It seems strange to think, but I have been a professional entertainer since I was eleven years old. My parents, Tommy and Maureen Nolan had been successful performers as the 'Sweethearts Of Song' in Dublin, Ireland in the post war heyday of the big band. One by one a total of eight children were born, I was the second eldest daughter. In the early 1960's my family relocated to Blackpool on the UK's North West coast where "The Sweethearts Of Song" made a living touring the Northern club circuit until one evening a child minder let my parents down and the entire Nolan family had to accompany Mum and Dad to a gig. Each of the family appeared on stage that night and The Singing Nolans were born. That line up featured an early version of the Nolans with my sisters singing three and four part harmonies, as well as solo performances from Anne and myself - The 'elder sisters', Plus of course, Mum and Dad. We even ventured into the recording studio and in two days completed our debut album. "The Singing Nolans" It's pretty basic, even for it's time, but to us it was fabulous to be recording at such a young age. We also recorded a Christmas EP. Our biggest thrill at that time was recording the theme song for Blackpool Football Club! Incidentally the song still gets played now at home games. Which is both an honour and embarassing when you are sat on the terraces with some of your Sisters! As an act we toured the Working Men's Clubs around England and even a prison in Ireland, and we were fortunate enough to see many parts of the World on cruise ships as guest artists. None of us ever felt pressured to go into show business, in fact we pressured our parents to let us sing. However my Parents always used to make sure we never worked on Christmas Day. Then one year the phone rang on Christmas Eve, the Cliffs Hotel needed an artist as the one booked had cancelled. My Dad asked a very and astronomical high fee of £80. Confident they wouldn't want to pay such a large fee.
Dad was horrified, moments later when the phone rang once more offering us the money. Dad still didn't want to do the gig, but Mum felt obliged to fulfil the booking. So one by one we all joined Mum and before we knew it off we went - Christmas Day at the Cliffs Hotel, Blackpool - Working ! The booking was a success and afterwards one of the hotel's guests approached my Dad and they started chatting about show business. The man called Joe Lewis claimed to work as a music impresario and wanted to offer our family work in London. My Dad was used to people offering us unbelievable work and they always turned out to be just that - unbelieveable! This job in particular was incredible. He wanted the five Sisters and our Parents to headline six nights a week at a new club on Drury Lane in London. The Company concerned was called Hanover Grand, and not only were they offering great money but the chance to go on TV. My Dad gave the Joe our telephone number and to our surprise he called the next day. Eventually my Dad agreed to sing for a two night booking to see if it was going to be as good as it seemed. After the two nights Joe turned up at our house once more, this time accompanied by a solicitor and a contract. We practically bullied Dad into signing. Our parents were reluctant in some ways because work was plentiful for us and the younger members of the family had schools and friends in the area. Still, four months after signing the contract we were on our way. Our Brothers decided not to join us but to stay in Blackpool and look after our house. They were seeing local girls as well. They later said in an interview that is was the biggest mistake of thier lives.