12 October 1938|
|Genres||Rock 'n' roll|
|Associated acts||The Royal Showband, The Big Eight|
Brendan Bowyer (born 12 October 1938 in Waterford, Ireland) is an Irish singer best known for fronting the Royal Showband and The Big Eight, and who had five number one hits in Ireland. He is also renowned for having The Beatles open for the Royal Showband at a concert on 2 April 1962 at the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool, some six months before the release of The Beatles first single Love Me Do in October 1962. Brendan is regarded as one of the first headlining Elvis impersonators. Elvis Presley himself was a big fan of Brendan's performances and would often attend Bowyers concerts in the Stardust Resort & Casino, Las Vegas during the 1970s.
Brendan Bowyer began his career with the Royal Showband in 1957. His ability to tailor American rock 'n' roll music to the tastes of Irish audiences, and his athletic, spirited on-stage performances made him a popular vocalist of the 1960s showband era. On 6 September 1963, Brendan Bowyer and the Royal Showband became the first Irish artists to top the Irish singles chart, with the hit "Kiss Me Quick," which stayed at the number one position for seven weeks. They were to return to the top position later that year with "No More," and repeated the feat in 1964 with "Bless You." Brendan took part in the 1965 Irish National Song Contest for a chance to represent Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest in Naples with the song "Suddenly in Love" but could only manage 5th place. Their greatest success was to come in 1965 with "The Hucklebuck," which spent a further seven weeks at the top of the Irish Charts, but failed to chart in the United Kingdom. "Don't Lose Your Hucklebuck Shoes" returned the band to the number one position later in 1965.
In the summer of 1971 Bowyer, along with singer Tom Dunphy, left The Royal Showband and formed the Big Eight Showband. The band spent the summers playing the ballroom circuit in Ireland but also spent six months of the year in Las Vegas. Within a short time, Brendan and the band made the decision to relocate to Vegas permanently. He has been based in Las Vegas since then, though he makes frequent trips back to Ireland. In 1977 he made a brief return to the Irish charts with his tribute "Thank You Elvis."
Having enjoyed a semi-retirement phase, Bowyer has returned to the spotlight, touring Ireland each year, some for months on end, with his daughter Aisling Bowyer, and a six piece band. They perform his showband era hits, dance numbers, nationalist songs, modern contemporary songs and concert hits.
2001 saw the release of Follow On, a covers album, where Bowyer performs some of the most popular Irish songs, such as "Summer in Dublin," "What's Another Year," "Past the Point of Rescue," and "I Don't Like Mondays."
2005 saw Brendan and Aisling headlining the entertainment list for the Tall Ships Festival in Waterford, performing in the open air to an estimated crowd of 12,000. In 2015 Brendan was the star of the "Ireland's Showbands - Do You Come Here Often?" concert series.
- The Showband Era: The Royal Showband Retrieved 11 July 2010