Miami Showband

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Formed in Eire during 1961, the Miami comprised Jimmy Harte (vocals), Murty Quinn (trombone), Clem Quinn (lead guitar), Martin Phelan (saxophone), Tommy O’ Rourke (trumpet), Denis Murray (bass guitar)…
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Formed in Eire during 1961, the Miami comprised Jimmy Harte (vocals), Murty Quinn (trombone), Clem Quinn (lead guitar), Martin Phelan (saxophone), Tommy O’ Rourke (trumpet), Denis Murray (bass guitar) and Tony Bogan (drums). After a year on the road, Harte emigrated to America and was replaced by Dickie Rock. It was at that point that the Miami scaled the Irish pop charts, with a string of number 1 hits courtesy of Dickie Rock’s velvet tenor. Songs such as ‘There’s Always Me’, ‘From The Candy Store On The Corner’ and ‘Every Step Of The Way’ were Rock classics in Eire. In addition to Rock’s vocal contributions, however, other members of the Miami were featured vocalists. Clem Quinn followed the Royal Showband’s ‘hucklebuck’ craze by issuing ‘Buck’s Polka’, which reached Eire’s Top 10. Murty Quinn achieved a similar chart placing with ‘One Kiss For Old Time’s Sake’ early the following year. A disagreement with Rock over money prompted Phelan, O’Rourke and the Quinns to form the offshoot Sands in 1967. A re-formed Miami stayed with Rock until 1972, when he elected to continue as a soloist. Thereafter, vocalist Fran O’Toole assumed centre stage, and the band continued to enjoy occasional hits during the 70s, such as ‘Clap Hands Stamp Your Feet’. In the early hours of 31 July 1975, the Miami were returning from a gig in Banbridge, when they were flagged down by several members of the Ulster Volunteer Force. A bomb was then planted in their van which unexpectedly exploded. The hostage musicians attempted to flee and were callously shot in the back by their captives. Fran O’Toole, Des Lee (Desmond McAlea) and Tony Geraghty were killed, while Stephen Travers was seriously injured. The appalling murders did irreparable damage to the showband scene in the north of Ireland, tolling the death knell for an era of musical innocence and non-sectarianism.