Excalibur Press Newsroom
Miami Showband legend Des Lee is one of the most iconic names of the great Irish Showband era. For decades, Des and The Miami consistently filled every dancehall and marquee in every village, town and city in Ireland and thrilled capacity audiences across The UK and America.
A native of Belfast, Des Lee joined the Miami Showband with Fran O'Toole and Brian McCoy in 1967.
Like his young colleagues Des was head hunted by the management of Ireland's most popular showband because of his ability, image and charisma.
From the Sixties, The Miami Showband was consistently voted “Ireland’s Top Band” by the readers of Spotlight and Starlight magazines and by 1975, with more top-ten hits than any other band, they stood on the brink of major success in America. However, fate intervened in the early hours of July 31st, 1975 as they travelled home from a gig up north and wrote The Miami Showband decisively into modern Irish history.
Following the tragic events of 1975, Des fronted the Miami Showband for some years prior to leaving for South Africa where he forged a successful live and recording career.
On August 1st, 2005, Des returned to Ireland for the now legendary “Miami Showband 30th Anniversary Memorial Concert” at Vicar Street which the late, great, music impresario, Jim Aiken, described as “the greatest Showband concert ever staged”. On that unique occasion, the emotional reception given to the surviving Miami Showband members by
the capacity audience was unparalleled and those present will always remember that magical, summer night in Dublin.
On September 16th 2008, The Miami Showband returned to Vicar Street for a historic concert to say “Thank You” to the Irish people for their love and support over three decades. The following day, on September 17th, they travelled north for a sold-out sister concert at The Grand Opera House in Belfast in a symbolic gesture to finally reunite their massive fan base North and South and all profits, from both concerts, were donated to the Children in Crossfire charity.
In 2009 The Miami made the renowned documentary Clap Your Hands. In 2015, on the 40th Anniversary of The Miami Showband tragedy, Des and The Miami played to a sell out show in Fran O’Toole’s hometown of Bray on the same day that Fran was honoured by having the town’s bridge named after him.
The Miami Showband are still touring today and are the only original Showband on the road with original band members.
As well as touring with The Miami, Des performs solo gigs throughout Ireland.
Des Lee is a name synonymous with the halcyon days of the Irish Showbands and he still personifies the best of these exciting times!