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Brendan Bowyer, the Royal Showband & the Hucklebuck Shoes.

Brendan Bowyer, the Royal Showband & the Hucklebuck Shoes.

Have you visited the top floor exhibition of the beautiful Georgian Bishop’s Palace and seen the Hucklebuck shoes and the Royal Showband memorabilia?

Pop music in 1960’s Ireland was dominated by the Royal Showband from Waterford who, in 1963, led the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York.

They released Hucklebuck in 1964 and performed it wearing the shoes that today are on display in the Bishop’s Palace. A 1949 rhythm and blues song by Chubby Checker in 1960, Hucklebuck was recorded by the Royal almost by accident with Brendan Bowyer, a native of Bailey’s New Street, on vocals.

Named after the Theatre Royal in Waterford, the Royal were the first of the new bands to attach the word ‘showband’ to their title. However, they once had a temporary name change when they appeared at Victoria Palace in London - as two members of the royal family the band were introduced as ‘The Waterford Showband’.

The Royal Showband won ‘Top Modern Dance Band’ in Britain in 1961. On this memorable tour the Beatles were a support group. Brendan Bowyer advised the four young hopefuls ‘to stick with it and you will make it’.

In January 1962, the Royal were presented with the Carl Alan award for the most outstanding modern showband. The Irish media went wild and the banner headlines included ‘Coveted Oscar for famed Irish Showband’. The presentation took place on the BBC programme ‘Come Dancing’ and was viewed by over eight million.

As few people in Waterford had a TV and only those living along the east and south east coast could pick up the British stations, big numbers of fans went to the Majestic and Grand Hotels in Tramore to watch the show.