Rose Brennan

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Rose Brennan (born 1 January 1931) is an Irish singer. She is best known for a long spell with the Joe Loss orchestra in the 1950s and 1960s.

Early life[edit]

Rose Brennan was born in Cabra West, a suburb of Dublin. At age sixteen she started singing with the Neil Kearns Orchestra at Dublin's Olympic Ballroom, Johnny Devlin's De Luxe Orchestra at the Crystal Ballroom, and the Pavilion (popularly known as "The Hangar") in Salthill, County Galway. Roy Fox booked her in 1949 for his stage show at the Theatre Royal in Dublin. When Fox moved on, Rose joined the Billy Watson Band at Clery's Ballroom. She was also a regular voice on Radio Éireann's Happy Days and Beginners Please series.[1][2]

In the UK[edit]

In April 1951 Elizabeth Batey, vocalist with Joe Loss, fell and broke her jaw. Joe was badly in need of a replacement and remembered hearing Rose Brennan on radio during a visit to Ireland. Within days he had located her and, before a week was out, she was in Manchester rehearsing with the band. She stayed with Loss for fifteen years, before giving up show-business in the mid 1960s. In 1954 she was awarded third place by the New Musical Express for the best recording of the year; this was her cover of Leo Maguire's "The Whistling Gypsy".[3] Her co-vocalists with the orchestra from 1955 were Ross MacManus (father of Elvis Costello) and Larry Gretton.

It wasn`t until 1961, now on the Philips label, that she reached the heights of the hit parade when 'Tall dark stranger' made it to No.31. One of her next recordings included a number she wrote herself, "My wedding day". Her own wedding day was 7th May 1956 when she married George Hirst, son of a Yorkshire businessman, at Wakefield Registry Office.

She sang until 1966 with the Joe Loss Orchestra for weekly programs on the BBC and nightly at the Hammersmith Palais. She gave up show business and retired to run a pub, the Norland Arms in West London, with her husband John Lamb, an ex-policeman.[2]

She wrote many of the songs she recorded under the name Marella, and co-wrote songs with John Harris.

She was probably one of the fifties' most underrated singers, possibly due to the fact that she was happy to remain with Joe Loss as a singer, rather than concentrate on a solo career.

Select discography[edit]

BD 6110 Nov 1951 'Lili Marlene'
B 10378 Nov 1952 'Isle of Innisfree'
B 10391 Dec 1952 'Got you on my mind (with The Kordites)'
B 10405 Jan 1953 'A moth and a flame'
B 10427 Feb 1953 'Why don't you believe me'
B 10448 Mar 1953 'Wishing ring'
B 10572 Oct 1953 'If you love me / The whistling gypsy'
B 10858 Apl 1955 'When I see a ship / Pledging my love'
POP 156 Jan 1956 'You are my love / My Dublin Bay'
POP 200 Apl 1956 'Courtin' in the kitchen / Those who have loved'
PB 1193 Nov 1961 'Tall dark stranger / The girl with the wistful eyes'
PB 1229 Apl 1962 'Come down the mountain Katie Daly'
BF 1267 Sep 1963 'Don't do me any favours / If only I could say'
BF 1304 Jan 1964 'Lipstick paint a smile on me / I'm a lonely one too'
BF 1327 Apl 1964 'Make room for one more fool'

The Golden Years of the Theatre Royal 1986
50 Great Years of Joe Loss. Music For Pleasure EMI label CDDL 1281
Joe Loss & His Orchestra: Featuring Rose Brennan Howard Jones & Elizabeth Batey (2004)
Joe Loss: In the Mood. EMI Gold (2005)


  1. ^ Irish Showbands
  2. ^ a b Don Wicks: The Ballad Years. 1996
  3. ^ Times Pictorial (18 September 1954). "Singing Star". The Irish Times. p. 7. 

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