12 October-Brendan Bowyer

Brendan Bowyer, singer and star of the Showband era, is a native of Waterford City Ireland. As lead singer with the Royal Showband he became the first Irish artist to reach number one in the Irish singles chart with the song ‘Kiss Me Quick’ on September 6th 1963. During the 1960’s Bowyer and the Royal showband went on to have several number one hits In Ireland.

Brendan Bowyer was born at St Otteran’s Terrace in Waterford City. He is the only son of parents who were involved in music. His father was a church choir conductor and Brendan performed with the choir. After he completed his education he worked as a clerk in Waterford City. He also played the trombone with a band called the Rhythm Kings. Bowyer joined the Royal Showband in 1957, which was managed by T J Byrne from Upper Tullow Street, Carlow. During the following decade the band, with Brendan Bowyer as the lead singer, became the most popular band in Ireland.

On stage Bowyer became known for his energetic and acrobatic performances. He succeeded in adapting American rock and roll music to suit to the Irish music scene of the time. Dance music together with pop, rock and roll and country music of the time were performed by Bowyer and the band. As their popularity grew they played in large venues all over Ireland and toured with success in Britain, the United States and Canada.

By 1962 Brendan Bowyer and the Royal Showband were so successful that The Beatles were the supporting act for them at the Liverpool Empire Theatre. On the poster advertising the concert The Beatles were called ‘Liverpool’s own beat group’. With the Royal Showband, Bowyer had his most successful hit in 1965 with ‘The Hucklebuck’.

In 1966 the Royal Showband played at a venue in Las Vegas, Nevada for a four week period. This led to the band performing in Las Vegas for up to six months each year during the following years. In 1970 Brendan Bowyer and another band member Tom Dunphy left to form a new band called the ‘Big 8’. With the new band Bowyer spent six months each year performing in Las Vegas and toured Ireland during the summer months. After a few years however he moved permanently to Las Vegas. He has been based there ever since.

In more recent years Bowyer has returned to give performances in Ireland with his daughter Aisling Bowyer. Their performances consists of mixture of hits from his showband era together with contemporary songs and concert hits. During the Tall Ships Festival in Waterford in 2005 they performed at an open air concert for an estimated audience of 12,000 people. Brendan continues to perform and his latest album, ‘On Higher Ground’ is currently on release.

Brendan Bowyer was born in the year 1938 On This Day.

Brendan Bowyer by Colm Lambert

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