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A new book of photographs captures the showband era as never before


10-10-2014 12:00

As Ireland emerged from the dull, grey 1950s, something spectacular happened. In Strabane, County Tyrone, The Clipper Carlton dance band stood up and did a 20-minute show in the middle of the dance, creating as much excitement as Bill Haley and The Comets did when they sang ‘Rock Around the Clock’ in the Theatre Royal. The ‘showband’ was born.

 

In Waterford Brendan Bowyer and The Royal Showband were creating hysteria with fans, for the first time, crossing county and provincial borders to follow their favourite bands.

 

Meanwhile, folk acts such as The Ludlows, Johnny McEvoy and Danny Doyle were drawing huge crowds as ballad sessions blossomed in almost every pub in the land. Telefís Éireann broadcast the hugely popular Showband Show and the national papers all had Dance Correspondents. Then Spotlight Magazine came along and filled the vacuum with a dedicated showbiz magazine.

 

Spotlight photographer Michael O’Reilly captured it all with his camera and in Dancehall Days he shares his best photographs from that heady time. All the big names are here. Wonderfully evocative and a faithful record of how it was in the 1960s, this book is a must have for anyone whose hey-day was spent in the dancehalls of the 1960s.

 

Dancehall Days will be published by Gill Books on Friday 17 October, priced at €29.99.

For further information please contact Teresa Daly, Communications Manager, Gill Books, 01 500 9521, 086 838 3559, tdaly@gill.ie.



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