By Angela Osborne, Galbally
I refer in the heading, of course, to Brendan Bowyer, singer and musician, who passed away in his adopted Las Vegas on May 28th last. Brendan is a true legend and was leader of the Royal Showband.
When TJ Byrne, their manager to be, persuaded seven young talented musicians from Waterford in the late 1950s, to form a band, there began a new era in Ireland – that of the showbands! There followed the Miami, Capitol, etc.
Brendan is renowned for such hits as ‘Hucklebuck’, ‘I Ran All The Way Home’ etc. He never forgot that Jimmy Magee was the first to play a Royal’s number on Radio Eireann, as the station was then called.
Fr Brian D’Arcy knew Brendan for 50 years. They remained great friends, later by phone; Brendan always enquiring how the industry was at home, because at heart, he was always a true Irishman.
There is a story about the Beatles and the Waterford men. The Deisies were playing in Liverpool in 1962 when the supporting group were The Beatles. The Liverpudlians were awe-struck by the Royals, not having heard anything like them before. Lennon and McCartney asked Brendan for advice. “Stick to singing yer own songs”, Brendan said. “I prefer when ye use yer own material.” And a year later, The Beatles were the greatest group in the world!
Brendan’s family assured Fr Brian that since he was unable to officiate at Brendan’s funeral, because of the lockdown, that his ashes would be brought home. Fr Brian said, “Hopefully, by then, we’ll all be able to gather and give the great man the send off he truly deserves!”