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And Then There Were None

By Gerry Gallagher 25th April, 2010

A few months ago, depending on how you calculate decades, we either ended or started the final year of the first decade of the new Millennium. Increasingly, the emails we get here at the website are informing us of the passing of yet another musician from the showband era. Visitors to our Guestbook have commented on how sad it is to see the names on our "In Memory" pages, and list grows longer daily.   

In the past couple of years we have said farewell to some of the biggest names of the era: Joe Dolan, Dermot O'Brien, Dave Glover, Brendan O'Brien, and many more. It is hard to believe that 1960 was a half century ago and anyone who was on stage when the showband boom started in the late fifties is now in their seventies. It is inevitable that one day, there will be no showband musicians left.

So what is the point to this "doom and gloom" article?

It's simple...we need to appreciate those musicians from the era that are still with us for as long as we can. Artists like Dickie Rock, Brendan Bowyer, Larry Cunningham, Big Tom and Brian Coll are still touring. Thankfully, some of the younger artists on the scene like Mike Denver, Patrick Feeney and Louise Morrissey have teamed up with the stars of yesterday from time to time, bringing the best of today and yesterday to a new audience. Additionally, several "reunion" tours are making the rounds featuring acts like the Swarbriggs, The Champions, the Miami, and many more.                 

David Hull, promoter of the "Do You Come Here Often" shows has told me this year's show will be their last. After a run of fourteen years, he feels it is time is right to end the shows. Hopefully someone else will take up the cause and continue to present the stars of yesterday to new audiences and old fans alike.

As it is, live music in Ireland faces an uphill battle, as there are fewer and fewer venues where musicians can play. One of the last places to see live music is in the theaters, where Irish showband musicians have to compete with drama, dance, tribute acts and theatrical productions (and in some cases, international artists) for the public's attention and ticket sales.

What can you do about it?

If you were a regular dancer and a fan of the showbands from the 60's, 70's or 80's and you see one of these acts getting together, such as the reformed Miami or The Champions, please support them and bring your children, even if they are all grown up. Perhaps they will discover just a little piece of the magic that was the era, when Ireland's ballrooms were alive with the sound of music.

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