Maureen Nolan Official
Maureen Nolan was born in Inchicore, Dublin she moved to England aged eight and began her singing career the same year. From the very beginning of her life in show business she was known as the ‘pretty one’. Something that although welcome was not a mask for her undeniable talent. Maureen holds the distinction of being the Nolan Sister who stayed with the act for the longest, having been in the act for the whole time of its existence. For much of her early life she combined school with a hectic schedule of night time engagements as a member of the family group “The Singing Nolans”. Her childhood ambitions never went beyond being an Air Stewardess. The family had always enjoyed one sacred day a year free from work – Christmas Day. In 1973 as the family prepared to eat lunch Tommy Nolan received a call asking the act to appear at a local hotel. He asked the exorbitant fee of £80! When the hotel agreed to the fee the family felt obliged to honour it. Fortunately they did – Joe Lewis, The hotel owner was staying in Blackpool for the holidays and so impressed was he at their performance, he offered them a residency in London’s West End. Their Father was reluctant to relocate, fortunately the three eldest Sisters were in a position to sign the contract without parental consent. Within days the family had moved to London and set up home in Joe Lewis’ house.
The residency was at the prestigious London Room on Drury Lane. A new venture for the Hanover Grand Organisation where they would top the bill six nights a week. The first decision Hanover Grand made was to retire the Sisters’ parents from the act. Leaving the stage clear for the Nolan Sisters. Hanover Grand had figured the act would have more potential with five Sisters than five Sisters and their parents. The BBC’s head of light entertainment, Stewart Morris was brought in to give advice on how the act should develop. Old fashioned medleys were dropped in favour of up tempo numbers. John Coleman was recruited to arrange vocal harmonies and musical scores. Even Nigel Lythgoe was brought on board to choreograph slick dance routines.
In a short time the act was playing to packed houses. They were selected to star for the entire series of Cliff Richard’s ‘It’s Cliff’ show. Overnight the act became a household name. The week of the series premiere the Nolan Sisters had released a single and were scheduled to appear on more TV shows including The Vera Lynn Show and The Harry Secombe Show. The following two years saw many more singles and an album released. In 1975 the act was selected to accompany Frank Sinatra on his European Tour. The show played to packed houses in stunning theatres in European capitals. Just twelve months later they were in New York supporting Engelbert Humperdinck for a two week run.
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Practically every TV show featured the Nolan Sisters during this period including The Shirley Bassey Show, Sez Les, The Tommy Cooper Show, Wednesday at Eight, Night Out At The Casino, London Night Out and the complete 1977 series of Vince Hill’s Musical Time Machine.
More tours, television appearances and records followed including a top three album, 20 Giant Hits which saw the girls be presented with their first gold disc in 1978. The year was rounded off with appearances every week on the entire series of The Two Ronnies with audiences of more than twenty million.
After leaving Hanover Grand in 1978 the Nolan Sisters signed to the major label Epic CBS. Whilst performing in their 1979 Summer show the girls recorded their debut Epic album – The Nolan Sisters which rose as high as number three in the charts. After narrowly missing out on the chance to represent the UK in the Eurovision Song contest they released a single on Epic – Spirit Body and Soul. This led to an appearance on Top Of the Pops. The follow up single, I’m In The Mood For Dancing was released in late 1979 and rocketed the Nolans, as they were now billed, to global stardom. The single sold almost half a million copies in the UK alone and close to two million copies world-wide. The song went to number one in Japan where the Sisters became something of a phenomenon. The Nolans management quickly arranged for them to go on a promotional tour of the country. The single itself had topped the domestic chart – the first none Japanese act to do so in more than a decade. The next two years saw the Nolans release several more hit records including Don’t Make Waves, Gotta Pull Myself Together, Who’s Gonna Rock You, Attention To Me, Chemistry, Don’t Love Me Too Hard, Crashing Down, Dragonfly and Dressed To Kill.
1979 saw a summer season in Cleethorpes and the entire series of Mike Yarwood in Persons, their association with Yarwood continued into 1980 with a tour and Summer Season with the celebrated impressionist. The act was trimmed to a quartet in 1983 when Linda left the act. It didn’t limit the success of the Nolans who continued to record, make TV appearances and tour.
In 1986 the Nolans toured the Soviet Union for four weeks playing at 25,000 seat arenas. The shows were sold out and more than 200,000 attended the performances. The Nolans took part in summer season shows and Bernie became a stalwart of pantomimes from the mid-1980s onwards. Maureen made her own Pantomime debut in 1990 and has appeared in more than 20 of them over the years.
