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All About the Pacific Showband (1962-1971) and
Dublin Corporation (1971-1980?)

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

The Story

The story of the Pacific Showband mirrors the story of the Showband era in many ways. They were formed in the early 1960's when several members of the Earl Gill Orchestra left to form their own "showband." Earl's band had been very much an "orchestra" in the classic sense, featuring a large brass section with musician's seated behind music stands "reading the dots."

The Carlton Clipper had already started the trend towards bands standing up and moving to the music and the Pacific followed suit. The original band included: Sonny Knowles (sax), Shay Curran (trombone), Sean Fagan (vocals), Jimmy Dumpleton (guitar), Marty Fanning (drums), Freddie Martin (trumpet) and Harry Parker (bass).

Sonny had started his career in 1952 as a member of the Johnny Butler Dance band, playing sax and clarinet. and ended up with Earl's band. Sean Fagan was the lead vocalist, but as with all the showbands, most of the members sang as well with different singers handling different genres with the band. Although Sonny was mainly the sax player, he also sang and was soon sharing equal billing and recording chores with Sean.

The band's first hit came in 1964 when they released She Wears My Ring which went to number three in the Irish charts. In fact, the band's first four singles all cracked the top ten, making them one of the more successful recording bands of the era. Vocals chores were shared with Sean singing the first two releases and Sonny the next two.

In an RTE interview in 2008, Sonny said the Pacific was "a great Northern Ireland band....but when we would go down around Cork, we might be emptied very easily by the local band." This was really the case with most bands who seemed to go down well in certain parts of the country but not in others. 

In 1966, the band had its first lineup change when guitarist Jimmy Dumpleton was replaced by Paul Keogh, although this was just the first of several major changes the band would face in the next 24 months. In mid 1967, several members of the Miami broke away and formed the Sands with a very young Tony Kenny taking leads vocals, along with several new young members of Dublin groups.

The Pacific could see the problem coming as did most of the early 60's showbands. Musicians who had started out in their teens or early twenties were now reaching their early to mid thirties. Additionally, the "new" pop of the Beatles and the Summer of Love (not to mention the hippies) were washing over the Irish entertainment landscape. Bands like the Clipper Carlton and Pacific had to change, or risk being passed off as over the hill.

In the Spotlight magazine dated 16th March, 1968, the announcement came that the Pacific were breaking up (but they didn't). Sonny joined Dermot O'Brien's Clubmen, however, by May, the Clubmen (without Dermot or Sonny) would announce they were revamping themselves as a pop band.

As for the Pacific, the future of the rest of the band was unclear and, in fact, no replacement for Sonny was announced. The band, with Sonny, played their last gig on St. Patrick's night. The following week (March 23, 1968), Spotlight magazine included a short feature on the new release from Peter Law (real name Peter Lawlor) called The Long Black Veil along with a two page feature on the singer's new spot with the Pacific. Sean Fagan, Shay Curran, Harry Parker, recent addition, Paul Keogh and Marty Fanning remained and were joined by Jimmy Malone (sax) and Austin Halpin (trumpet) becoming an eight piece. .

The band hit the road in April 1968 after a month's rehearsal as the "New Pacific" and Peter got a lot of publicity over the first few months, including the cover of Spotlight, which was normally reserved for the "big stars" of the day. For most of the year, the band remained relatively stable, playing gigs around the country, but not releasing any records. Finally in late 1968, the band released My Lovely Rose and You featuring Sean Fagan. The record was Sean's first chart success in four years and reached number 7 in the Irish charts. Dave Murphy joined the band on guitar in late 1968.

David Murphy takes up the story: "I joined the Pacific in 1968 and we played every nook and cranny of Ireland (North and South). In 1969 the band made several trips to Canada and when we came back we did the same thing again (up and down the country in a big Commer van and by the time you got to a gig, you would have to clean your face and hands off with a handkerchief or a rag because of the diesel fumes) - a few pieces of information while we were in Ireland: We recorded an album called "The Sounds of the Pacific" in Eamonn Andrews Studios in Henry Street, Dublin on two track machines! Jack Bayle (Trombone) did the arrangements with the addition of some of the great players of the time (Benny McNeill and Davy Martin - Trumpets - I think that members of the concert orchestra were used for the string parts) and the band had to play everything without any drop ins - the vocals were then recorded. We also recorded a live show in the 17 Club in O'Connell St. with Brendan Balfe who was keen to get the band to play some original material (Peter Law wrote a few original songs which we recorded) A Late Late Show appearance (medley of songs) before the band emigrated to Canada

During 1969, the band continued to play and release records. In March of 1969, they made their first trip to Canada. Their version of Ruby reached number 14 in the Irish charts. After a flourish of publicity and activity, during 1970, the band's fortunes seemed to slump. They went to Canada during Lent and an article in Spotlight (April 17, 1970) reported on their success overseas. Upon their return, lead singer Peter Law was quoted as saying "We don't want to fall back into a half hearted band. We don't want to be half dead, half alive." 

