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Tina Reynolds

Bands: Tophatters • Mexicans • Real McCoy • Nevada • Solo cabaret

Tina Reynolds is one of the best known female vocalists to come out of Ireland. Her real name was Philomena Quinn and she was born with Tuberculosis in Greystones, County Wicklow. Separated from her family at birth, Tina left the hospital when she was four years old and because her mother was too ill to care for her, she was sent to an orphanage with her sister.

Finally when Tina was nine, her mother was well enough to care for her and she went home to Greystones. Along with her family, she went to England in 1963 for her sister's wedding. Again, her mother became ill and shortly after passed away and the young teenager decided to stay with her sister and got work as a telephonist. Having grown up singing, she got her real start in the business when, at the age of sixteen, she won a talent contest at Butlins, Skegness. When her win was reported in the Wicklow People back home, Tom Cranny, manager of The Mexicans, sent her a telegram, asking if she was interested in joining a showband.

She didn't hesitate and quit her job to return to Ireland. She immediately adopted the stage name, Tina, and started her career with The Mexicans Showband.  Tina's life would change when drummer Desi Reynolds joined the Mexicans. They fell in love, but Tom Cranny suggested they wait before getting married. Tina was 17 and Desi only 15.  After four years traveling with the Mexicans Tina learn everything she could about the business. After the tragic death of Tom Cranny in 1968, the Mexicans broke up and Tina and Desi joined Jim Farley's big band, The Tophatters, the resident band in the Top Hat Ballroom. In an era when most of the lead singers were men, Tina was one of the few women to shine.  

In 1969, Tina joined The Real McCoy, one of the first "pop" bands to break through on the Irish ballroom circuit. Their up tempo, danceable pop music, combined with Tina's excellent voice and good looks, made the band a favorite with punters. Tina had her first hit record in 1971 when they recorded, "I Don't Know How To Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar. The record hit number one in the Irish charts and helped make Tina a household name. The band followed up with two more charts singles in 1972 and 1973 (see below). 

In 1972, Tina had her first shot at the National Song Contest singing, Don't Need Your Sympathy, but tied for third behind Sandie Jones who sang the Irish language number, Ceol an ghrá.  

In June, 1973, Tina's career was set back when she was seriously injured in a road accident on the outskirts of Portlaoise on the way home from a gig, along with several other members of the Real McCoy. Her injuries were so severe, it took almost a year for her to fully recover and she did not return to the Real McCoy.

In October, 1973, it was reported in Spotlight that Tina had fully recovered from her injuries and was on holidays in Spain before she would return to cabaret, as well as being selected to sing all of Ireland's 1974 National Song Contest entries for Eurovision. The winner was "Cross Your Heart," written by Chips front man, Paul Lyttle. Unfortunately, this was the same year ABBA was to break all Eurovision records with their world wide hit, "Waterloo."

Sadly, Tina's marriage to Desi broke up just a month after Eurovision and the couple split. However, the international exposure proved Tina could hold her own with any female vocalist and shortly after returning from Luxembourg, she was asked to join top pop showband, The Nevada in late 1974, replacing Kelly, who split from the band around the same time Red Hurley went his own way as well. As an aside, Red would represent Ireland at Eurovision two years later in 1976 with the song, "When."

Also joining The Nevada and replacing Red Hurley was Glen Curtin, popular vocalist from Cork with The New Blues. Together, Tina and Glen more than matched the star quality of their predecessors, and The Nevada continued to enjoy success from one end of the country to the other. In 1976, Tina released I'll Do It All Again which spent eighteen weeks in the Irish charts peaking at number three. 

