I was born in the 70s, but was still pretty young when we entered the 1980s. I remember the first day back at school after the 1979 Christmas break when our French teacher said the date. She always started class with the date, and I remember the mind-blow that 1980 sounded so different from 1979. The 80s had arrived.
That same year, 1980, was the year I first heard The Irish Rovers. Actually, to be accurate here, they were going by the name "The Rovers". The Rovers had this song that seemed to be everywhere. Wasn't That a Party?
It was a catchy little ditty, and I can still sing it from memory. The Rovers were The Irish Rovers, and I'd later learn about The Unicorn, Rhymes and Reason, Lily the Pink and everything that preceded Wasn't That a Party?.
Irish music from an Irish band, right? I always assumed so, but as you'll hear in the Al Mair episode of Toronto Mike'd, The Irish Rovers are a Toronto group.
In 1963, George Millar met fellow Irish native Jimmy Ferguson at an Irish function in Toronto. They sang together until dawn, and founded the Irish Rovers. According to a Calgary Herald article in 1971, "George and Jimmy formed the first Irish Rovers for an amateur variety show in Toronto and won."
1963 was 60 years ago, meaning this year marks a milestone for The Irish Rovers. Quite the run for this Toronto band. Time to party.