Irish showband icon Brendan Bowyer dies aged 81

Irish showband icon Brendan Bowyer dies aged 81

IRISH SHOWBAND icon Brendan Bowyer has sadly passed away, aged 81. 

The Waterford native and music legend passed away surrounded by family at his home in Las Vegas this past Thursday. 

A beloved entertainer best known for his work with the Royal Showband and the Big Eight, Bowyer leaves behind a music legacy few can rival. 

His time as the front man of both bands also saw him score five number one hits in Ireland alone. 

Famed for his ability to infuse American rock and roll with a distinctly Irish sensibility, Bowyer was a key player in the showband era of the 1960s. 


A popular vocalist and performer, his spirited on-stage persona brought something special to live concerts down the years. 

Along with the Royal Showband, he went on to make history in September 1963 as the first Irish artists to top the Irish singles chart. 

Kiss Me Quick stayed at number one for seven straight weeks. 

Subsequent songs No More and Bless You also top charts, with Bowyer going on to represent Ireland at the 1965 Eurovision Song Contest with the track Suddenly Love. 

He may have only ended up fifth in the resulting contest but his biggest success was still to come with the 1965 effort The Hucklebuck, which gave the Royal Showband their biggest hit, topping the Irish charts for seven straight weeks and ended up being a hit in Australia. 

The 1970s saw Bowyer leave the Royal Showband, going on to form the Big Eight Showband before embarking on an extended stay in Las Vegas where he continued to perform.  


In the decades that followed, he returned to Ireland for a series of regular tours performing familiar showband hits in the company of his daughter and six-piece band. 

His death was announced in a poignant social media post. 

It read: "It is with deep sadness and regret that we announce the passing of Brendan Bowyer. 

“Ireland's most beloved international entertainer for 62 years. 

"Brendan passed away peacefully in Las Vegas on the late evening of May 28, 2020. 

"He was surrounded by the unending love of his wife of 53 years, Stella, his three children, Brendan Jr., Aisling, Clodagh, and his two grandchildren, Liam and Nora Stella. 


"Brendan was hoping to get back to his homeland, Ireland, one last time. He was 81 years old."