“It’s wonderful to be living in this technology-age where computer programs are made to take scratches from old recordings and make things sound as if they were recorded yesterday. And now I’m really glad, listening to the results on this CD, that I began this musical journey. A journey that began for me, and the other working-class lads singing in the Redemptorists Choir in Limerick many years ago, singing the hymns and classics in Latin which we did not understand, but as the years went by, I began to love these sounds more and more”

“As a teenager I remember being a big fan of Pat Boone and trying to imitate his silky sounds in the title song of the film ‘April Love’. Vic Damone and Frankie Lane were great at the big ballads. On a more classical note, I was a big fan of Gigli and Mario Lanza”

“As the years went on, I became a fan of some ‘high-note’ singers such as Roy Orbison, Gene Pitney, Glen Campbell and David Whitfield”

“Most of my time is now spent in the field of teaching with the ‘Theatre School of Performing Arts’ in Ennis, Co. Clare”

Tommy Drennan – December 2005

The following table shows Tommy Drennan & The Monarchs extraordinary chart successes from 1964 to 1979 – 15 years of hits, as verified by the RTÉ/2FM Larry Gogan Book of Irish Chart Hits

“Recently I was thinking about how little my grandchildren know about my recordings, and if I did not do something about it they would disappear completely, and that shock began the journey of updating in sound all the records I have made”

Entry date Highest # Weeks in chart Title Label
14.12.64 4 8 Boolavogue Ember
17.5.65 9 1 Molly Ember
10.3.67 16 4 Connamara Cradle Song Ember
9.8.69 12 3 Come Home Rollin’ Stone HMV
7.11.69 14 3 Where Were You HMV
30.7.70 6 9 Little Boy Lost Columbia
6.11.70 12 5 Love Is Beautiful Song Columbia
3.7.71 8 6 Taxes By The Score Columbia
2.12.71 1 5 O Holy Night Columbia
19.10.72 3 12 Promise And The Dream Columbia
1.3.73 6 8 Lead Us Through EMI
11.10.73 8 4 Love And Country EMI
20.12.73 2 5 Beautiful Peace EMI
19.11.76 7 2 If Dreams Come True Skylark
24.5.79 17 8 Sunshine Lover Polydor


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A string of chart successes followed throughout the late 60’s, 70’s and 80’s with such numbers as ‘I Pretend’, ‘Little Boy Lost’, ‘The Promise and the Dream’, ‘Come Home Rolling Stone’, and what has now become a Christmas standard, ‘Oh Holy Night’. This unique recording featured the voice of Tommy Drennan as a twelve year old Boy Soprano, recorded on an old Grundig tape recorder in the Redemptorist Church in Limerick during Christmas Carols in 1953, and his adult voice singing the second verse. When it was released, this record caught the imagination of the public and reached the #1 spot in the Irish Charts during Christmas 1971, and stayed in the charts for five weeks!

Tommy’s singing career began in the Redemptorist Church where he was the principal Boy Soprano during the middle years of the 1950’s. The all-male choir of the time was hugely popular and gave concerts and recitals throughout the country in places as far apart as Killarney and Belfast. In 1953 and again in 1954 Tommy and the Choir sang at St. Mary’s Ha;ll in Belfast with the BBC Northern Orchestra and the leading Covent Garden tenor James Johnson. Also on the bill were Anna Zeigler & Webster Booth, very famous for their ‘Musical Theatre’ duets. Young Tommy Drennan featured regularly as Boy Soprano on the very popular Radió Éireann programme ‘Newcomers to the Microphone’ and won numerous medals and awards in singing competitions in Féile Luimnighe

At the age of nineteen Tommy went to Dublin to study classical singing at the Royal Irish Academy of Music under the direction of Denis Noble, who had retired to Ireland after a highly successful international career in opera. During this time in Dublin (March 1962) Tommy appeared in the St. Patrick’s night concert at the Gaiety Theatre with the Radió Éireann Light Orchestra. Also on the programme that night were Seán Ó’Ríada and Ceoltóirí Chualann. At the Dublin Feis Ceoil the following year (1963) Tommy won first prize in the Thomas Moore Memorial Cup – a competition which had, in the past, been won by none other than John McCormack

During this time, Tommy performed regularly on national radio, and his first appearance on television was with UTV from Belfast on a light entertainment programme ‘Teatime with Tommy’. The well known Belfast band ‘The Freshmen’ were at that time looking for a singer. They saw Tommy’s TV performance and promptly offered him the job! And so began a career in popular entertainment. Within a year Tommy had returned to Limerick to join ‘The Monarchs Showband’, and soon after in 1964, with their recording of ‘Boolavogue’, they were well on their way to becoming a household name

TV appearances through the years included several ‘Late Late Shows’ (now the world’s longest-running chat show), ITV’s ‘New Faces’ and many other programmes. Touring took them all over Ireland, England and America on a journey that still continues…