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Platters Showband / Plattermen (1964-present)

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

The Story

Although there have been literally thousands of bands, showbands, and country groups in Ireland, very few get to enjoy the kind of success reserved only for the very best...even rarer is it happening twice to the same band, but in different genres. The Plattermen were just such an enigma. Starting out in their native Omagh, they would go on to have one of the most interesting histories in Irish entertainment. Even more interesting, perhaps, is the near legendary status the band achieved in Ireland, but they never had a record make the Irish Charts at any time in their history...country, pop or rock!

Friends at the Christian Brothers School in Omagh, Ray Moore, Leo Doran, Billy McGinty, and Pat Chesters formed a band to play local dances in the late 1950's. It wasn't long before they wanted to try their hand at becoming a showband. In 1960, they formed the Platters Paramount Showband. From its inception, the group was different--heavy on the brass (they had no separate keyboard player, although Ray Moore played organ and piano) and a yodeling country lead singer. When the boys expanded, the new lineup was: Brian Coll (vocals), Pat Chesters (sax), Leo Doran (sax), Billy McGinty (trombone), Ray Moore (trumpet), Johnny Murphy (drums), Arty McGlynn (guitar), Sean Hamilton (bass) and Aidan O'Neill (vocals-our thanks to Brian McCaul for Aidan's info). 

In 1962, Brian had to leave the band due to ill health and was replaced by Dave Thornton. Dave went on to the cabaret scene in Belfast. Brian came back to the band in 1963. Aidan left the band in 1964 when an operation left him deaf in one ear and he left the business. A Spotlight article in March, 1968 reported that Johnny Murphy from Ballymena joined the band and was dubbed "comedian supreme" by the band. The boys also soon had to change their name to avoid confusion with the American Platters and became simply The Plattermen. All this happened in the early 60's.

Once together again, Brian and the band went from strength to strength. Their first single, "Kathleen," provided the impetus they needed to start pulling in the punters in the ballrooms. Interestingly, as the Plattermen's (and Brian Coll's) reputation got bigger and better, the band continued to release singles....but they never had a record in the Irish charts. Definitely one of the biggest bands in the North, slowly the Plattermen and their lead singer gained a foothold in the southern ballroom circuit. Other than Brian, from their start to 1967, there were no changes in the lineup. (3-23-68)

Plattermen Stage 2

Around June, 1967, there were two lineup changes that would alter history. Sean Hamilton left the band and was replaced by Rob(bie) Strong, who had been with Frankie McBride and the Polka Dots (the first band Brian had sang with). Additionally, Arty McGlynn decided he had enough of the showband life and was replaced by guitarist, Alan McCartney.

The new lineup created a new set of problems for the band. The strong brass arrangements of Pat and the boys, coupled with the strong rock vocals Rob brought to the band started a move in a new direction. In the end, in 1968 when Brian Coll left to form The Buckaroos (who would later be rejoined by Arty McGlynn after he spent four years on the sidelines) manager Jim Aiken decided it was time to make a major change. In July, 1968, the band announced the addition of Simon Scott, a singer with Maltese ancestry who had come from Britain to join the Dave Glover Band only a few months previously, was drafted by the band. Simon sang ballads and pop and with Brian gone, there would be no more country and no more yodeling. It was straight ahead pop, rock and blues, with Blood, Sweat and Tears-style horn riffs bringing the band charging into the seventies. In February, 1969, the band added Ivan Laybourne on keyboards and Gerry McIlduff on drums, to provide the hard driving beat they would need for their pop/rock programme.

