This Irish trio formed in Dublin in 1958 as a folk harmonica band called The Harmonichords (also known as The Harmony Chords) before singer Patrick O’Hagan persuaded them to add singing to their act and they became the very first Irish ‘boy band’.
Signing to Decca Records in the UK they changed their name in 1962 and scored their first hit, Charmaine, which reached #6 in 1963.
They went on to reach #1 in 1964 (#10 in the USA) with Diane. Like most of their hits, Diane was an old standard, in this case from 1927, from a film called Seventh Heaven. A string of hit singles followed, including I Believe, Ramona, I Wouldn’t Trade You For The World and No Arms Can Ever Hold You.
The original group continued successfully on the cabaret circuit until a messy split between Stokes and the Cluskey’s in 1984.
Stokes was asked to leave the group and he responded by taking legal action against the brothers and their company, Bachelors Ltd.
Stokes received compensation and the Cluskey’s inducted Peter Phipps as the new Bachelor. He stayed until 1993 after which time the brothers continued as a duo.
The original Bachelors’ trio had golden voices, although they could never really hope to compete with the mainstream pop world in the 60s – their sound was hardly conducive to dropping a tab of LSD or twisting the night away . . .
Nonetheless, they achieved a huge and fiercely loyal fan base, especially in the UK.
I had the privilege of seeing The Bachelors perform live around 1979 and they were truly superb. Their harmonies were wonderful and the rich timbre of their fine Irish voices was a delight.