The Story of The

Related: Melochords, Nashville Ramblers, Drumbeats, Polka Dots

Pat Murphy loved to play the harmonica, and in 1961, when he was working  as a driver for a band, he decided that he would like to have a taste of the action and set about putting a new band on the road. At that time in Dublin, there were more than fifty semi-professional bands, The Melochords and The Blue Clavons being the most popular. Most of the musicians in these bands could hold down a day-job also, as the proliferation of venues in the Dublin area meant that they could play three nights a week without having to move outside a fifteen mile radius of home.

However, Pat Murphy wanted to form a professional showband, one that could travel to every corner of the island and attract followers from far and wide, so he approached some members of The Melochords, with whom Dickie Rock was at that time lead vocalist, and put to them his proposition. Guitarist Brendan O’Connell, pianist Gerry Hayes and saxophonist Jimmy Day decided to go along with Pat’s idea.

Ian McGarry, who later became a producer with RTE, was first in the drum-seat, but he was soon replaced by Melochords drummer Willie Deevy. Jas Fagan put his job as a tailor on hold to join as trombonist. They badly needed a lead singer, and when John Hardy of the Blue Clavons recommended a young blonde girl whom he had heard singing at a dance for the Jacob’s ladies football team, Pat wasn’t interested at first, because he held strong views about women in show-business. However, when he heard the lovely voice of Eileen Reid at an audition at the Town & Country Club, he immediately offered her the position.

Pat had the idea that a band dressed in well-cut military-style uniforms would immediately give the band an identity all of its own. Trumpeter Paddy Burns was added to the line-up and The Cadets made their debut on Christmas Eve 1961 in the Crystal Ballroom, but they didn’t make an immediate impact with Dublin audiences.  Before long however, they were a big draw in Northern Ireland and made their first television appearances on U.T.V. and B.B.C in shows like “Thank Your Lucky Stars” and “The 625 Show”.

Their first records did very well, with “Fallen Star” reaching No.1 in the Irish charts in May 1964  and “Jealous Heart” entering the British Top 50 at No.42 in June 1965,  but it was when Eileen donned a wedding dress and sang “I Gave My Wedding Dress Away”, that the huge crowds thronged every venue. The sad song was a true show-stopper, and dancers would crowd around the stage while she sang wearing a dress that was bought for £40 in Dublin’s Wicklow Street.  After a few trips around Ireland and Britain, the dress was eventually raffled for charity and it is said that the bachelor farmer in the north-west who won it, demanded £200 instead of the prize!

The Cadets toured America on a number of occasions and were in Las Vegas on the November day in 1963 when the news came through of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas. A tribute song, “We Shall Remember”, to the air of “Kevin Barry” was written and recorded by the band. The song was banned by RTE, but was a hit north of the border.

In 1966, Paul Green was signed as lead vocalist, but didn’t stay long. He in turn was replaced by Gregory Donaghey from Strabane, a singer who had previously been with the Drumbeats and the Polka Dots. His first record with The Cadets, “More Than Yesterday” went to the top of the Irish charts in July 1966.

During their time at the top The Cadets met The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, and shared a bill with the latter. Their L.P. record on Pye Golden Guinea sold so well that it was reissued on the Marble Arch label. Cupid’s arrow struck in 1967 when Eileen Reid married her colleague Jimmy Day and she decided to leave the band. The Cadets disbanded in 1970.

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Vocals: Eileen Reid, Gregory Donaghey, Paul Greene
Lead Guitar:
Brendan O'Connell
2nd Guitar:
Noel McGann
Sax/Clarinet: Jimmy Day
Trombone: Jas Fagan
Piano/Organ: Gerry Hayes
Willie Deevy

Cadets' Discography (compiled by Eddie Kelly)

7” singles (45r.p.m.)

1963: Hello Trouble / Our First Quarrel – Decca F 11677
1964: Fallen Star / Heartbreak USA – Columbia IDB 740
1964: We Shall Remember / It Is No Secret – Columbia IDB 741
1964: I Gave My wedding Dress away / Chapel Of Love - Pye 7N 15693
1965: Are You Teasing Me / My Heart Skips A Beat – Pye 7N 15796
1965: Right Or Wrong / Jealous Heart – Pye 7N 15852
1965: The Cadets EP - Rex EPR 5001
1965: Baby Roo / Raining In My Heart – Pye 7N 15947
1966: If I Had My Life to Live Over / Best Of All – Pye 7N 17024
1966: More Than Yesterday / Walk With Faith In Your Heart – Pye 7N 17128
1966: At The Close Of A Long Long Day / True Love – Pye 7N 17167
1967: The Best Part Of Loving You / Harbour Lights – Pye 7N 17270
1967: Mama Don’t Cry At My wedding / The Man Who Makes The Music – Pye 7N 17311
1967: Land Of Gingerbread / Girl Of My Dreams – Pye 7N 17407
1967: Girl Of Independent Means / Young And Beautiful – Pye 7N 17407
1968: Have I Told You Lately That I Love you / Naughty Little Girl - Pye 7N 17471
1968: Angeline / C’mon Marianne - Pye 7N 17638
1969: The Dying Ranger / Asthoreen Bawn – Pye 7N 17762

LP’s (33.3 r.p.m.)

1964: The Cadets – Pye Golden Guinea GGL 0295
1966: The Cadets – Marble Arch MAL 643
The Cadets on CD

Such A Night: In The Ghetto The Songs Of Elvis - Castle CMDDD 402
Baby Roo: Beach Bash - Sequel NEMCD 387
Right Or Wrong: The Irish Showband Collection - Pulse PBXCD 323/1
Land Of Gingerbread: The Irish Showband Collection - Pulse PBXCD 323/1
I Gave My Wedding Dress Away: The Irish Showband Collection -Pulse PBXCD 323/2
More Than Yesterday: The Irish Showband Collection - Pulse PBXCD 323/2
At The Close Of A Long Long Day: The Irish Showband Collection - Pulse PBXCD
If I Had My Life To Live Over: The Irish Showband Collection - Pulse PBXCD 323/3
Girl Of My Dreams: Fabulous Irish Showbands - Pulse PBXCD 476/1
Mama Don’t Cry At My Wedding: Fabulous Irish Showbands - Pulse PBXCD 476/1
Looking Back To See: Fabulous Irish Showbands - Pulse PBXCD 476/2
The Best Part Of Loving You: Fabulous Irish Showbands - Pulse PBXCD 476/3
Little Rosa: Fabulous Irish Showbands - Pulse PBXCD 476/3
Royal Garden Blues: Fabulous Irish Showbands - Pulse PBXCD 476/4
True Love: Fabulous Irish Showbands - Pulse PBXCD 476/4
Chapel Of Love: Irish Showbands Get Down With It - Sequel NEXCD 261
Fallen Star: Larry Gogan’s Pickin’ The Pops - EMI CDLG 1
Are You Teasing Me: Sham Rock - Castle CMDDD 798
Jealous Heart: Sham Rock - Castle CMDDD 798
Girl Of Independent Means: Sham Rock - Castle CMDDD 798
C’mon Marianne: Sham Rock – Castle CMDDD 798
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