During 1970, the Plattermen moved towards what they called a more "progressive" sound and the punters seemed to like it. In 1971, Ivan left the band to join The Freshmen, replacing Billy Brown who left to start a solo career (although he would return to The Freshmen later in the 1970's.) John Trotter was brought in on trombone (he could also play keyboards and fiddle) making his debut January 4, 1971. The moved helped consolidate the band's new heavy brass sound. In an ad in Spotlight magazine that same week, the Plattermen announced, "In '71 We're Goin' Kinda Heavy." The band continued to move towards heavier rock music. Anyone who heard the Plattermen for the first time in 1972, would have found it hard to believe that just a few years earlier, they were backing country crooner, Brian Coll! An article in Spotlight in August, 1972 mentioned that Frankie McBride had been in the band, and we assume this was after the departure of Brian Coll, but we cannot pinpoint the dates Frankie may have been with the Plattermen.

In 1972, the band released it's first album, Old Devil Wine, a 14 song collection of which only three tracks were not written by the band. The album was recorded in Trend and Eamon Andrews studios in Dublin and released in Ireland to great critical acclaim. It also carried the label "File under Rock" for those shop owners who may have thought Brian Coll was still with the band. In 1973 under then manager John McGovern, the band made an assault on the British charts releasing the song, "Rock Off," under the name "Hammer," but didn't really get very far. However, they did appear on the RTE program "The Musicmakers." A note in the August 16th issue of Spotlight's "Insight" column mentioned Noel Bridgeman had permanently replaced Gerry McIlduff as the band's drummer. Noel had just come off a short stint with the Gentry at the time.

In June of 1972 the band announced a "new" stage show which would feature a greater variety of music and more vocals from the rest of the band. "Afro-rock is out," said manager John McGovern, adding "it was good while it lasted. The article in Spotlight announced that although Rob Strong and Simon Scott would remain the man\in singers in the band, fiddler John Trotter would be singing country blues and playing the piano, guitarist Alan McCartney would be handling numbers by bands like the Stones and Grateful Dead, Gerry McIlduff would be singing some "hard rock" like Creedence Clearwater Revival.  

As 1974 started, things were not going well for the band, John Trotter was out of action due to illness and Phillip Donnelly came in on a temporary basis. Within weeks lead guitarist Alan McCartney quit the band and rather than replace him, they offered the job to Phillip. Just a few weeks later, in April, Simon Scott announced he was leaving the band as well to go into cabaret, however we think he ended up fronting "IOndians" knock off band, The Apaches. Bennie White joined on lead vocals from Elmer Fudd replacing Simon. Unfortunately for many lovers of the band, by late 1974 the second phase of The Plattermen was at an end. For six years, they had been one of the hardest driving pop and rock influences on the Irish scene.

Plattermen, Stage 3

A note in "Julie's Scene" in the September 19, 1974 issue of Spotlight reported that Rob Strong, Phillip Donnelly and Noel Bridgemen were quitting the band. In actual fact, the band was splitting up. Rob Strong left to form a new band, The Rob Strong Band (he would eventually join Ray Doherty's Las Vegas, which would feature Kelley, formerly of the Nevada and Big Eight.) The new "supergroup" also included Noel Bridgeman (Skid Row, Plattermen - drums), Pat O'Farrell (Plattermen - guitar), Phillip Donnelly (Elmer Fudd, Gary Moore, Plattermen - guitar), and James Delaney (Dave Prim band - keyboards)

As for the rest of the band, Ray Moore joined Paddy Cole's new band after Paddy left the Big Eight, and Pat Chesters stepped into Paddy's vacated role with the Big Eight. John Trotter joined Sean Gallagher's band, Stampede. Simon Scott, who had left the band earlier in the year ended up singing as "Big Chief" with the Apaches, a knock off band of the Indians. Bennie White would end up fronting the Times along with Maggie Maye.

In the October 24, 1974 issue of Spotlight, the "New Plattermen" were launched with none of the previous band members in the lineup. The new lineup included, Michael Corey, Brian Corey, Anne Corey, Richard Blake, Don McElwaine, Paul Newman and Davey WIlson. It looks like this incarnation of the band lasted only a few months as in May, 1975 the band was "relaunched" with lead singer Willie Loughrey along with brothers Jackie (bass), Danny (drums) and Seamus (guitar) McConnell. The Spotlight article also reported that most of the band were former members of the well know Northern group Stack. Apparently, this incarnation of the band also didn't last very long. In May, 1975, another blurb in Spotlight announced that the band was planning their first single. More to come...      