The Dublin Corporation

Over the next 18 months, the band went to Canada another four times. They did well on the Irish circuit, universities and pub circuit, but had bigger plans ahead. The tide of new country bands that rolled on to the scene during late 1969 and 1970 seemed to push them (and some of the lesser known pop showbands) out of the top twenty showband ratings. Finally, in early 1971 the band made the bold move of changing their name to The Dublin Corporation and heading off to Canada for a six month tour. In an interview, Dave Murphy said they actually made the decision to emigrate, so we're not quite sure what the actual plan was at that time. 

They recorded a single, Melting Pot, which was not released in Ireland, but only in Canada. In the February 6-13, 1971 issue of Spotlight, Peter Law said, "We never expected Melting Pot to be as successful as this. It wasn't the first time we had released a record in Canada, but what we brought out as the Pacific didn't do a thing for us." Hence the name change. A little later, they released a cover version of the Marmalade hit, Cousin Norman, which was renamed Come and Join Us. The record climbed to Number 17 on Canada's Adult Contemporary Playlist in October, 1972 (www.collectionscanada.gc.ca).   

By 1972, the band had joined the Big 8 as one of several Irish showbands now playing in Las Vegas. They did a stint at the famous Sahara Hotel. Permanently based in Toronto, the band continued to do well, especially among the Irish Halls, but soon they were a major attraction across Canada, appearing on Canadian TV and drawing large crowds to their shows.

We are researching the rest of the band's history, but as they were now based in Canada, a detailed history is beyond the scope of our website. The Dublin Corporation continued to be a moderately successful pop band in Canada, although they continued to play Irish tunes as well. We understand they eventually moved to Kitchener, Ontario, Canada and called it quits in the early 1980's.    

Hopefully more to come.....    

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

Sonny Knowles-50's The Pacific (SM) Pacific Showband (BS) Sonny Knowles (BS) Pacific Showband (LR)
Pacific (PL) Pacific (PL) Pacific Showband (LR) Pacific Showband (JB) Sonny and Sean (LR)
Pacific Showband (PB) Pacific - 1967 Pacific Showband Sean & Sonny - 1966 Pacific Showband (BF)
Sean Fagan - 1967 Peter Law - 1968 May, 1968 Peter Law (DD) Pacific Showband
Peter Law - 1968 Peter Law - 1968 Peter Law - 1968 Pacific (LR) Peter Law - 1968
New Pacific - 1968 Pacific New Pacific - 1968 Peter Law - 1968 New Pacific - 1968
Peter Law - 1968 New Pacific - 1968 Sean Fagan - 1968 Peter Law - 1968 Peter Law - 1968
Peter Law - 1968 Pacific - 1968 Pacific - 1969 Advert - June, 1969 Peter Law - 1969
Pacific - 1969 Pacific - 1969 Pacific - 1969 Peter Law - 1969 Pacific - 1970
Pacific - 1970 Dublin Corp. - 1971 Dublin Corp. - 1971 Dublin Corp. - 1971 Dublin Corp. - 1972
   
Dublin Corp. - 1972 Dublin Corp. - 1972 Pacific    
         
Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon
Years Vocals Sax/Vocals Guitar Bass Drums Trumpet Trombone Sax
1962 Sean
Fagan
Sonny
Knowles
Jimmy
Dumpleton
Harry
Parker
Marty
Fanning
Freddie
Martin
Shay
Curran
 
1966 Sean
Fagan
Sonny
Knowles
Paul
Keogh
Harry
Parker
Marty
Fanning
Freddie
Martin
Shay
Curran
 
1968 Sean
Fagan
Peter
Law
Paul
Keogh
Harry
Parker
Marty
Fanning
Austin
Halpin
Shay
Curran
Jimmy
Malone
Late
1968
Sean
Fagan
Peter
Law
David
Murphy
Harry
Parker
Marty
Fanning
Austin
Halpin
Shay
Curran
Paddy
Reynolds

In 1971 the band changed its name to The Dublin Corporation and emigrated to Canada

1972 Sean
Fagan
Peter
Law
David
Murphy
Harry
Parker
Marty
Fanning
Austin
Halpin
Shay
Curran
Paddy
Reynolds
1972 Sean
Fagan
Stuart
McDonald
David
Murphy
Harry
Parker
Marty
Fanning
Austin
Halpin
Shay
Curran
Paddy
Reynolds
1973 Sean
Fagan
Mick
Roche
David
Murphy
Harry
Parker
Marty
Fanning
Austin
Halpin
Shay
Curran
Paddy
Reynolds
1974 Sean
Fagan
Mick
Roche
Dermot
Woodful
Harry
Parker
Marty
Fanning
Tom
Bourke
Shay
Curran
Paddy
Reynolds
1975 Sean
Fagan
Mick
Roche
Dermot
Woodful
Harry
Parker
Marty
Fanning
Mick
Nolan
Shay
Curran
Paddy
Reynolds
      Gerry
Lynch
         

