MAMA’S BOYS: Power and passion LP 1985 ALL songs are great! Check video, audio (whole album), a documentary with John McManus, Pat McManus interviews, the story of the song “Needle in the Groove”


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Mama’s Boys second album for Jive, Power & Passion, was their most successful. It cracked the Billboard Top 100 in America and reached the heady heights of No.55 in the UK.

Power & Passion has stood the test of time amazingly well  even if the cover might not have, to some politically correct eyes. But hey, you won’t get any complaints about its depiction of a nude girl covered in a net curtain wielding a dagger, while reclining on a medieval throne, from this quarter. But quite what the Jive Records art department were thinking of at the time is anyone’s guess .

It’s plain that the success of Mama Weer All Crazee Now had influenced Mamas Boys: a lot of the songs here – Hard N Loud and Lettin Go in particular – are big-sounding and basic, with plenty of Noddy Holder-style hollering.

Although Mama s Boys might have slipped off the radar in modern day times I urge you to rediscover this collection of glossy-but-heavy 1980s anthems. The band’s enthusiasm is tangible and there is an endearingly naive feel to their songwriting that tempers an album that was obviously recorded with an eye on the American market.

The standout track remains the band’s finest song, the aforementioned, re-recorded Needle In The Groove, which has the loping feel of early Thin Lizzy and is a masterpiece of double entendre and insinuation – although lyrics like  She s a hi-fi freak who loves to take it to the peak  may go over the heads of the digital download generation!

Running Needle  a close second with Don’t Tell Mama – it’s no surprise that the two songs were coupled together as the first single to be released from the album.

With the sleek and Poison-esque Run and the stomping Straight Forward No Looking Back also providing highlights, the only slight low spots are the title track – a combination of Kiss-style stumble-rock and AOR pretensions – and The Professor II, which is probably the only example of Irish-tinged jazz rock you’re ever likely to hear. (Professor was Pat McManus’ nickname, if memory serves. The Professor I was on the Mama s Boys album.) But normal service is resumed on closing track Let s Get High, which again has a hint of Lizzy, this time with its duelling guitar action.

The stature Mama s Boys enjoyed at the time of the release of Power & Passion was reflected in the size of the UK tour (or rock event , as it was billed) they undertook to promote the album in April and May 1985. Included were major venues such as Birmingham Odeon and London s Dominion Theatre, where the Queen stage show We Will Rock You currently plays.

In the States Mama s Boys supported Bon Jovi and joined up again with their mates from Ratt. The Irish band flew back to the UK to play the Knebworth festival with Deep Purple, and then went straight back to the States.

Label: Jive ‎– HIP 24
Format: Vinyl, LP
Country: UK
Released: 1985
Genre: Hard Rock

Recorded At – Battery Studios, London
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Zomba Productions Ltd.

Bass, Vocals – John McManus
Drums – Tommy McManus
Guitar, Fiddle, Guitar [More Guitar] – Pat (The Professor) McManus

Producer, Engineer – Chris Tsangarides

A1 Hard ‘n’ Loud 3:50
A2 Straight Forward, No Looking Back 4:00
A3 Lettin’ Go 4:03
A4 Needle in the Groove 4:14
A5 Run 3:35

B1 Power & Passion 4:18
B2 Don’t Tell Mama 4:21
B3 The Professor II 3:37
B4 Let Get High 3:33

Hard Rock / NWOBHM band from Northern Ireland formed in 1978.

A band that now seems to be very overlooked. Mama’s Boys a band built around the McManus brothers should have been huge but for some unknown reason Power And Passion was to be their highpoint. Don’t let the cover make you think that what lies inside is some throw away early hair metal music, as this could not be further than the truth. What you will find is a great guitar album. An album when you listen to it now gives some pangs of nostalgia of when rock songs where just fun, cleverly crafted catchy songs. You can here in a way a blue print for what came later with the likes of Bon Jovi and the like. The song most might of heard, is Needle In The Groove. Lettin’ Go you might swear was released later by someone like Motley Crue, Posion or Ratt. Most of all, this album is fun and rocks like fu*k. As the guitar solos found on here are exactly what you want to hear when you want to punch the air and rock out. Hard ‘n’ Loud is the perfect example of this. Overall you might find that Power And Passion is a lost gem, than many will love to rediscover and maybe new fans to discover for the first time. Northern Irish rock music never sounded so good.