Plattermen, Stage 4

In 1977, Willie Loughrey from Newtownstewart was trying to put a band on the road and approached the management of the Plattermen to again use the name. Since the band had been off the road for several years and its members scattered across the ballroom landscape, they agreed. Willie assumed the stage name, Rock Stewart, and in the following years, he and the band have entertained and shocked audiences with some outrageous shows. Following in the footsteps of David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and other glam rockers, Willie devised a series of themes in the form of famous notorious characters such as Dracula, Frankenstein and Rasputin with costumes that could have come from a Hollywood studio. 

One of his signature entrances was being carried onstage in a coffin, only to emerge as Dracula or some other ghoulish character. Legend has it that his "zany performances" (Willie's words from a 2002 article in the Derry Journal) weren't always appreciated and stories still circulate about a night when Willie was pulled from the stage by an audience that thought his entrance as a skeleton was a poke at the H-Block hunger strikers. What cannot be denied is the fact that the band continues to play to this day. 

So from its beginning as a showband/country outfit featuring, Brian Coll, one of Ireland's top stars of the genre, to ten years as a sweaty rock and blues outfit under the legendary Rob Strong and Simon Scott, and finally with the name sold to another artist who has spanned a further twenty five years plus history as a theatrical band highlighting the sometimes outrageous performances by Rock Stewart, the name of the Plattermen lives on. 

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

Platters Showband (LR) Platters Showband Platters Showband (LR) Platters (PL) Platters (PL)
Platters (PL) Platters (PL) Plattermen (PL) Plattermen (BS) Plattermen (BS)
The Plattermen - 1965 Platermen Showband (PB) The Plattermen - 1966 Plattermen - 1966 Alan and Rob circa 1967
Plattermen - 1967 (LR) Brian Coll (LR) Pat Chesters (LR) Rob Strong (LR) Johnny Murphy (LR)
Leo Doran (LR) Alan McCartney (LR) Billy McGinty (LR) Ray Moore (LR) Brian Coll (LR)
Brian Coll - 1965 Article - 1965 Brian Coll - 1966 Ray Moore

Plattermen - 1968

Brian Coll - 1967 Brian Coll - 1968

Plattermen - 1968

Plattermen - 1968

Plattermen - 1968

Plattermen - 1968 (BA) Plattermen (LR)

Plattermen - 1969

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Plattermen - 1969

Plattermen - 1967

Plattermen - 1969

Plattermen - 1970

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Plattermen - 1970

Plattermen - 1970

Plattermen - 1970

Plattermen - 1970

Rob Strong - 1970

Plattermen - 1970

Plattermen - 1971 Plattermen - 1971 Rob Strong - 1971 Rob Strong - 1971 Rob Strong - 1971
Plattermen - 1971 (KS) Plattermen - 1971

Plattermen - 1971

Plattermen - 1971

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Plattermen - 1971

Plattermen - 1971

Plattermen - 1971

Plattermen - 1971

Plattermen - 1971

The Plattermen - 1972 Simon Scott - 1972 Rob Strong - 1972

Plattermen - 1972

Plattermen - 1972

John Trotter - 1972

Rob Strong - 1972 Plattermen - 1972

Plattermen - 1972

Plattermen - 1972

Plattermen - 1972

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Plattermen - 1974 (LR)

Plattermen - 1974

Rock Stewart of the Plattermen (PH) Rob Strong & Las Vegas (BK)

Plattermen - 1960's

Plattermen

Simon Scott-1968 Rob Strong - 1970 Simon Scott-1968
Rob Strong - 1970 Rob Strong - 1970 Rob Strong - 1967 Plattermen (PL) Plattermen (PL)
         
Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon
Record Sleeves
 
A - Plattermen - 1970 B - Plattermen - 1970 Old Devil Wine 1972 Old Devil Wine 1972 Coming Soon

Lineup Changes
 

Years Vocals Guitar Bass Drums Sax Vcls/Keys Trpt/Organ Sax Trombone
1960 Brian
Coll
Arty
McGlynn
Sean
Hamilton
Johnny
Murphy
Leo
Doran
Aidan
O'Neill
Ray
Moore
Pat
Chesters
Billy
McGinty
1962 Dave
Thornton
Arty
McGlynn
Sean
Hamilton
Johnny
Murphy
Leo
Doran
Aidan
O'Neill
Ray
Moore
Pat
Chesters
Billy
McGinty
1963 Brian
Coll 
Arty
McGlynn
Sean
Hamilton
Johnny
Murphy
Leo
Doran
Dave
Thornton
Ray
Moore
Pat
Chesters
Billy
McGinty
1967 Brian
Coll 
Alan
McCartney
Rob
Strong
Johnny
Murphy
Leo
Doran
  Ray
Moore
Pat
Chesters
Billy
McGinty
1968 Simon
Scott
Alan
McCartney
Rob
Strong
Gerry
McIlduff
  Ivan
Laybourne
Ray
Moore
Pat
Chesters
 
Feb
1971
Simon
Scott
Alan
McCartney
Rob
Strong
Gerry
McIlduff
  Ivan
Laybourne
Ray
Moore
Pat
Chesters
John
Trotter
Late
1973
Simon
Scott
Alan
McCartney
Rob
Strong
Noel
Bridgeman
Phillip
Donnelly
  Ray
Moore
Pat
Chesters
John
Trotter
March
1974
Simon
Scott
Phillip
Donnelly
Rob
Strong
Noel
Bridgeman
    Ray
Moore
Pat
Chesters
John
Trotter
April
1974
Bennie
White
Phillip
Donnelly
Rob
Strong
Noel
Bridgeman
    Ray
Moore
Pat
Chesters
John
Trotter
May
1975
Willie
Loughrey
Seamus
McConnell
Jackie
McConnell
Danny
McConnell
? ? ? ?

Discography:

Singles:

I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen / I'm In Love Again (Brian Coll)
Emerald Records - MD 1022 - 1965
Ireland Swings / I Ain't Cryin Mister (Brian Coll)
Emerald Records - MD 1030 - 1966
Shake / I Got To Know (Kingsize Hamilton)
Emerald Records - MD 1048 - 1966
I'll Never Take You Back Again / My Alice Fair (Brian Coll)
Emerald Records - MD 1055 - 1966
The Blazing Star of Athenry / Banks of my Own Lovely Lee (Brian Coll)
Emerald Records - MD 1057 - 1966
We'll Go To The Moon For Christmas / Cattle Call (Brian Coll)
Emerald Records - MD 1062 - 1966
Just Out Of Reach / Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms (Brian Coll)
Emerald Records - MD 1071 - 1967
Life Turned Her That Way / Mary, Claire, Melvina, Rebecca, Jane (Brian Coll)
Emerald Records - MD 1085 - 1967
Walk On By / Whatever Makes You Think (Brian Coll)|
Emerald Records - MD 1094 - 1968
Red Red Wine / Yesterday Girl (Simon Scott)
Dolphin Records - DOS 20 - 1969
Yellow Van / Smiling Faces (Simon Scott)
Dolphin Records - DOS 54 - 1969
And When I Die / Or I'll Die (Rob Strong)
Dolphin Records - DOS 65 - 1969

Albums:

Country and Western Favourites
Emerald Records / GES 1035 / 1970
Old Devil Wine
Dolphin Records / DOL 1005 / 1972
Rock Off (under the name Hammer)
 
1979
 

Audio Clips

Coming Soon

Where Are They Now? (Coming Soon)

Coming Soon - please pardon our omissions. 

