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|Born||12 October 1938|
|Died||28 May 2020 (aged 81)|
Las Vegas, United States
|Genres||Rock and roll|
|Associated acts||The Royal Showband, The Big Eight|
Brendan Bowyer (12 October 1938 – 28 May 2020) was an Irish singer best known for fronting the Royal Showband and The Big Eight, and who had five number one hits in Ireland. He was also renowned for having The Beatles open for the Royal Showband at a concert on 2 April 1962 at the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool, England, some six months before the release of The Beatles first single "Love Me Do", in October 1962. Bowyer was regarded as one of the first headlining Elvis impersonators. Elvis Presley himself was a big fan of Bowyer's performances and would often attend Bowyer's 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 and roll music to the tastes of Irish audiences, and his athletic, spirited on-stage performances made him a popular vocalist of the 1960s Irish 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." Bowyer 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 fifth place. Their greatest success was to come in 1965 with "The Hucklebuck," which spent a further seven weeks at the top of the Irish Singles Chart, and was a hit in Australia, but failed to appear in the UK Singles Chart. "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, Nevada, US. Within a short time, Bowyer and the band made the decision to relocate to Las Vegas permanently. He was based in Las Vegas from then on, though he made 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 returned to the spotlight, touring Ireland each year, some for months on end, with his daughter Aisling Bowyer, and a six piece band. They performed 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 performed 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, Bowyer was the star of the "Ireland's Showbands - Do You Come Here Often?" concert series.
Bowyer died on 28 May 2020, at the age of 81.
- Gavin Ryan's retrospective music charts for Australian capital cities 1953-2013 have "The Hucklebuck" at #1 in Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, #3 in Sydney, and #8 in Perth [Gavin Ryan, Music Chart books, Moonlight Publishing (Golden Square, Victoria, Australia), five volumes 2004-2007.
- The Showband Era: The Royal Showband, Iangallagher.com, Retrieved 11 July 2010
- Waterford native and showband legend Brendan Bowyer passes away, Waterfordlive.ie, Retrieved 28 May 2020