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The Capitol Showband

One of the biggest Irish showbands of the 60s, the Capitol was formed in 1960 with a line-up comprising Butch Moore (vocals), Jimmy Hogan (lead guitar), Des Kelly (vocals, bass), Johnny Kelly (drums), Eddie Monahan (piano), Paul Sweeney (trumpet) Patrick Loughman (trombone) and Eddie Ryan (saxophone). When they became professional the following year, Loughman and Ryan were replaced by Don Long and Paddy Cole, respectively. Based in Dublin, the Capitol became the first showband to appear on Irish television. After signing to Pye Records, they recruited the songwriting services of the then unknown Phil Coulter, whose ‘Foolin’ Time’ took them into the Irish Top 10. In common with Coulter, they fell into the hands of manager/agent Phil Solomon, whose powerful influence brought them a prestigious appearance on the stage of the London Palladium. By November 1964, the band was number 1 in Eire with ‘Down Came The Rain’, an achievement they repeated with the Coulter-arranged ‘Born To Be With You’. In 1965 Eire was admitted to the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time, and the Capitol were the chosen representatives. Moore’s stirring ‘Walking The Streets In The Rain’ came sixth in the final, and also provided the Capitol with their third successive Irish number 1 hit. At their peak, the Capitol were second only to the Royal Showband in popularity. With their distinctive uniform of white trousers, white shoes and blue jackets, they looked particularly slick. During 1965-66, their success continued, with ‘Born To Be With You’, ‘Our Love Will Go On’, ‘So Many Ways’ and ‘Christmas’, but their impact was severely weakened when Moore was bought out and launched a career as a cabaret artist. He subsequently sang with the Kings, then married singer Maeve Mulvany and emigrated to the USA. A revamped Capitol replaced Moore with Noel McNeill, and later, John Drummond. With Des Kelly as vocalist, the band made a strong return with ‘The Streets Of Baltimore’, but by the late 60s, their star was in the descendant and the original group split up. Cole subsequently joined the showband supergroup Big 8, while Kelly became a successful manager with the Irish folk group, Sweeney’s Men.
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