Pat ‘The Professor’ McManus – guitar
John McManus – bass/vocals
Tommy McManus – drums

Bio: Heavy metal trio. Irish releases on their own Pussy label. Tommy McManus died after a long battle with leukemia in 1994. Lead vocalists have included Keith Murrell (1987-88), Connor McKeon (1989) and Mike Wilson (1990-).

Great Irish Rock Albums: Mama’s Boys, Power & Passion

Over in London, where the music scene was vibrant, record companies and musicians lived as neighbours. Some lived with each other.

Among them, were three Irish brothers who hailed from the beautiful county of Fermanagh. Tommy (drums), Pat (guitar and violin), and John (vocals and bass) came from the school of Irish traditional music – a theme that ran throughout the McManus family.

John, Pat, and Tommy (Rest In Peace) liked rock too. Influenced by Thin Lizzy and Horslips, the hard-working McManus boys gigged until their fingers bled and had released two albums before a record label came calling. They were signed to Clive Calder’s Jive Records and found themselves among the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement that included the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Def Leppard.

Mama’s Boys had renowned concert promoter Michael Deeny in their ranks during this period in the mid-80s. They also had Cathal Dervan in charge of their fan club. Dervan would go on to become one of Ireland’s best-known sports journalists and is now the Director Of Public Relations and Communications at the Football Association of Ireland!

Brothers in Arms: Tommy, Pat and John

And so to the music …

Arguably this is the best-produced Mama’s Boys album during the band’s three-piece era. All songs, as per usual, were written and composed by Pat McManus, one of the finest, and most underrated guitarists of his generation.

Beautifully packaged with a free picture disc 12-inch and a poster of cover model Tina Shaw in her birthday suit, Mama’s Boys’ most famous song, Needle In The Groove, which was taken from the band’s 1982 album Plug It In and re-worked with a smoother, slicker sound. The video of the song featured actress and model Virginia Hey.

Mama’s Boys, by 1985, already had a dedicated fanbase and had toured with Thin Lizzy, Scorpions, Ratt, and Bon Jovi, so this album was hotly anticipated.

It thunders into action with Tommy’s drums on Hard ‘n’ Loud and with a clinched fist John declares:

Well l don’t care what people say
They laugh and joke when l play
Criticise and scandalise
But it beats the hell outta nine to five

It was a perfect start to an 80s hard rock album and things got better with Straight Forward, No Looking Back, Lettin Go, Needle In The Groove, and Run.


Side Two brings the title track Power and Passion, Don’t Tell Mama, Pat McManus’ The Professor II (instrumental), and Let’s Get High. While The Professor II might have better placed as the outgoing track on the album, it does close with the anthemic Let’s Get High.

This should have been the album that made Mama’s Boys a force in the US. It did place in Billboard’s Top 100 that year but it also sadly signalled the beginning of the end of this wonderful band. Tommy, who had suffered from Leukemia as a child, fell ill again and missed part of the tour. He was replaced by former Y&T, Megadeth, and Black Star Riders drummer Jimmy DeGrasso for the remainder of the tour.

At the same time, the record label was convinced Mama’s Boys needed to be a four-piece with a ‘main’ frontman if they were to grab the attention of Uncle Sam.

Tommy, who once turned down a chance to join Ozzy Osbourne’s band, sadly passed away in 1994. He was just 28.

Albums: Official Bootleg (1980) Plug It In (1982) Turn It Up (1983) Mama’s Boys (1984) Power and Passion (1985) Growing Up the Hard Way (1987) Live Tonite (1991) Relativity (1992)

a three part documentary, with John McManus, Pat McManus interviews:

Mama’s Boys – A novel Rock story that was all too real

WHEN music journalist Geoff Barton coined the term ‘New Wave of British Heavy Metal’ (NWOBHM) he foresaw a denim and leather-clad movement of bands and followers that mirrored the social unrest and depression of 1980s Britain.

Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Def Leppard, UFO, Rainbow, and Judas Priest are just some NWOBHM’s household names that conquered shores far beyond their homesteads.

Among the extensive list of bands – some surviving and thriving to this day – was its only Northern Ireland outfit, Mama’s Boys. A unique three-piece band of brothers, Pat (guitar, violin, vocals), John (Bass, vocals), and the late Tommy (drums) McManus took their Thin Lizzy and Horslips influenced sound to the very top of the industry.

