THE LEGENDARY ROB STRONG CELEBRATES 55 YEARS ON THE ROAD!
He may be 72 years old this year but Rob Strong, as his name suggests, is still going strong! The Derry native with the sensational blues/soul voice, is celebrating an amazing 55 years on the road this year! Rob first started out as a bass player with the Polka Dots and then progressed to front The Plattermen, one of the biggest showbands in the 1960s, who were then managed by Jim Aiken. Rob played with the band for six years and he and the overdrive brass section of the band laid down some of the funkiest sounds ever heard in Ireland.
In the early 1970s nobody in Ireland personified the raw energy of rock and blues music like Rob Strong, one of the most unique voices of the era. He even once turned down the offer of joining the world-famous Deep Purple! In 1974, as the disco music began to replace the showbands, Rob formed The Rob Strong Band, who later became The Rockets in the late 70s. The band played prestigious venues such as The TV club in Harcourt St for The Spotlight Night Out. They recorded many singles on various labels, such as Scoff, Good Vibration and Polydor Records and played all the top venues in the city, including residencies at The Lower Deck, Portabello, on Mondays, The New Moran Hotel on Thursdays and The Coconut Grove in Stillorgan on Fridays. The band also sold out many gigs at The Sportsman’s Inn and The Baggot Inn.
In 1986 Rob Strong’s album “Hollywood Nights” was recorded LIVE in The Coconut Grove. The LP achieved the amazing distinction of being the longest album sleeve in the world – a three-metre long gatefold containing signatures of 6,000 adoring fans. It is available on Spotify today.
To say that the musical talent runs in the Strong family is a huge understatement! Rob’s father, Robert, was an accomplished accordion player while
his son, Andrew Strong, hit the big time at the tender age of 17, when he wowed audiences all over the world with his rendition of ‘Mustang Sally’ in the smash hit 1991 movie The Commitments. Rob was vocal coach for Andrew and the singers in the band and occasionally plays bass guitar with Andrew’s band today. Nowadays his daughter Niamh sometimes guests with Rob but is making waves in the industry in her own right and has just started touring theatres with her Eva Cassidy Show, to rave reviews.
The magnetic pull of performing LIVE is still every bit as strong for Rob today. After touring Ireland’s finest theatres with Don Baker to huge acclaim last year, Rob continues to perform in this, his fifty fifth year on the road. Not many artists can claim to have continuously played LIVE for the last six decades! Sean Behan, on lead guitar, is already being described as one of the country’s finest guitarists while Cormac Crowley on the kit is outstanding at the back! Rob has just recorded his latest album ” Stronger Together” in Denmark with top producer Peter Bremer, from Copenhagen with Rob still has that unique distinctive voice that saw him mesmerise audiences all those years ago!
Doors 9 Music 9.30