlton (RF) Clipper Carlton (RF) Clipper Carlton (RF)
       
Clipper Carlton (RF) Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon
Year MC/Vocals Vocals Guitar Bass Drums Keyboards Sax Trumpet Trombone
1949 Fergus
O'Hagan
    Art
O'Hagan
Mick
O'Hanlon
Hugh
Tourish
Terry
Logue
Hugo
Quinn
 
1954 Fergus
O'Hagan
    Art
O'Hagan
Mick
O'Hanlon
Hugh
Tourish
Terry
Logue
Hugo
Quinn
Victor
Fleming
1956 Fergus
O'Hagan
Dom
Shearer
Billy
McFadden
Art
O'Hagan
Mick
O'Hanlon
Hugh
Tourish
Terry
Logue
Hugo
Quinn
Victor
Fleming
1964 Fergus
O'Hagan
Pat
Lynch
Billy
Brady
Art
O'Hagan
Paddy
Courtney
Jimmy
Moore
Neil
McMahon
Hugo
Quinn
 
Mar
1965
Fergus
O'Hagan
Unknown Billy
Brady
Art
O'Hagan
Paddy
Courtney
Jimmy
Moore
Neil
McMahon
Hugo
Quinn
 
1966 Fergus
O'Hagan
Dom
Shearer
Barney
Skillen
Art
O'Hagan
Mick
O'Hanlon
  Terry
Logue
Hugo
Quinn
Victor
Fleming
1969 Fergus
O'Hagan
Merv
Allen
Barney
Skillen
Art
O'Hagan
Mick
O'Hanlon
Hugh
Tourish?
Terry
Logue
Hugo
Quinn
Terry
Duffy
1985 Fergus
O'Hagan
Dom
Shearer
Barney
Skillen
Art
O'Hagan
Mick
O'Hanlon
Hugh
Tourish?
Terry
Logue
Hugo
Quinn
Terry
Duffy

Discography (partial list):

Dear Little Shamrock / Dear Old Donegal
King Records - KING 1054 - 1967
A Little Bit of Me Dies / The March Hare
Tribune Records - TRS.115 - 1968
Can A Bluebird Fly / Out of My Mind
Emerald Records - MD 1117 - 1969

Audio Clips

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now?

Fergus O'Hagan: RIP Up until his death, Fergie was living in Craigavon, telling stories about his days with the Clipper Carlton. Our thanks to Ian O'Hagan for the update on Fergie and our condolences to his friends and family. .
Hugh Tourish: RIP Hugh sadly passed away
Art O'Hagan: The last remaining original member of the Clippers. Terry McCafferty wrote to us in October, 2009 to tell us that Art is alive and well and still living in Strabane. He enjoys the odd sing song at the local golf club and met with Mick O'Hanlon just a couple of weeks before he died and they spent time together reminiscing about the good old days. In January, 2014, Tommy Canning wrote us to say Art still alive.
Mick O'Hanlon: RIP Mick sadly passed away 7th September, 2009. Our thanks to Terry McCafferty for the info and our sincere sympathies to his family and friends.
Terry Logue: RIP   Terry sadly passed away.
Hugo Quinn: RIP Hugo sadly passed away in 1987.
Victor Fleming: RIP  Victor sadly passed away.
Barney Skillen: Barney went on to join pop band Flint and we received an email in 2006 from Jim Ferran telling us he was living in Anderstown, Belfast.If you have any info on his current whereabouts, please let us know.
Dominic Shearer:  RIP  Dom sadly passed away.
Merv Allen:  RIP  Elaine Allen, informed us that her Dad, Merv  sadly passed away 11th May, 2010 at age 72. We are not sure what bands, if any, Merv sang with after his short stint with the Clippers in 1969-70.
Neil McMahon: If you have any info on his current whereabouts, please let us know.
Paddy Courtney: If you have any info on his current whereabouts, please let us know.
Billy Brady: If you have any info on his current whereabouts, please let us know.
Jimmy Moore: If you have any info on his current whereabouts, please let us know.
Terry Duffy - RIP: In January, 2014 Tommy Canning sent us an email to say that sadly Terry passed away in 2013 after suffering bronchial problems. We have found a date of death as August 28th, 2013 on rip.ie. Our thanks to Tommy for letting us know and our sincere sympathies to his family and friends.

Back

 


2002-2014 GMS Productions

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