The Royal Showband

Fleetwood Showband
Courtesy of Waterford Museum of Treasures

Waterford had many showbands during the 1960s. including The Savoy, The Derek Joys, The Fleetwoods, The Blue Aces and of course The Royal.

The story of the Royal began in the mid 50s. A group of young men got together to form a band, The band included Michael Coppinger, Tom Dunphy and Brendan Bowyer on trombone and vocals. They called themselves The Royal Showband.

At first they played at local halls throughout the South-East. In 1958 at a dance in the Olympia they met T.J Byrne who offered to become their manager this was the beginning of a very successful partnership.

In 1959 The Royal turned professional. By this time the Royal were playing 5 nights a week and attracting huge crowds. Their first No 1 hit came in 1963. It was a record called 'Kiss Me Quick' it stayed at the top of the charts for seven weeks. It was followed by 6 other number ones plus many other top ten successes.

In 1962 The Royal were supported on one of their British tour dates by an up-and-coming Liverpool band called The Beatles.

The Royal Showband is perhaps best remembered for 'The Hucklebuck' which charted in 1965. They were also the first Irish pop act to make it in Las Vegas. It was here during the 1970s that Brendan caught the eye of Elvis Presley, who made a dream come true for the Waterford man by attending one of the Royal's shows.

By 1968 The Royal were spending 6 months of the year in Las Vegas. The Royal played their last Las Vegas gig in July 1971. Brendan Bowyer and Tom Dunphy then left the Royal and formed The Big 8. The Big 8 continued to play in Las Vegas.

The reign of The Royal Showband was over but what wonderful memories they left behind.

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