Sunday, 08 February 2015 14:54

Brendan Bowyer (Waterford): Irish Heritage Hall of Fame Inductee

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Brendan Bowyer Of Royal Showband & Hucklebuck Fame

In the 1960’s era of Irish showbusiness one showband singer was responsible for the huge popularity of showbands and that all star performer was Brendan Bowyer. He was born into a musical family and singing and music was a natural way of life for Brendan and he became such a huge star fronting The Royal Showband from Waterford, he made his way to America and also found fame in Las Vegas. His first voyage into a band was with ‘The Rhythem Kings’ of Waterford and Brendan built up rave reviews as a trombonist of great talent.


Born on 12th October 1938 in Waterford, 'The Royal Showband' were established on the 22nd September 1957 as a semi pro band and it was Brendan, a 19 year old lead singer, who rapidly became a household name all over Ireland.

The name ‘Royal Showband’ eminated from the very popular ‘Royal Theatre’ in Waterford City. Starting out at Waterford venues in their first year, the first gig for 'The Royal' outside Waterford was at ‘The Olympia Ballroom’ Dublin on St. Patrick’s night 1958.

The band came under the management of a Carlow businessman, T.J. Byrne, in 1958 and ‘The Royal’ made TJ almost as famous as themselves in the Emerald Isle.


In the golden 1960’s era, record after record were smashing into the Irish pop charts throughout his career but it was a song ‘Kiss Me Quick’ that rocketed Brendan and The Royal to fame in 1963.

The Royal made history as the first Irish group to top the Irish singles chart and ‘Kiss Me Quick’ occupied the No.1 slot for 7 weeks.


Also in 1963 another hugely popular song ‘No More’ again reached the No. 1 slot and that was followed up in 1964 with ‘Bless You’. However although by now Ireland’s No. 1 Showband, Brendan and The Royal would reach an all time high with their 1965 release of ‘The Hucklebuck’.

This song also stayed 7 weeks locked at No.1 in the Irish charts and Irsh emigrants in England and America were packing into ballrooms in their thousands to see Brendan Bowyer perform upfront.


Several artists recorded ‘The Hucklebuck’ in America but Brendan Bowyer was the king of the famous hit all through his glittering musical career. In the second decade of the 21st century Brendan is requested to sing ‘The Hucklebuck’ more than any other song he recorded.


Most Irish showbands fragmented after a few years and the lifespan of ‘The Royal’ took in 14 years touring all over Ireland, England and America. In 1971 Brendan and fellow Waterford musician, Tom Dunphy, shocked Irish dancers when they formed a new band called ‘The Big Eight’.


The new band had Brendan as their lead singer and they imported some of Ireland’s finest singers and musicians, including ‘Twink’. They took up residence in Las Vegas for one half of the year and kept in touch with Irish fans for the rest of the year.


Within a short time, Brendan and the band made a decision to relocate to Vegas permanently. He has been based in Las Vegas since then, though he makes frequent trips back to Ireland.

In 1977 he made a brief return to the Irish charts with his tribute "Thank You Elvis."


Brendan Bowyer's status as a Famous Musical Son Of Ireland is unquestionable and in 2015 the Waterford singer can still attrract huge audiences to his Irish shows.

Last modified on Wednesday, 23 September 2020 10:35