If anything, the Co Fermanagh boys who grew up playing traditional Irish music were arguably among the most innovative of all NWOBHM bands.

Before they had signed a deal with Jive Records, Mama’s Boys had already committed two albums to vinyl, bypassing the demo-to-DJ channel and going straight to the retailer. It may have been a risk at the time but the McManus clan, financing their albums from the takings of relentless gigging and touring, never saw their approach as anything out of the ordinary.

The band’s songwriter, Pat ‘The Professor’ McManus could do no wrong. Mama’s Boys songs were gaining airplay. DJs and record store owners like the Irish music cult-hero Terry Hooley were pushing the ‘next big thing’ to their longhaired customers who looked and dressed just like Pat, Tommy, and John. It wasn’t long before Mama’s Boys were supporting acts such as Hawkwind and Thin Lizzy and performing to 90,000 at Reading Rock Festival. The future was only to get bigger and better.

The legend Pat ‘The Professor’ McManus

With a record deal, Mama’s Boys would share the stage at Knebworth where 120,000 fans gathered to witness Deep Purple’s 1985 reunion.

As a child, Tommy McManus, a young drummer full of energy and zest for life, was diagnosed with leukemia. He wasn’t supposed to live as long he did before finally succumbing to the disease in 1994.

“It was the drums and the band that kept Tommy going,” says Pat.

Tommy, Pat, and John were, put simply, Mama’s Boys. Any deviating from that line-up only served to dilute the magic – something the band’s record industry ‘mentors’ succeeding in doing with the enforced change of musical direction and the addition of a fourth member heralding a new voice coming through fans’ hi-fi speakers.

Ultimately, it was not the 1992 sugar-sweet AOR album Relativity that brought about the end for Mama’s Boys but Tommy’s sad passing at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast two years later.

My first ever rock concert ticket, Mamas Boys at Ulster Hall, Belfast in 1985

Mama’s Boys headline appearance at the Ulster Hall in December 1985 was my very first rock concert. I was 15 years of age. They were rock gods.

This week, 32 years later, I had the pleasure and honour of spending time with Pat McManus, reflecting on a magical period for heavy rock music and one of Ireland’s finest purveyors of it, Mama’s Boys.

During the course of our conversation, it was sad to learn that all of the rights of the band’s wonderful material do not belong to the McManus family and that the Master recordings once held by the now-dissolved Jive Records may be lost forever.

Alex McGreevy (AMG): It’s almost like a novel, the Mama’s Boys story. In reality, you were actually living the dream during the best-ever era for heavy rock music.

Pat McManus (PMM): We were in a good place at a good time for heavy rock music, yes. The New wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) had exploded and lots of bands were landing record deals and we were the only band from Northern Ireland to get signed to a major label. We didn’t think anything of it at the time but looking back on it now, it was a major achievement. It was not as easy to get discovered in the 1970s and ‘80s as it is today with the help of social media.

We were just bashing around in the wilds of Ireland, from Donegal to Cork to Belfast and we were lucky in many respects that the right people with connections came across us. Most musicians in Ireland back then might have thrown the towel in if they were hoping to get signed because we were so far removed from the spotlight.

I suppose the sheer determination of the band, touring, playing, and writing our own songs got us noticed. We never aspired to be in the spotlight or be rock stars. What we were trying to do was emulate our heroes, Thin Lizzy, Gary Moore, Rory Gallagher, and Horslips. To end up on stage working alongside some of those guys, well, to us, that was it, job done. It was really all we wanted to achieve because we were simply rock fans ourselves.

AMG: Going against the grain, you put out two albums before you even had a record deal. How did you get away with that in an era when record companies largely dictated who got promotion and airplay?

PMM: We self-financed our first album and second album (The Bootleg and Plug It In) from funds we gathered up from gigs. We did think at the time how we could bypass the process of getting our stuff out there. Rather than doing what everyone else was doing, sending demo tapes to DJs and record companies we thought to ourselves, if we can put out the vinyl it will give the impression we had already been signed – and it worked. There were people asking ‘who is this band, how did they get a record out and why have I not heard this before?’ We were basically a cottage industry, which is how many bands make it in today’s music scene. Making our own vinyl record give us that little jump forward, it created the impression we were ahead of the game and it made it easier for others to listen to our music.