In 1990 the Nolans signed to the Panasonic subsidiary label Teichiku Records in Japan. The deal would see six albums released for the Japanese only market. They were all successful. So successful in fact that the label secured the rights to release the Nolans albums on CD format that hadn’t been released in the UK. Several compilations were also released as well as many “The Nolans and Friends” albums that only featured a few tracks from the Japanese albums. Fans were unconcerned and purchased them anyway. Such was the popularity of the group in Japan. The Nolans flew to Japan to record some of the tracks and carried out two tours in two years.
The early 1990s saw Coleen leave the group, followed just a year later by Bernie. Anne and Maureen continued as a duo for the next three years, backed by two female dancers. Bernie and Coleen re-joined the group in 1995 when a re-recording of ‘I’m In the Mood for Dancing’ was released, entering the charts and securing more TV appearances. Anne’s daughter joined the act in 1998 along with her friend Julia. The Nolans as a quartet once again went on to enjoy success on stage in summer season shows and on the cabaret and concert circuit. In 2003 Anne and Maureen joined the company of ‘Reelin’ and a Rockin’ a sixties revival show featuring Gerry and The Pacemakers and several well-known hit makers of the area. The girls sang backing vocals and entertained audiences with their own tribute to Dusty Springfield.
The Nolans as an act disbanded in 2005. Maureen had successfully auditioned for the leading role in Willy Russell’s ‘Blood Brothers’ a role she took on the UK National Tour and in London’s West End at the Phoenix Theatre. Her portrayal in the show received rave reviews and four of the Nolan Sisters entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the most siblings to have played the same role in a professional production. Something she shares with Linda, Bernie and Denise.
Anne and Maureen recorded another Japan only album in 2005 – The Nolans Sing Momoe. The album was successful although it brought to a conclusion their Japanese recordings.
Shortly afterwards Maureen re-joined Blood Brothers for a season before touring in the comedy musical 'Girl’s Behind', before playing Jill in 'Mum’s The Word'. That was followed playing Sarah in the hit stage play 'The Naked Truth' in which she had to pole dance! Maureen then reprised her role in 'Mum's The Word' in playing opposite her Sister, Bernie.
In 2009 Universal signed four of the Nolans for a reunion tour. The 30 date tour would stop at major arenas and theatres. Sold out venues were thrilled seeing the Nolans perform again. A Live DVD of the concert was released making the top ten in the chart. An album of songs from the tour was also released also featuring remakes of many of their hits.
Epic Records released a four album box set for the Japanese market in 2010 ‘All About The Nolans’ is now considered a collector’s item and many thousands of the box set were sold to fans in the UK.
Talks were underway for a Nolans farewell tour In 2011. Bernie had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and although oncologists thought they had been successful it was discovered that her cancer had returned and was now terminal. To everyone’s sadness the tour had to be cancelled. Maureen carried on working and re-joined the cast of Blood Brothers in which she co-starred with Marti Pellow. Maureen then appeared in the UK tour of ‘The Eva Cassidy Story - Over the Rainbow' followed by a UK tour of ‘Footloose’
Maureen was married to Richie Hoyle in 2010. The couple had been together more than 20 years and had a Son, Danny. As is common with many couples who marry late into their relationship their marriage ended in 2016. The two remain firm friends. Danny has three beautiful Daughters, Ava, Sienna and Roma. Maureen loves to spend time with her Grand Children. Known as "Nanny" she is a natural Grand Parent. Both on and off stage her warmth and compassion is very evident. Her gentle disposition has made her a natural choice for casting agents. She landed the role of Vi Moore in a new production of 'Footloose' in which she was top billed alongside Gareth Gates in 2016. Once that show took a break, she was quickly snapped up for the national tour of the comedy musical 'Menopause - The Musical' in 2015. She returned to 'Footloose' for a second run in 2017. Maureen appeared at Blackpool's Opera House in December 2017 in 'Peter Pan - A Musical Adventure' before re-joining 'Menopause - The Musical' for a second time in spring 2018.
Christmas time saw Maureen appearing in Panto at Newcastle before quickly re-joining the 2019 UK and Ireland tour of ‘Menopause the Musical’. The 2019 pantomime season featured Maureen alongside her Nephew, Shane at Manchester in.
TV executives approached four of the Nolans. Maureen, Anne, Linda and Coleen and asked them to star in an eight part reality show filmed on board a new cruise liner, the MSV Grandiosa. The show was filmed over two weeks seeing the Sisters join the ship in Genoa at the start of the Coronavirus epidemic. The series ‘In The Mood For Cruising’ airs in June 2020
On her return Maureen was set to star in an Easter Pantomime at St. Helens. The show had to cancelled when the nation was placed on lock down during the health crisis.
2020 saw Maureen on BBC One in April in the show ‘All Round To Mrs. Brown’s’