The Top Hat in the 1960s ?

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The Top Hat in the 1960s ?

Postby MikeMahon » Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:52 pm

Just wondering if anyone could tell me about what kind of music \ bands etc were on at The Top Hat venue in the 1960s ? I've read a bit online about what was on in the 70s and 80s but I was wondering what it was like in the 60s. Would anyone remember any of the showbands of the era being on there ?
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Re: The Top Hat in the 1960s ?

Postby Denis Cromie » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:32 pm

Hi Mike the bands I remember were.The Royal Showband,Johnnie Quigley, The Dixies, The Capitol, The Miami. These were the bands that would pack the "Hat",there were numerous smaller bands most of which I don't remember but I'm sure other people will.
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Re: The Top Hat in the 1960s ?

Postby bugrock » Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:48 pm

Not forgetting The Chessmen! Great!
If it don't make your ears bleed, it ain't rock 'n' roll!
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Re: The Top Hat in the 1960s ?

Postby Micheál » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:41 am

Clipper Carlton
Tina & the Navada
basically every "Showband" going.

In the 50s the Norman Williamson band was a regular.

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Re: The Top Hat in the 1960s ?

Postby Rocker » Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:25 am

bugrock wrote:Not forgetting The Chessmen! Great!


I'd forgotten about the Chessmen.

Here is a good site for bands

http://www.irish-showbands.com/Bands/ch ... hey_Now___
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Re: The Top Hat in the 1960s ?

Postby jabra » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:01 pm

Jim Farley's big band had a residency in The Hat in the 60's. Other lesser known showbands I remember from that era were
The Blue Corinthians The Everglades The Indians. The Mexicans from Bray was another band I think Tina started out with
them and was at one time married to their drummer Reynolds was his name Can't remember his first name.
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Re: The Top Hat in the 1960s ?

Postby bugrock » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:02 pm

Great article Rocker, but Jack Scot wrote What in the World not Alan Dee.
Very nostalgic.
If it don't make your ears bleed, it ain't rock 'n' roll!
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Re: The Top Hat in the 1960s ?

Postby Sinead » Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:06 pm

Earl Gill, Dermot O'Brien were among the big bands then some of our own locals played in
their own bands as warm up bands.
Pity we don't have Grammer putting his oar in, he could ream them all off for us.
Who did Roly Daniels sing with?

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Re: The Top Hat in the 1960s ?

Postby jabra » Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:47 pm

Roly Daniels started off in a band called Green Country he then joined Jim Farley's All Stars. He was also a member of
Memphis Showband and he was with the Nevada showband fo a while. Before Jim Farley formed his own band he was with
Earl Gill
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Re: The Top Hat in the 1960s ?

Postby Sinead » Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:32 pm

Jabra, thanks for clarifying that for me. Many years ago I met Roly with 'Jem' Farley in the
Wimpy Bar on Burgh Quay. My husband knew Jem, Earl and Frank Mangan from their school
days. Frank played with Earl and when the dance scene dried up he played on occasion in
The Noggin Inn.

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Re: The Top Hat in the 1960s ?

Postby jabra » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:40 pm

Indeed Sinead I remember Frank Mangan playing in the noggin inn ( The Frank Mangan Trio) They played there fairly
regularly in the very early 70's and they played at the wedding of a pal of mine in 1970 in The Victor. Happy days.
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Re: The Top Hat in the 1960s ?

Postby Sinead » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:44 pm

Frank, Jem, Earl and my husband were pupils of CBS Westland Row.
On one occasion when at a dress dance in The Shelbourne it was very difficult to get a drink it
was so busy. Earl Gill was the band. Earl kept making gestures to my husband which we
could not understand until we tasted what we believed was water on the table - it was a
jug of gin!

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Re: The Top Hat in the 1960s ?

Postby keeper » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:03 pm

Yes they were great days ! and the Arcadia out in Bray as well, spoiled for choice we were :lol:
Jabra !! His name is Dessie Reynolds, later joined the RTE Concert Orchestra.
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Re: The Top Hat in the 1960s ?

Postby jabra » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:37 pm

Spot on Keeper Dessie Reynolds was the drummer's name I spoke to him in the R.D.S at the 1988 Eurovision song contest he
was with the R.T.E orchestra then and I remember him as a 16 year old deputising for his father also a drummer in the
noggin inn with the Clem Furlong group.
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Re: The Top Hat in the 1960s ?

Postby jabra » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:48 pm

Does anyone remember the night Adam Faith performed in the Top Hat and some guy threw a penny from the balcony
and it hit him in the teeth but he carried on with the performance as he was leaving the stage he said if any other person
wanted to boost his salary he'd rather they leave the money at the door and not throw it at him.
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Re: The Top Hat in the 1960s ?

Postby bugrock » Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:21 am

Clem Furlong - now there's a story or three :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: The Top Hat in the 1960s ?