Brian Coll: Brian has continued to entertain audiences in Ireland and England with his own special brand of country. He most recently has been taking part in the "Do You Come Here Often" concerts sponsored by David Hull Promotions, but can be founding gigging year round across Ireland and the UK. 
Arty McGlynn: After leaving the Plattermen, Arty started to focus his attention on the very different world of Irish traditional music. In 1979 he recorded his first solo album, "McGlynn's Fancy," which was the first recording ever in which the guitar is played in an authentic traditional style, and his reputation was spreading in a new direction. He subsequently became one of the most sought after musicians in the country, playing and recording with the likes of Christy Moore and Paul Brady and played with Planxty, Patrick Street, De Danann and the Van Morrison Band.
Sean Hamilton: RIP Sean sadly passed away July 19, 2003.
Aidan O'Neill: Aidan left the band after an operation left him deaf in one ear and never returned to the showband scene. Today he lives in Omagh and we're told he is still sounding just like Jim Reeves. Our thanks to Brian McCaul for the info.
Johnny Murphy: RIP   Johnny's niece, Sonia Murphy wrote to tell us that Johnny sadly passed away of a heart attack while on holidays in Paris on August 16, 2009. After leaving the band scene, Johnny was involved in the record business, first running Smyths Records in Portadown and Coleraine before opening his own shop, M&L Records in Ballymena. He eventually opened a newsagents and had the franchise for selling tickets for Jim Aiken Promotions. He retired in the late 1990's.
Leo Doran:  If you know more, please let us know.
Ray Moore:  After the Plattermen split up in 1974, Ray joined the Paddy Cole Superstars. He stayed with them until around 1980 when formed a duo with Colm Hughes brother, Tony called Patches. They played as a duo until the mid 90's. In recent years, he has been heavily involved with production, having produced the first two "Do You Come Here Often" concerts. Today he plays often, but mostly keyboards as he gave up playing the trumpet around 1990.    
Pat Chesters:  If you know more, please let us know.
Billy McGinty:  If you know more, please let us know.
Alan McCartney: Alan has continued to play around the North of Ireland and in April 2009, he replaced Johnny Fean in the reformed Miami Showband which is touring Ireland.
Rob Strong: After taking the Plattermen in a totally new direction (pop/rock), Rob left the band in the mid 70's to form Las Vegas where he shared the spotlight for a short time with Kelley (formerly of the Nevada). He also went on to form The Rockets and eventually the Rob Strong Band. Today, Rob is still touring Ireland and recently appeared at the Cork Jazz Festival. He plays all across the country.
Gerry McIlduff - RIP: After leaving the Plattermen, Gerry played with a wide variety of pop and rock bands in Ireland and England including Katmandu, The Pretenders and The Pogues. He was a regular on drums at many blues and jazz festivals across Ireland. Gerry sadly passed away in 2005.
Simon Scott: Simon went on to sing with the Apaches as Big Chief in the late 70's.  If you know more, please let us know.
Benny White: After his year long stint with the Plattermen, Benny joined The Times after the Swarbriggs left to form their own band around 1976. Around 1982, The Times called it quits and Benny tells us he took a break until 1986 when he formed a band with Jimmy Slevin, Greg Donaghy, and Jack Costello called Male Order and played for a short while until Jimmy moved to Germany. Jimmy and Benny had also been part of a recording group called Steal Moon before Male Order. They made two records, "The Mainstream" and "The Landlord." In the 1990's, Benny did a lot of gigging in the United States and Tenerife. These days he plays the odd gig with Terry Merrick (Others) and Maxie McEvoy (Strangers) as well as doing some solo work.
John Trotter:  If you know more, please let us know.
Willie Loughrey:  If you know more, please let us know.
Ivan Laybourne:  If you know more, please let us know.

 

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