In February, 1976, fate dealt another severe blow to Tina when she was injured in yet another accident, this time returning from a gig in the Seapoint Ballroom in Salthill, Galway with the Nevada. It took Tina many months to recuperate from her injuries and when she finally healed, she returned to the Nevada. During this time she shared the spotlight with two more male singers, Ronnie Medford and Roy Taylor. Finally, in 1978, Tina announced her "retirement" from the showband scene. No longer wanting to be away from home, not to mention the hassles of traveling up and down the country, Tina switched her focus to a career on the Dublin cabaret scene and family life. In leaving the band scene, an interesting side note is that her replacement in the Nevada was mistakenly reported in Spotlight to be Kim Newport.

In 1979, Tina was once again a part of the Eurovision contest when she sang Hiding Behind Our Smile with Red Hurley in the National Song Contest, but they came in last and it was Tina's final foray into the contest. Although retired from the showband scene, Tina continued to sing in cabaret and various functions for several years, but retired after a relatively short time. However, over the fourteen year period she spent on the showband scene, Tina was one of the country's first and best loved female stars. At the same time, her career also highlighted some of the dangers associated with life in an Irish showband.   

Photo Gallery

click on thumbnails for full image

16 year old Tina with The Mexicans Tina and the Mexicans release Que Sera Sera Tina - 1968 Tina - 1968 Tina - 1968**
Tina - 1969 Tina with Jim Farley's Tophatters. Tina moves over to the Real McCoy Tina - 1971 Tina - 1971
Tina - 1971 Tina - 1972 Tina - 1972 Tina - 1972 Tina - 1972
Tina - 1972 Tina - 1972 Tina - 1972 Tina - 1972 Tina - 1972
Tina - 1972 Tina - 1972 Tina - 1972 Tina - 1972 Tina - 1972
Tina - 1973 Tina - 1973 Tina - 1973 Tina joins the Nevada in 1974 Tina competes with ABBA, Eurovision '74.
Tina - 1974 Tina - 1974 Tina - 1974 Tina - 1974 Tina - 1974
Tina - 1974 Tina - 1974 Tina - 1974 Tina - 1974 Tina - 1974
Tina - 1974 Tina - 1975 Tina - 1975 Tina - 1975 Tina's last showband lineup  1978
Tina Tina - 1978 Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon
Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon Coming Soon
Tina & The Nevada - 1977 A - Real McCoy B - Real McCoy Coming Soon Coming Soon


I Won't Marry Him / Just Hang On (Tina with the Mexicans) - Our thanks to Tommy Hayes
Pye Records - 7N.17283 - March, 1967
One Love Two / Longing To Hold You (Tina with the Mexicans)
Pye Records - 7N.17525 - April, 1968

Que Sera Sera (Tina with the Mexicans)
Target Records - Unknown - October, 1970
I Don't Know How To Love Him / Rip It Up (Tina with the Real McCoy) - #1 Irish Charts
Ruby Records - RUB 142 - November, 1971
Tell Me What's The Matter / It's Really Over (Tina with the Real McCoy) - #15 Irish Charts
Play Records - PLAY 026 - June, 1972
When Morning Has Come / It's Really Over (Tina with the Real McCoy) - #20 Irish Charts
Polydor Records - 2078 027 - March, 1973

What About Me / Can't Live With You, Can't Live Without You (Tina with the Real McCoy) 
Polydor Records - 2078 033 - May, 1973
Cross Your Heart / What Would I Be (Tina with the Nevada) - #1 Irish Charts
Polydor Records - 2058 449 - March, 1974 Eurovision entry
C'est Ca Ma Chanson (Tina with the Nevada)
Polydor Records - Unknown - September, 1974
All Through The Night (Tina with Glen Curtin & The Nevada) - #20 Irish Charts
Polydor Records - 2078053 -  January, 1975
I'll Do It All Again / Tell Me What's The Matter (Tina with The Nevada) - #3 Irish Charts
Release Records - RL.848 - October, 1976
All My Life / Where Are You (Tina with The Nevada)
Release Records - RL.888 - 1977
Viva L'Amour / Who Was That Lady (Tina with The Nevada)
Release Records - RL.944 - November, 1978

Our thanks to Catherine Dovonan for supplying some of the info for this article. 


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