The Cadets were one of the more colourful Irish showbands of the early/mid-60s. The original line-up comprised Eileen Reid (vocals), Patrick Murphy (harmonica), Jas Fagan (trombone), Paddy Burns (vocals/trumpet), Gerry Hayes (piano), Brendan O'Connell (lead guitar), Jimmy Day (tenor saxophone/guitar) and Willie Devey (drums). The band played the usual showband fare of C&W and cover hits, but gained considerable attention for their fancy naval-inspired uniforms and exotic lead vocalist. Eileen Reid, with her enormous beehive hair-do, was an instant hit with audiences and before long the Cadets were attracting record company interest. After a false start with Hello Trouble on Decca, they switched to Pye Records and were soon number 1 in Eire with their version of Jim Reevesí Fallen Star. During this period, they also toured America and appeared on the UK television show THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS. They were even given their own show on Radio Eireann, CARNIVAL TIME WITH THE CADETS. In late 1964, they charted with their most famous song, I Gave My Wedding Dress Away. For this melancholic C&W ballad Reid regularly appeared onstage dressed in a wedding dress, which caused a minor sensation at the time. The Cadets continued to tour the showband circuit and notched up an impressive run of hits including Right Or Wrong, If I Had My Life To Live Over, More Than Yesterday, At The Close Of A Long Day and Land Of Gingerbread. The group split in 1970, just before the showband scene went into a sharp decline.
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