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The McManus brothers, who grew up on a farm near the village of Derrylin, Co.Fermanagh, started off their musical career as award winning traditional Irish musicians but were inspired by the legendary Irish celtic rock band, Horslips, as well as younger brother TommyÆs passion for the drums to form a rock band. In the late 70s the brothers had become big fans of Horslips and attended their gigs at every possible opportunity. They eventually got to know and became friends with the band members. It was around that time that they started their own band which was originally called Pulse before they changed it to MamaÆs Boys. Barry Devlin of Horslips heard about their band and went to see them rehearse at their home. He was suitably impressed and offered them a support slot for HorslipsÆ 1979 tour.
Although their heroes Horslips mixed traditional music with hard rock and the McManus brothers were top notch traditional musicians, Mama's Boys didn't really go for the celtic fusion sound, apart from the occasional fiddle solo by Pat, but went for a harder edged more heavy metal sound.
By 1980 MamaÆs Boys had a bootleg circulating and were touring extensively in Ireland. In 1981 they were invited to support Hawkwind on their UK tour. They recorded and self-financed their first album, a raw blast of rock power entitled æPlug It InÆ in 1982 and achieved a hit single in Ireland with the most pop-oriented song on the album, æNeedle In The GrooveÆ.
The second album æTurn It UpÆ was released in 1983. The same year they toured with Thin Lizzy on that bandÆs farewell tour and played at the Reading Rock Festival and signed a worldwide record deal with Jive Records. The first album released on Jive was a self-titled compilation of æPlug It InÆ and æTurn It UpÆ with a few new songs added. One of the new songs, a cover of Slade's 'Mama Weer All Crazee Now' was released as a single and reached number 54 in the American charts. The video for the song got a lot of airplay on MTV and helped the band to become known in the US which they toured in 1984. Coincidentily the American heavy metal band Quiet Riot also released their cover version of the song at the same time as Mama's Boys but the Mama's Boys version is widely regarded as being superior.
1985Æs æPower And PassionÆ album broke into the Billboard top 100 in the US and the band toured in the US, Europe and Japan. During European leg of the tour Tommy had a relapse of leukemia which he had been treated for as a child and a replacement drummer was brought in to complete the tour. The recovering Tommy rejoined the tour in Ireland but had to be rushed back to hospital after another relapse.
In 1987 vocalist Keith Murrell was brought in after John started having trouble with his vocal chords and they recorded the album ôGrowing Up The Hard Wayö. Jive Records chose Murrell with the idea of giving them a more polished commercial sound but it backfired as the unique raw sound of the band was replaced by a bland AOR type sound. The Jive contract, which ended that year, was not renewed and Keith Murrell was let go.
In 1989 with a new vocalist, Mike Wilson, and under new management they moved their base to the UK. The live album æLive ToniteÆ was released in 1991 and the band toured extensively in Europe. They released their final album æRelativityÆ in 1992. The following year during an extensive European tour Mike Wilson left the band. Also Tommy had became ill again and the tour had to be canceled so they decided to split the band. The band still had contractual obligations to play some shows in Switzerland and Mama's Boys played their last gigs in Switzerland in December of 1993 with John back on vocals. During the next year Tommy underwent a bone marrow transplant but tragically he did not survive, he passed away on 16th November 1994. His brothers were devastated and did not return to the music business for some time. On the first anniversary of TommyÆs death John composed a traditional lament on the low whistle for his brother and this led to himself and Pat revisiting their traditional Irish music roots and eventually forming a celtic/new age group called Celtus in 1997. Pat is currently a member of the band Indain and also performs under the name "Pat McManus and Hi-Voltage".
Belfast City Blues (1982)
In The Heat Of The Night (1982)
Needle In The Groove (1982)
Too Little Of You To Love (1983)
Midnight Promises (1984)
Mama We're All Crazee Now (1984)
Needle In The Groove (1985)
Higher Ground (1987)
Waiting For A Miracle (1987)