Paddy and Peter’s love for the showband days live on

THE memories of the showband era are fading with each passing year, but for Fermanagh’s Paddy McDermott and Peter Watson, it seems like only yesterday they were selling out London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Today, Fermanagh’s the home to some of Ireland’s leading Country music stars. But at one time, the county’s showband business and bands were among the best in the business.

Paddy (84) and Peter (90) were two of the era’s much-loved performers, and founding members of The Skyrockets and Gene and the Gents, which dominated the music scene for decades.

It all began for Paddy, who is originally from Navan, back in 1958.

After following up on an advert in the Irish Independent from The Skyrockets who were looking for a saxophone player, he was selected to join Cecil Kettyles’ group.

“When Peter [Watson] and I joined in the same week in 1958, we were backing a famous singer at the time, Bridie Gallagher,” he said.

“A lot of bands applied for it and that was a big moment for us as Bridie was very well-known. We got it because we could read the music.”

The Skyrockets formed a formidable partnership and they performed in some of Ireland’s biggest venues. They even went on a UK tour, headlining a major gig at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 1959.

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