Brendan Bowyer. RollingNews.ie photo
By Ray O'Hanlon
Elvis was a fan and when Brendan Bowyer led the Royal Showband onto a stage in Liverpool in April, 1962 the warm up act was a group of local lads calling themselves The Beatles.
Irish singing legend Brendan Bowyer has died in Las Vegas at the age of 81.
His family confirmed that he passed away peacefully, sharing the sad news with a Facebook posting Friday morning.
Las Vegas was Bowyer's home since the 1970s. Back in 2017 he told the Echo in an interview that his home was just three miles from the shooting massacre that shocked the world.
Bowyer, a Waterford native, was nothing short of legendary in the Irish music world, his career beginning in the late 1950s and flourishing during the 1960s when he fronted both the Royal Showband and the Big Eight.
"It is with deep sadness and regret that we announce the passing of Brendan Bowyer," the family statement said.
"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 & Nora Stella. Brendan was hoping to get back to his homeland, Ireland, one last time."
According to a report in the Irish Independent, a number of Irish musicians took to social media to pay tribute to the late entertainer.
"Rest easy Brendan Bowyer. Ireland has lost its very own Elvis and our first true Rock ‘n Roll superstar. There’s a hucklebuck in Heaven tonight," Darren Holden of The High Kings said on Twitter.
Ireland's Ambassador to the U.S, Daniel Mulhall, also sent his condolences to the family.
"I grew up in Waterford when Brendan Bowyer & the Royal Showband were Ireland’s biggest stars. The city took pride in their celebrity. Sad to see this news of Brendan Bowyer’s death in Las Vegas," he said.
The reference to 'hucklebuck" points to a dance song made famous by Chubby Checker, "The Hucklebuck," but to Irish music fans it was Brendan Bowyer's version that will be the one long remembered.
After moving to Las Vegas Bowyer established a long and successful career but he would return to Ireland every year to perform before his many devoted fans in his homeland.