Discography

She Wears My Ring / Stand Beside Me (featuring Sean Fagan) - #3 Irish Charts
Pye Records - 7N.15675 - August, 1964
Distant Drums /
Photograph To The Wall (featuring Sean Fagan) - #5 Irish Charts
Pye Records - 7N.15728 - November, 1964
No One Will Ever Know / If You Knew (featuring Sonny Knowles)
- #5 Irish Charts
Pye Record - 7N.15780 - February, 1965
What's The Use
/ Do What I Want You To (featuring Sean Fagan)
Pye Records - 7N.15822 - May, 1965
We Could / When The Swallows Come Back to Capistrano (featuring Sonny Knowles) - #6 Irish Charts
Pye Records - 7N.15903 - June, 1965
This Time / Just To Satisfy You (featuring Sean Fagan)
Pye Records - 7N.17002 - October, 1965
No One Knows / Menace from Ennis (featuring Sonny Knowles) - #3 Irish Charts
Pye Records - 7N.17115 - May, 1966
I Only Came To Dance With You / Sleepless Nights (featuring Sonny & Sean)
Pye Records - 7N.17165 - August, 1966
The Dublin Fusiliers / Edelweiss (featuring Sonny Knowles)
Pye Records - 7N.17226 - January, 1967
For He's A Jolly Good Fellow / She Still Thinks I Care (featuring Sean Fagan)
Tribune Records - TRS.106 - July, 1967
My Jenny / Since  Don't Have You (featuring Sean Fagan)
Tribune Records - TRS.110 - September, 1967
My Lovely Rose and You / 'll Remember You (featuring Sean Fagan) - #7 Irish Charts
Tribune Records - TRS.124 - December, 1968
The Long Black Veil / You'll Never Get The Chance Again (featuring Peter Law)
Major Minor Records - MM.545 - January, 1968
Remains To Be Seen /  (featuring Sean Fagan)
Tribune Records - Unknown - March, 1969
Sunday Drive / My Mother's Eyes (featuring Peter Law)
Tribune Records - TRS.128 - June, 1969
Ruby / Red Sails In The Sunset (featuring Peter Law) - #16 Irish Charts
Tribune Records - TRS.131 - August, 1969
Mama's Waiting / Rollin' Common (featuring Peter Law)
Tribune Records - TRS.140 - January, 1970
Melting Pot / Rolling Common (as the Dublin Corporation released only in Canada)
Franklin Records - FR 643 - 1971 (our thanks to Vic Gaggini for this label info)
Come and Join Us / Truckin' (aka "Cousin Norman" as the Dublin Corporation only in Canada) - #17 Canada's Adult Cont. Chart
Yorkville Records - YORK.45067 - October, 1972

More to come...

Audio Clips

   
She Wears My Ring #3 Just to Satisfy You Distant Drums #5    

Where Are They Now?  

Sonny Knowles: Sonny left the band in 1968 and joined Dermot O'Brien's Clubmen. He later pursued a solo career on the growing cabaret circuit and became one of Ireland's most enduring entertainers. In the 2000's Sonny faced two bouts of cancer (prostrate and ashophyen) and survived both, releasing a best selling collection of his greatest hits in 2007.   
Sean Fagan: Sean went out to Canada with the Dublin Corporation and we received an email recently from Sam McCarrison informing us that Sean still lives in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. A quick update from Eugene O'Neill that he bumped into Sean and his wife in Kitchener in March, 2012 and they are living in Waterloo, Ontario. If you know more, please let us know.
Jimmy Dumpleton:  We understand from his grand daughter, Danielle, that Jimmy lives in Dublin today. If you know more, please let us know.
Harry Parker:  We received an email from Harry's wife, Anita , in January, 2013 telling us they have been married for 26 years and that they live in London, Ontario, Canada. If you know more, please let us know.
Marty Fanning:   If you know more, please let us know.
Freddie Martin:   If you know more, please let us know.
Shay Curran:   If you know more, please let us know.
Paul Keogh:   If you know more, please let us know.
Peter Law:  Our thanks to Vincent, who wrote to tell us that after living in Canada for some time, Peter is back living in Naas and performs his solo act in the local pubs. If you know more, please let us know.
David Murphy: After a few years in Canada with the Dublin Corporation, David came back to Ireland and joined the
reformed Emmet Spiceland with Brian Byrne, Paul Ashford and Honor Heffernan. He then joined the Dazzle Band which lasted for about five years. A stint with the first Johnny Logan Band which folded soon after winning his first Eurovision was followed a few years later with the Business featuring Don Baker and he also played at the same time with Bumper to Bumper. Then he joined Mary Coughlan's band
Austin Halpin:   If you know more, please let us know.
Jimmy Malone:   If you know more,  please let us know.
Mick Nolan - RIP:   If you know more,  please let us know.
Tom Bourke:   If you know more,  please let us know.
Dermot Woodful - RIP:   Sadly, we understand from David Murphy, that after joining the band, Dermot died in a car accident in Canada around 1975. However, we also have a report from Martin Branigan than he died in the early
1990's.
Stuart Smith:   If you know more,  please let us know.
Mick Roche:   If you know more,  please let us know.

 

 

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2002-2014 GMS Productions

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