The Carlton Showband wasn't just a band. It was a recipe for happiness. Take a generous helping of Irish, a dash or two of down home Country, a touch of Pop, Rock and a hint of Classical and sprinkle the whole thing with humour. Add an audience, and you had a sure-fire formula for a good time.
It was in 1964 when Chris O'Toole and Seamus Grew brought the band together. In 1967 the Carlton Showband first appeared nationwide on CTV's 'Pig N' Whistle Show'. For 11 seasons the show was one of the most popular and longest-running shows on CTV, and the Carlton Showband became the most popular band of its kind in the country.
For 35 years, from Vancouver to St. John's, and across North America, if the Carlton Showband was playing, you had to get your tickets early, because their brand of musical magic invariably packed the house. In some areas they left attendance records that will probably never be broken. They captured a secret most musicians envy. The bond of fellowship that made the bandsmen good friends offstage as well as on, is infectious. They managed to transmit the camaraderie to the audience in the first number. And once you heard their first number, they had you.
Someone once said after hearing the Carlton Showband; "If you can sit through that without tapping your toes, without a smile coming to your lips, without a lump coming to your throat - you're clinically dead."
The Carlton Showband has been recognized on the highest levels. In 1975 they won the coveted Juno Award. They were nominated for a Big Country Award in 1976 and 1977, winning in '77. A gold album with "The Best Of The Carlton Showband" in 1973 and a double platinum in 1979 for their album "Twenty Gospel Favourites". The real measure of their worth could only be seen in the faces of the audience. Whether in a big city theatre, a penitentiary, a seniors home or a small town fair, the result was always the same - an hour or more of pure happiness.