The
Bray City
Rollers

The Bray City Rollers was the brainchild of Charlie Hadden who ran a late night disco in the Royal Hotel Bray, among others, during the early seventies. He approached his business partner Peter Barden with the idea and set about roping in some local musicians. First came Brendan ‘Bangers’ McCann who had come to their notice after winning a talent contest. (full story below)


Colm Jones, Rob Greene, Jimmy Murphy, Brendan 'Bangers' McCann, Philip O'Neill

Town/Village/County: Bray, Wicklow

Vocals: Brendan 'Bangers' McCann
Lead Guitar:
Rob Greene
2nd Guitar:

Bass:
Colm Jones
Drums: Philip O'Neill
Piano/Organ:
Jimmy Murphy
Sax:

Manager:

Discography

The Bray City Story ~ by Colm Jones

The year was 1976. The Bray City Rollers was the brainchild of Charlie Hadden who ran a late night disco in the Royal Hotel Bray, among others, during the early seventies. He approached his business partner Peter Bardon with the idea and set about roping in some local musicians. First came Brendan ‘Bangers’ McCann who had come to their notice after winning a talent contest. Peter Bardon ran a record shop in Bray and regular customer, guitarist Rob Greene, became the second recruit. After advertising in some national newspapers Philip O’Neill arrived with his drum kit, followed shortly by Jimmy Murphy from Dunleer, County Louth with his Farfisa Organ and finally, Colm Jones on bass.

Five days later they did their first gig playing a set during the disco in the Royal Hotel. Each member was paid the weekly wage of £30 less tax and an extra £5 a night if there were more than 3 gigs in that week.

A single was recorded, produced by Bill Whelan and both songs were written by Shay Healy. Vocalist Brendan was the only member who actually performed on the record. The A-side was ‘Lovely Lovely Face’ and Shay was so proud of it that he credited his dog Rinty Rafferty as the writer! A second single was released, ‘Love By Numbers’ some months later, this time written by band members and all members sang on the recording.

So with the arrival of a VW Van and roadie Phil Kavanagh, it was off to see every corner of Ireland. The band did more gigs in Donegal than any other county. However, having to travel to Cork the next night happened more than once. The Rollers' line up was to change regularly and in the 9 months of its life saw 13 members. By September 1976 it was all over.

Intervening Years.

Brendan McCann went on to form Coke, then Bangers and Mash and played under that name up until 2005. Rob Greene went to live in California at first, then to Australia and England before returning to Bray in the late eighties. He has continuously played professionally and has released 3 albums to date. He is currently working with Brendan McCann under the name ‘R&B’. Philip O’Neill was a member of Coke and several other bands and met his wife Joan in one of them, she was the singer. They currently gig together under the name ‘Chase’.

Colm Jones played with The Sands and The Roly Daniels Band over the next few years. He then formed ‘It’s A Secret’ who had a minor hit single in Holland called ‘I Cant Dance’ in 1986. In 1988 he opened up The Promenade Recording Studio. He currently plays a Sixties Show under the name ‘CoJo’ and has released an album of original songs.

The Nineties

In 1996 four of the original members reformed for Philip O’Neill’s 40th birthday. There was an attempt to bring the band back to public gigs but this sadly foundered. They played together again in 1998 at Colm’s wedding and again at Philip’s wife, Joan’s 40th birthday celebration.They have appeared together three more times for charity functions but the last two were as a three piece. Charlie Hadden is now the sales manager in the local Ford Dealership.

Epilogue

When one considers the proliferation of tribute bands in the past two decades, the idea of the band was way ahead of its time. Well done to Charlie. Also it’s hard to believe that all four of the original members are still gigging in Bray to this day, 32 years later. It's not Bye Bye Babies just yet!

Brian Baines, Bangers McCann, Colm Jones, Philip O'Neill, Dennis Woods

2004: Colm Jones, Philip O'Neill, Brendan 'Bangers' McCann, Rob Greene
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