AMG: So how do three young brothers from the countryside find out how to record an album, press the vinyl and distribute it to market?

PMM: It’s funny to think about it now but I guess that was an achievement in itself. We were friendly with the boys in Horslips because we had been to see them so many times and had gotten to know them. Barry Devlin (Horslips bassist and frontman) had many talents and quite happily volunteered information and guidance to us – in fact, he produced some of our early stuff as well. Barry helped open doors for us and so we set off to a studio to record our songs and have them pressed. Then all of a sudden we had all these records to sell! Between Barry (Devlin) and friends, we were introduced to people like Terry Hooley (Publisher, record store, and record label owner). Poor Terry, we turned up at Good Vibrations in Belfast and said, ‘Terry, any chance you could take 25 of these and sell them.’ Terry just looked at us and said, ‘who the hell are you guys?’ But he took the stuff and he got it out there for us.

AMG: So with a growing fan base across Ireland and the UK, how did you eventually get ‘spotted’ by industry influencers?

PMM: One thing I will say is that we did have our fair share of good luck, which I always believed was gained from our investment in our work and our determination to be working musicians – and it was with a touch of good fortune that we did get spotted. We were playing a gig in Tipperary and there was simply nobody at it. When I say there was nobody there, I really am telling the truth! But this guy – who turned out to be Michael Deeney (Music Promoter – Bruce Springsteen, U2, Pavarotti) – came into the place we were playing because he was hungry. He was on his way to meet with U2 who were playing in Cork and he stopped off at the hotel. He heard our unmerciful racket and came in simply out of curiosity. He was blown away by what he heard and that’s how we got a management deal – he helped structure our introduction to the wider world, through Arista, Jive, and CBS records. It was just pure luck on our behalf that he was hungry and on his way to see this young up-and-coming band called U2.

AMG: You eventually got the record deal and produced some memorable material. But today lots of NWOBHM bands are mixing their old stuff and bringing it back to vinyl. Why have Mama’s Boys not done that?

PMM: To be honest, that was my mistake. I signed everything away at the back of the Marquee Club in London. I saw a contract shoved into my hand and I signed it thinking the people providing it had the best interests of Mama’s Boys at heart. I don’t own any of the Mama’s Boys stuff now, which is a shame because we cannot do anything with it.

They will always be my songs but I have no right to do anything with them. It is my understanding that some of the Masters have also disappeared. John and I did try to find them a while back because we thought it might be a good idea to re-master the material. But I’m afraid there are so many scavengers out there that the stuff is most likely gone for good, either sold on and sold on again or perhaps even dumped. The Turn It Up album, for example, no one was able to tell us where the Masters were or who was last to have them in their possession.

We were very much victims of how the record industry worked in those days – when you put that together with three very naïve Irish kids who just wanted to play rock ‘n’ roll, that’s what becomes of you. We took no interest in the business side of music but we opened the doors and trusted people and handed over the controls convinced that we were being looked after. We were most definitely taken advantage of. We know we weren’t alone in that.

Muff Winwood (record producer, musician, and brother of Stevie) once told me that when the record company was pressing and distributing Mama’s Boys records in Holland, they were telling us they were making 100,000 copies when really they were putting out another 150,000 that we knew nothing about.

They owned the pressing plant, so it was easy to do that. How were we ever to know that at the time, or even to this day, without someone coming and telling us face to face? I was appalled when he told me that. We weren’t like Ronnie James Dio who was meticulous about his material and knew what was going out – we took people at face value and paid a price for it.

Muff, as a musician, was messed around during his career. He later signed a record deal with Celtus (an Irish rock fusion band John and Pat formed post-Mama’s Boys) but after a while, John and I agreed that we didn’t want to be contracted in the industry any longer and so we brought an end to Celtus and I moved back to Ireland.

We have exhausted ourselves trying to locate the Masters and gain the rights to our music and we have been in touch with people who should know how to help us but it got to a stage where we had to fire a warning shot across with a threat to do an audit and the response was basically, ‘bring it on, we hope you have a lot of money to do this…’ and as a musician, you tend to shy away from that sort of battle because you don’t have the money or clout to take on the big players in the industry.

Nothing and I mean nothing, was ever shown to us while we were signed with Jive Records. I was never told how many records we had sold; we never saw any accounts for Mama’s Boys. As soon as we started asking questions back then, we were banged out on another tour.

