Pop music in 1960s Ireland was dominated by the Royal Showband from Waterford who in 1963 led the St Patrick’s Day parade in New York.
When they released Hucklebuck in 1964 and performed it wearing these shoes. A 1949 rhythm and blues song by Chubby Checker in 1960, Hucklebuck was recorded by the Royal almost by accident with Brendan Bowyer on vocals.
Brendan Bowyer was born in Bailey’s New Street in the Viking Triangle, Waterford city.
Named after the Theatre Royal in Waterford the Royal were the first of the new bands to attach the word Showband to their title. Once however they had a temporary name change when they appeared at the Victoria Palace in London and because the audience included 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.