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Monday 11 December 2017

Showbands' stamp of approval

Ken Sweeney

Ken Sweeney

FOUR of the country's best known showbands are to be immortalised in a new stamp collection.

Dickie Rock & The Miami Showband, Joe Dolan & The Drifters, Brendan Bowyer & The Royal Showband, and The Freshmen will appear on the showband series issued by An Post.

Commemorating the era of dancehalls, the collection is the latest edition of stamps by An Post honouring Irish music stars.

Dickie Rock told the Irish Independent last night he was especially moved by his stamp, featuring him and The Miami Showband in a publicity shot from 1967, because it featured members Fran O'Toole and Brian McCoy who were later murdered by a UVF loyalist gang when returning from a gig in Banbridge in Do Down in July 1975.

"It's terribly sad that Fran and Brian aren't around to see this stamp but I think it will make their families very proud. I was very moved myself when I saw the image. It brought back a lot of memories," the singer said.

The veteran entertainer said An Post deserved credit for deciding to feature Ireland's showband stars on the stamps.

"Some people knock the showbands but they did a great job. They entertained people at the time when there was nothing else going on in this country," he said.

The four stamps make up the third series issued by An Post to celebrate the success of the Irish music scene during the 1970s.

The first collection, issued in 2006, featured The Dubliners, The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, The Chieftains and Altan. A second series from 2008 featured images of Planxty, De Dannan, The Bothy Band and the Tulla Ceili Band.

Brendan Bowyer, another showband star who is featured in the Royal Showband stamp, said he was "delighted" with the An Post initiative.

"It's funny because I can remember seeing Elvis Presley's face on a stamp when I was working in the US. I never thought I'd have the same honour in Ireland," he said.

Irish Independent

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