I have resigned in this battle. I gave up a long time ago because of the hurt and the stress. I had to say to myself, your life has moved on and this will consume you if you don’t stop. It’s not in my nature to dwell on things … it is what it is and I have learned from it. I am much happier now being in control of my music and what I put out. People still listen and still want to hear more but even if they didn’t I would still be making music because that’s my hobby.

AMG: If Tommy was still alive today, would Mama’s Boys still be performing and making music?

PMM: I have often thought about where we might be with Mama’s Boys if Tommy was alive today. I guess it’s natural to think where we might have been because Tommy’s passing was the reason why we stopped making music and touring as Mama’s Boys. We were very young men, unmarried, with no children, and we were tight as siblings. We had a lot of growing up to do back then, so who knows what might have become of us as grown men … it’s a very hard one to call.

I know at the time when Tommy started to get ill again we really were riding the crest of a wave but during his spell in the hospital we lost a bit of momentum and however short the period might have been, the music industry does not take long to forget you and move on. It’s fair to say when Tommy took ill that it was about to happen big time for us. Ronnie James Dio had called us and said he wanted to take Mama’s Boys on tour with Dio, that’s how big the picture was for us at that time.

The late Tommy McManus – an “awesome” drummer

We told Tommy that we would go back on the road and all would be fine when he recovered from leukemia but sadly it wasn’t to be. He would not have wanted us to stop but we just couldn’t go on as Mama’s Boys; Tommy simply could not be replaced.

When Jimmy DeGrasso (Megadeth, Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, Black Star Riders) came in to tour with us – while Tommy was unwell – he was amazing but it just wasn’t the same and we knew that the chapter was closed on Mama’s Boys. We were three brothers who lived in each other’s pockets. You know, very little needed to be said. We just knew that was it.

We have always shied away from a reunion because it still wouldn’t be the same without Tommy. We have had offers and we have even had promoters using our name to sell shows, thinking we would jump on board.

You should never say never in life but hand on heart I can never see Mama’s Boys performing again.

If Tommy were alive, we would definitely be playing as Mama’s Boys but more than likely on a sporadic basis. If he was with us today he’d be drumming behind me, make no mistake about it.

AMG: I recall Tommy being a full-throttle performer, everything you would expect from a rock star drummer. How good a drummer was he?

PMM: Tommy was an awesome drummer and that’s not a bias comment, he really was a top drummer. At the time we were recording Power and Passion (circa 1984/85) Tommy came to me and said he had got a phone call to audition for Ozzy Osbourne’s band and that he would like to try it. But he was very clear from the start, telling me that he did not want to join Ozzy’s band but wanted to take the audition just to see if he was good enough – it was just to satisfy him. So, he headed off to the audition and totally smashed it – he got the gig there and then. I knew he would get it but I think Tommy just wanted someone else to reassure him that he was a good drummer.

Apparently, Ozzy told Tommy the position was his, so you can imagine his shock when Tommy said he didn’t want it. Tommy told Ozzy he was “only codding” but Ozzy didn’t understand what that meant. “It means I’m only joking, I don’t want the gig,” Tommy told him.

Ozzy didn’t know what to say to that and asked Tommy why he bothered to come to London to try out. Tommy said ‘I’m recording an album in London with my band and I thought I would see if I could do this but I was never going to leave my band”.

“What band is that?” Ozzy asked.

“Mama’s Boys…”

Tommy said Ozzy almost imploded and said, “that fucking band, Mama’s Boys, they are always played on our tour bus over and over again. Jake E Lee (Ozzy’s guitarist) never stops playing that fucking band…”

Ozzy took it all in good humor thankfully.

AMG: The launch of Growing Up The Hard Way in 1987 saw Mama’s Boys become a four-piece with Keith Murrell taking over as lead vocalist. The sound was different too. How did this impact the dynamic of the band?

PMM: We were under a lot of pressure from the record company to change our sound to match what was happening in the US. The focus was so intense on getting a big hit, getting radio play, and reaping the rewards. They basically told us we had to evolve and that’s when we became a four-piece. While I am happy with the songs I wrote, it was a difficult departure from what we were happy doing and what we were used to doing.

