Robert Arkins

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Robert Arkins is an Irish musician and actor[1] who may be best-known for his role as Jimmy Rabbitte, manager of the eponymous soul band, in the 1991 film The Commitments by director Alan Parker.[2]

A native of Drumcondra, Dublin,[3] Arkins has been a professional musician from the age of 15,[4] He left school at 17 to front his band, Housebroken.[1] He is a vocalist, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who counts piano, bass and trumpet in his repertoire.[1] Housebroken won the Sunday World Bandslam competition in 1988, after only having been established for three months.[3]

With no prior acting experience, Arkins heard of the filming of The Commitments from his sister.[1] Following seven auditions, Arkins was cast as "Deco Cuffe", the band's lead singer, but was replaced in that role after Parker discovered newcomer Andrew Strong.[5] Despite not featuring as a singer in the film Arkins did provide lead vocals for two tracks – Treat Her Right and Slip Away – on the accompanying soundtrack album.[6] Following the release of The Commitments Arkins moved back into music and signed a record deal with MCA Records in 1993,[7] although he did not finish recording the consequent album.[8]

He has composed and produced work for a number of commercial clients, television projects, and for two short films.[9] In 1998, he did briefly return to acting, in a short film entitled What Are You Looking At?[5] In 2011, he joined fellow various cast members from The Commitments to perform a series of concerts across Ireland, to celebrate the film's 20th anniversary.[10] This was followed by three dates in the UK in 2012.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d Wolf, Matt (9 August 1991). "Irish Robert Arkins finds fame after making his debut in movie". Reading Eagle. p. A9. 
  2. ^ Gaffney, Caitriona (27 February 2011). ""They shouldn't be calling themselves The Commitments", Roddy Doyle's surprise blast: 'They're not a band, that was all just acting'". Mail Online. Retrieved 23 September 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Milton, Stephen (2 October 2016). "He said it once and said it loud… So what became of Jimmy Rabbitte?". Irish Independent. Retrieved 3 April 2018. 
  4. ^ Schoemer, Karen (18 August 1991). "A Film Pursues the Redemptive Power of Rock-and-Roll". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Kendall, Paul (29 September 2013). "Whatever happened to The Commitments?". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  6. ^ Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (CD liner). The Commitments. Geffen Records. 13 August 1991. 
  7. ^ "Artist Profile: Robert Arkins". My Music Source. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  8. ^ Martin, Paul (26 November 2001). "Soul searching 10 years on". The Mirror. 
  9. ^ "Whatever happened to the other stars of the Commitments?". 3 February 2007. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  10. ^ a b McHarrie, Emma (5 September 2011). "The Commitments Reunion Tour 2012". Click Liverpool. Archived from the original on 19 January 2014. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 

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