Danny Doyle Story
Photo Gallery -
Band Lineups -
- Audio samples -
Where Are They Now?
Danny Doyle was one of the few
folk artists of the mid sixties who made the switch to the showband
circuit in the early 70's at the time when the ballrooms were the
only way to make "real" money in Ireland. Born in 1940,
Danny was one of eight children. Growing up in Dublin,
Danny quit school when he was fourteen and over the next few years,
traveled around Ireland, soaking up the influence of musical acts
like the Dubliners and Clancy brothers, learning the ballads which
were sung in every corner of the country.
It was early 1965 when Danny
started on the path to a career in music. In a 1967 Spotlight
interview Danny said, "When I left school I didn't know what to do
with myself. I worked in a shop but there was no future in it. It
just wasn't me." He quit his job and headed to England where he
drifted around the folk clubs and when he was lucky enough, he would
sing a few songs. Two years in England helped Danny hone his musical
skills as well as develop his own style.
"I was a carbon copy of the
Clancys and the Dubliners before I went to England," he said,
Suddenly it dawned on me to be myself and have my own style." Danny
returned to Ireland brimming with new found confidence and started
playing the rounds in the pubs. With his brother Michael handling
his management, he got his first big break at the Embankment in
Tallaght. Michael told the promoters Danny was just back from a
roaring success in England and would draw huge crowds.
In late 1966, after a few months
back home, Danny was earning £40 a week
and signed with Mick Quinn, who had guided the futures of other
stars on the folk scene (like the Wolfe Tones) and just started the
Associated Ballroom Agency. Danny needed to make a record if he was
to move to the next level on the Irish scene. His first record was,
"Step It Out Mary" which began to get plays on all the
stations. The record was a hit and spent eleven weeks on the Irish
charts, eventually reaching number 4.
1967 had started with a bang for
Danny and he was suddenly in demand. The folk and ballad revival in
Ireland had hit full stride and Danny, along with artists like
Johnny McEvoy, was riding the crest of the folk wave. A few months
later, he released his second single, "The Irish Soldier Laddie"
which was not as successful as Mary, but still managed to
break into the top ten, reaching number seven.
In May of 1967, as Soldier
Laddie was ending its run in the charts, Danny relelased his
first E.P (four track 45 rpm disc) which included Step It Out
Mary again. The release did little for his career and failed to
chart. However in September, he released "Whiskey On A Sunday,"
which would prove to be his biggest hit yet. The record entered the
Irish charts a week later and three weeks later reached number one.
With this success, Danny joined Johnny McEvoy as one of the top
ballad stars in Ireland.
In the March 25, 1972 issue of
Spotlight, and article reported that Danny was forming a showband.
At the time, no name had been chosen, but they were scheduled to
make their debut on Sunday, April 23rd in Claremorris. Danny moved from the
folk circuit into the ballrooms when he teamed up with former member
of Maxi, Dick and Twink - Maxi to form the band, Music Box. Maxi,
who had been in Canada, came back to Ireland to join the band in
The original lineup of the band
included: Stuart Smith (Jim Farley Band - keyboards), Damien
McKerr (Dreams - guitar), John O'Connor (drums), Kevin
Kennerly (Tomorrow's People - bass), Tony Meehan (Palms
- sax), Danny Doyle (vocals), and Maxi (vocals). At the time of the
article in Spotlight, a trumpet player had yet to be named.
Although on paper, the band looked
like a sure fire success, in practice it was an uneasy partnership.
Although Maxi's roots may have come from the folk realm with Maxi,
Dick and Twink, the years since that group broke had been spent
singing pop tunes almost exclusively. Additionally, Danny was trying
to make the switch from folk to country, itself a challenge few
mastered (including Johnny McEvoy).
Still, the combination of the two
stars had plenty of drawing power and the band had some success on the ballroom
circuit. However, we don't think they released a single during
this period. All in all, the band lasted just three
years and never quite clicked.
Danny and Maxi were too far apart when it came to musical tastes.
Said Danny at the time, "The Music Box were a great bunch but then again Maxi
and myself were poles apart musically. She was keen on pops and I
was always a country fan." Eventually, it made sense that they
should each form their own band and so in June, 1974, Maxi
left to form her own band which was reported would be called "Maxi
and Company" and in July 1974, Danny and the Music
Box played their final gig. An article in Spotlight announced the
formation of his new band, "Country Music Box."
An advertisement in Spotlight
in March, 1975 announced the search for a new girl singer for the
new outfit. Rumours had abounded that Maxi might rejoin the band,
but this was denied by management. This would not last long
though as we think by 1976, Danny has resumed his solo career.
As an aside, later in the year
(November, 1975) Maxi had left the ballroom scene, was married to
drummer Stuart McDonald and had started a six week run in a musical
at the Abbey Theatre called Innish, after recovering from exhaustion
after a tour in Canada. She claimed she would not be returning to
the ballrooms and was looking forward to trying a career in acting.
Danny's experimentation with
country music would be a distant memory once he came back to his
folk roots. He had several hit singles in the late 70's including
Somewhere Somebody's Waiting which reached number 5 in the Irish
Charts and he followed this up with Pete St. John's poignant tale of
Dublin, The Rare Oul' Times which has become one of the all
time classic songs about Dublin ever written and reached number one
in the charts where it stayed for 12 weeks. In fact, it would be
Danny's last hit record in Ireland. It was released a couple of
years later and reached number 11.
A few years later, in 1983, Danny
left Ireland for the United States where he continued to perform
ballads of Ireland for new audiences.
click on thumbnails for full image
Discography (More to come)
Step It Out Mary / Pretty Saro - #4 Irish Charts
Tribune Records - MJS.104 - December, 1966
Irish Soldier Laddie / Morning Train - #7 Irish Charts
Tribune Records - TRS.103 - April, 1967
Step It Out Mary / Sam Hall / Early Morning Rain / Red Haired Mary
Tribune Records - Tribune 501 - May, 1967
Whiskey On A Sunday / Reason To Believe - #1 Irish Charts
Tribune Records - TRS.108 - September, 1967
The Mucky Kid / Gone Away - #17 Irish Charts
Tribune Records - Unknown - March, 1968
Johnny / Leaving On A Jet Plane
Tribune Records - Unknown - October, 1968
The Long and Winding Road
Tribune Records - TRS.141 - June, 1970
Take Me Home Country Roads
Plough Records - PLS.001 - August, 1971
A Daisy A Day / Far Away In Australia - #1 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.671 - May, 1973
Thanks for the Memories / Kentucky Moonshine (Tennessee Wine?) - #2 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.709 - January, 1974
A Very Special Love Song / Morning Bells WIll Chime - #11 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.736 - July, 1974
Jesus Is My Kind of People / Penny Annie
Release Records - RL.762 - February, 1975
Somewhere Somebody's Waiting - #5 Irish Charts
Music Box Records - Unknown - September, 1976
Rare Ould Times - #1 Irish Charts
Galaxy Records - Unknown - January, 1978
Old Dublin Town / Bells of the Morning
Galaxy Records - E.101 - 1978
Rare Ould Times (re-released) / Old Dublin Town - #11 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.980 - September, 1979
Expressions of Danny Doyle
Tribune Records - TRL.1003 - November, 1967
Whiskey On A Sunday
EMI Records - STAL 6010 - 1970
Plough Records - PL.1001 - August, 1971
Grand Ole Irish Opry
Release Records - BRL.4038 - 1973
Granauile Records - GRLP.001 - 1982