Postby Harjoe » Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:16 pm

the Top Hat was the place on Saturday nights when it opened in the late 1950s it was more of a upmarket dance owned by the Di Flice's family Louis and Victor , that we the teenagers would not go as we had the Orchid Rooms and the Parochial Hall and record hops around Dun Laoghaire like Sandycove Tennis Club and Green Road Tennis Club as well as the Noggin Hop .
the Top Hat had a strict rules for dancing Norman Williams and his Band with Des Smyth as vocalist and strict tempo like no two girls dancing together ,No Jiving etc .later Peter Cusack became resident band
The only time we went to the Hat was when a football club ran a fundraising dance or Freddie Ryan from Monkstown brought down Jimmy Crompton Jazz Band from Belfast every couple of months that would on a Wednesday night
but when the showbands began to get popluar in the 1960s and dancing changed and the Top Hat had to change their policy so they had resident band played on Friday and Sunday and Showbands on Saturday with Royal Showband and the Dixielanders from Cork, Miami , Hoedowners , Cadets etc
As the 1960s continued with English Groups like the Beatles Rolling Stones everything changed the Top Hat had to change again so out went the resident band and new bands each night because they were competing whit the Arcadia and Palm Beech and between them they became the best venues outside Dublin with bus loads of dancers coming to the HAT and double deckers buses would be outside to bring people back to Dublin .
By the mid 1960s the Di Fleice family sold the Top Hat to Matt Byrnes and hehired T J Byrne the famous Royal manager to manage the Top Hat T J restored the resident band with Jim Farley and the Tophatters with Vocal from Tina, Terry Mahon Mark Mitchell etc with five girl dancers and a sixteen piece band making the Top Hat as the place to be for stylish people of Dublin with the new beat clubs coming up around the city for the younger people the older generation would go to the Top Hat .
later on in the 60s I started in the bus business and my first showband I drove was Jim Farley and I also ran a bus from the Top Hat each Saturday night.
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Re: The Top Hat in the 1960s ?

Postby Rocker » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:17 pm

Gosh Harjoe you have a marvellous memory. Thank you for all that information and history. wuu
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Re: The Top Hat in the 1960s ?

Postby Sinead » Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:12 pm

Dress Dances were also held in the Top Hat. That is how posh it was.
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Re: The Top Hat in the 1960s ?

Postby masterblaster » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:50 pm

Rocker wrote:Gosh Harjoe you have a marvelous memory. Thank you for all that information and history. wuu



The Top Hat will always hold special memories for the thousands of us who flocked there once and sometimes twice a week.Though no Fred Astaire, I enjoyed many an evening learning how to put one foot in front of the other with no little help from the girls who were willing to dance and put up with their feet been trodden on by me.
Norman Williams was the resident orchestra when I started going and among the vocalists were Patrica Conlon, Des Smith, Pat Montana. There was a break and the stage would revolve and for fifteen minutes you were entertained by a gent (Bob Phillips) playing the organ with a guy keeping the beat on drums.It's also worth remembering It was strictly ballroom too.Anyone jiving or Rockin was politely stopped by a floor manager!Rock an roll came to the fore eventually.If you preferred the Strictly format Sunday was your night.Memories !!!
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Re: The Top Hat in the 1960s ?

Postby Harjoe » Sat Jul 29, 2017 2:27 pm

Sorry to bore you all but while I think about the Top Hat before my memory fades I can remember the big English acts who came in the early 1960s I have a Gael Linn video of the Adam Faith gig and I can remember Kenny Ball, Actor Bilk,and some of the top British Jazz bands and even the Ivy Benson all girls band and the Dutch Swing Collage band ,I can recall the first time the Royal Showband played there, when they put the admision price up to 10 shillings with queues all the way around the building ,anything in the British charts would come because they got more money from here than in England ,I can remember Emile Ford & and the Checkmates playing three Monday night in a row when he was on top of the charts ,like most Dun Laoghaire people the Top Hat was our local big dance before we branched out to the Arcadia or Laurel Park when we got a car or in my case a scooter.
later in the 1960s groups both local and imported played the HAT along with bands like the Capital, Freshmen,Drifters , Gentry, Nevada,
Dreams , Miami who featured one of our own Murty Quinn from Sallynoggin before their breakup when half of them joined the Sands showband and our own Caravelles with John Keogh who became the Greenbeats.
Northern bands were popular like the Skyrocketsfrom Enniskillen ,the Platterme,from Omagh, Johnny Quigley from Derry .
a lot of imformtion can be got from the the showband web sites http://www.irishshowbands.com, http://www.irishshowbands.net and http://www.albumofirishshowbands.com
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Re: The Top Hat in the 1960s ?

Postby Navanman » Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:44 pm

I have not been on a while but see this Top Hat topic. From my memory I only remember the Saturday night dances. Was there dancing during the week or on a Sunday?
I also remember no dancing during Lent.

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Re: The Top Hat in the 1960s ?

Postby Harjoe » Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:17 am

the no dancing during Lent only applied to Parish Halls or venues which were run by priests in Dun Laoghaire the parocial hall was closed during but Scoop Johnston who ran dances in the Orchird Rooms ran Sunday night dances town hall during that time and the tennis clubs like Longford, Sandycove, and Green Road had record hops so when the Top Hat opened the ban on dances during Lent did no apply.
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