Minister Madigan pays tribute to Brendan Bowyer

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan T.D., has paid tribute to the internationally acclaimed Irish performer, Brendan Bowyer, who has passed away at the age of 81.

A native of Waterford, Brendan lived and spent most of his career in Las Vegas, but truly never forgot his Irish roots. For in excess of six decades Brendan enthralled audiences around the world. The title of Ireland’s answer to Elvis Presley rested easily on his shoulders.

He burst onto the scene in the late 1950’s as a member of The Royal Showband with whom he performed what many consider his signature tune The Hucklebuck.  The Dancehall genre of music was at its height and packed out venues the length and breadth of the country throughout the 1960’s. Other standards included ‘Kiss Me Quick’, ‘Sitting in the Sun” and ‘I Can’t Get You Out of My Heart”.

His move to Las Vegas in the early 1970’s was the stepping stone to international stardom with the Big 8 Showband which he formed with the late Tom Dunphy. He readily sold out venues in his adopted city and rubbed shoulders with the iconic performers of the time.

He made many trips back to Ireland for performances over the following 40 years and was made a freeman of Waterford City.

Minister Madigan said:

“I am extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Brendan Bowyer. He could justly claim to be in the very top echelon of performers of the dancehall era. His comparison to Elvis Presley is not an overstated one.

So many romances, marriages and happy memories were created during many years of joy and entertainment that Brendan brought to this country and his adopted Las Vegas. He set a high bar and inspired so many other performers that followed. He will be so sadly missed.

My sincerest condolences to Stella – his wife of 53 years, his three children, Brendan Jr, Aisling and Clodagh, as well as his extended family and thousands of devoted fans. Hearing the Hucklebuck again will give us mixed feelings, a nostalgia of happier times gone by tinged with sadness.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.”

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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