Formed in Eire in October 1971, the Big 8 were the first Irish supergroup. Their all-star line-up featured a pool of singers/musicians from the leading showbands of the era, as if the only way to survive the ravages of history was to centralize talent into one unit. The first roll call of this star aggregation featured vocalist Brendan Bowyer (formerly of the Royal Showband), bass player/singer Tom Dunphy (ex-Royal), female vocalist Twink (ex-Maxi and Dick & Twink), guitarist Jimmy Conway (ex-Strangers), trumpeter Dave Coady (ex-Real McCoy), pianist Michael Keane (previously with Johnny McEvoy) and saxophonist/vocalist Paddy Cole and drummer Mickey O’Neill (both from the Capitol). Appropriately, the octet appointed the legendary Royal manager T.J. Byrne to supervise their activities. Their act was a multifaceted affair, combining vocals, comedy and dancing and even a traditional Irish set culminating in Bowyer’s revival of ‘Danny Boy’. An arduous residency in Las Vegas during the early 70s saw a change in line-up with the departures of Cole and Twink. The heart of the supergroup was broken in 1975 when founding member Tom Dunphy was killed in a car crash. Other members came and went, including Eileen Kelley from the Nevada, leaving Bowyer at the helm as the group closed the 80s.
Share this page