They gripped the eyes, the ears and, most of all, the feet of the nation. From the late 1950s to the 1970s the entire island was captivated by showbands.
Four new stamps celebrating the legendary Irish musicians go on sale today. Featuring The Miami Showband, The Drifters, The Royal and The Freshmen, the series was unveiled at a ceremony in Dublin's GPO yesterday, attended by former members of the bands and their families.
Ben Dolan, the brother of legendary singer Joe Dolan, who features on The Drifters stamp, said: “It's a very proud day. We were all friends in the band business but we were all real enemies as well. We were friendly when we met but, when we didn't, we told fantastic lies about one another.”
Former Miami member Pat McCarthy said: “When I got the phone call about this, I honestly thought it was a wind-up but I'm so glad An Post have done this. There are people at this function I haven't seen since those days. It's really very emotional.”
Another touching moment came when former Miami member Des Lee asked the gathering to remember the members of his band murdered by loyalist terrorists in July 1975 while returning to Dublin.
“I believe they are watching us from heaven,” he said.