In the ’50’s and 60’s we had a wealth of local musical talent, we had the “Witness’s Showband“, “The Grenadier Showband” “The Freshmen, “The Velvet Tones”, “Dave Glover Showband”, “The Martells”, “The Oceans Showband”, “The Melotones”, to mention just a few and from these bands came artists like Bo Birch, Gerry McCrudden, Toni Morelli, Joe Clarke, Liam and Danny Burns, Sean McVicker, Trixie Hamilton, and of course later we had Van Morrison and his group, “Them” who had two songs in the Hit Parade, their first song hit No.10 and was nine weeks in the charts, their second hit No.2 and was 12 weeks in the charts. The female singer with the Dave Glover band was quite unique in so far as she had THREE names, Dave apparently married twice, a rare thing in those days which brings me to a funny conversation between him and a fellow musician from another band. Dave met the fellow musician on the street some weeks before he was due to marry for the second time and asked him if he was coming to the wedding. The other musician on learning the date, answered, “Ah, sorry Dave, we have a Gig on that date... Sure maybe next time”, apparently even Dave chuckled. This subject, Belfast and musical talents, I covered more extensively in my little book, “Belfast Music City Ireland”.
When Elvis Presley’s film “Loving You”, or was it “Love Me Tender”, opened at the Broadway, poor old “John The Blackguard”, the usher, couldn’t cope with the teenagers jiving in the aisles and on the seats, the Peelers had to be called in and a whole melee broke out, things were certainly drifting away from the easy going, laid back style of Bing Crosby, the idol of parents back in those days, There was never as much excitement in the Broadway picture House since the night the patriot Jimmy Steele , after having escaped from Crumlin Road prison with three other patriots, appeared on the stage and read a republican statement to the picture goers. All this while the R.U.C in their hundreds were combing the Catholic area’s searching for them, a great act of defiance which was applauded by the audience. The patriot finished by reading the 1916 Proclamation much to the cheers of the audience, and yet strangely, One ‘historian ’ later wrote in a book, that the audience were terrified … on the Falls Road,? ..Some times I wonder, can readers or television viewers sort out truth from fiction in all those historical reports.