Stamps celebrate era when Showband was king


Stamps celebrate era when Showband was king

A set of stamps unveiled by An Post today celebrates the golden era when the Showband was king.

The Drifters Showband: This famous midlands band started when two Dolan brothers, Joe and Ben, together with some friends, entered a talent contest and won.   They had a string of hits including ‘The Answer to Everything’. The band went through many line-up changes and Joe became an international star.The set of four 55c stamps feature some of Ireland’s leading groups as representative of the period from the 1950’s to early 70’s when the Irish Showband ruled the domestic music scene. Making an appearance are showband icons The Drifters, The Freshmen, The Miami and The Royal.

During this period, it is estimated that approximately 700 bands were criss-crossing The Freshmen: The Freshmen formed in the early 1960s in Ballymena, Co. Antrim and was fronted by Billy Brown and Derek Dean. They were not the usual Showband which played cover versions of the hits of the day. They mostly wrote their own songs and were noted for their brilliant vocal harmonies. Some of their hits include ‘Go Granny Go’ and ‘Just to See You Smile’.the country on a nightly basis. These showbands enjoyed great success, with many of their songs reaching the Number One spot in the music charts.

Mr Barney Whelan, An Post Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs said: “Irish Stamps speak volumes about the high regard in which their subject is held by this State and by its people.  As these new stamps travel on letters and The Miami Showband: The original Miami showband was formed in 1961. In 1962, Dickie Rock joined the existing members and they became a smash hit across the country.  They had many number one singles including ‘There’s Always Me’ and ‘I’m Yours’. In 1965, the band had three Number One hits. The following year, Dickie represented Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest adding to his popularity. He still performs to this day. parcels throughout this island and abroad, they carry with them our pride, respect, fondness and admiration for the Showband era as whole; and for all those individuals and groups who made it so very special.”

Along with the four bands that feature on the stamps, some of the other well known acts included The Clipper Carlton, The Capitol, The Dixies, The Cadets, The Royal Blues, The Mighty Avons and The Howdowners.

The Royal Showband: This famous band from Waterford formed in 1957 and within two years had turned professional. Brendan Bowyer was the front man and they enjoyed many successes. They were the first Showband to release a single ‘Come Down the Mountain Katy Daly’, the first Irish act to win the Carl Alan Award in Britain, and they travelled to Las Vegas and became the first Irish Showband with international appeal. The stamps were designed by artist Steve Simpson, based on photography by Michael O’Reilly and Seán Magee. They are available from  and from all main post offices, together with two first day covers (FDCs) and a prestige booklet which includes four sets of stamps and memories of the showband era by broadcaster and musician Ronan Collins.