One of the more adventurous Irish showbands of the mid-60s, the Chessmen featured singer Alan Dee, who was also a strong songwriter. It was almost unprecedented for a showband to compose their own material, but Dee penned several hit songs such as ‘Fighting’ and ‘What In The World Has Come Over You’. His greatest success, however, came with an evocative ballad of emigration, ‘Michael Murphy’s Boy’. With its haunting chorus (‘My name is Patrick Joseph, I’m Michael Murphy’s Boy’) the song was played frequently on Radio Eireann and reached number 4 in the Irish charts in the summer of 1966. The Chessmen enjoyed the privilege of being managed by Noel Pearson, a talented impresario who wrote and was on the board of the Abbey Theatre and producer of such acclaimed Irish films as My Left Foot and The Field. Although the Chessmen were a promising act, they felt restricted by the showband routine and fragmented in the late 60s following the departure of Dee.
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