Growing Up The Hard Way from 1987 saw Keith Murrell front Mamas Boys

At the same time, we had a crew of people working for Mama’s Boys and naturally, we felt we were responsible for their livelihoods too, so we just got on with it.

Yes, people said we had sold out and had gone down the commercial route but that’s what we were being ordered to do and we would have done anything to keep making music and performing. Our hands were tied. They were sending us Robert Palmer records and telling us ‘write something like this, it’s big in America’. It was a case of ‘do this or else’ and so many bands saw their careers end because of demands put upon their creativity.

AMG: I have to ask, what was the deal with you, John and a Tommy and the Lee Jeans, jackets and shirts – was that some kind of sponsorship deal back then?

PMG: That’s a funny story. Our roadie Peter Kerr was hitching a lift from his home in Magherafelt to one of our shows and he was picked up by a guy who, of course, asked Peter what he did for a living. When the driver found out he worked with Mama’s Boys, he got excited and told Peter he was a director of the Lee Jeans in Northern Ireland and was keen to get involved with us. It was pure chance. It was a good arrangement for us because we were getting all these free jeans and jackets and shirts and believe it or not, our fans were turning up to our shows in Lee denim.

But in true Mama’s Boys fashion, that deal ended after about two years when the same Director came to see us and John walked into the meeting wearing Levis! John tried to tell him our mum was washing all his Lee jeans. That was the end of that great deal!

AMG: Who is your favorite artist of all time?

PMM: It would have to be Thin Lizzy. They were something else to see on stage. Phil Lynott was one of the finest artists of all time, an absolute all-rounder. I could never separate Gary Moore and Rory Gallagher but I would opt for a band and, for me, there was none better than Thin Lizzy.

AMG: Who are you currently listening to?

PMM: Government Mule, an American jam band … totally gifted. They can play a five-minute song one night and reinvent the same song and play it for 15 minutes the next night. They are on top of their game and a joy to listen to. I also listen to Airbourne a lot. I watched them perform at the Ramblin’ Man festival last year and they were brilliant. I love their energy and sound. People say they try too hard to sound like AC/DC but so what, what’s so wrong with sounding like another band?

AMG: The Pat McManus Band has been very proactive in recent years, churning out excellent Blues/Rock albums. What can a fan expect at a Pat McManus gig?

Pat McManus still plays the classics at his gigs

PMM: They can expect to hear a variety of stuff. I appreciate people come to hear the early stuff as well as the new songs. A lot of what I do when playing live really depends on how I am feeling at the time. I could turn to the guys and say ‘let’s do this one…’ and off we go.

So, yes, anyone coming to see the band can expect to hear some Mama’s Boys, some Gary Moore, some Thin Lizzy, some Rory Gallagher, some new stuff. I don’t shy away from Mama’s Boys because they are my songs and I am very proud of them and I appreciate that they also make other people happy too. People who followed Mama’s Boys have grown with me, so I am always going to respect their expectations.

Mama’s Boys Discography

Albums: Official Bootleg (1980) Plug It In (1982) Turn It Up (1983) Mama’s Boys (1984) Power and Passion (1985) Growing Up the Hard Way (1987) Live Tonite (1991) Relativity (1992)

Singles “Belfast City Blues” (1982) “In the Heat of the Night” (1982) “Needle in the Groove” (1982) “Too Little of You to Love” (1983) “Midnight Promises” (1984) “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” (1984) “Needle in the Groove” (1985) “Higher Ground” (1987) “Waiting for a Miracle” (1987)

Notable Tours:

  • 1983 – Thin Lizzy – Ireland, UK, Scandinavia. Mama’s Boys – Reading festival
  • 1984 – Scorpions – France, UK. Ratt & Rush – USA. Mama’s Boys headline – Canada.
  • 1985 – Ratt & Bon Jovi – USA & Canada. Foreigner & Dio – Japan.
  • 1986 – Gary Moore – Germany & Scandinavia. Marillion, Jethro Tull, Status Quo, at various festivals. Mama’s Boys headline – Ireland, UK, France, Switzerland, Holland, Scandinavia.
  • 1988 – Mama’s Boys headline – Ireland, UK, Germany, Switzerland, France.
  • 1989 – Mama’s Boys headline – Ireland, UK.
  • 1990 – Mama’s Boys headline – Austria, Switzerland, UK.
  • 1991 – Mama’s Boys headline – UK, France, Switzerland, Germany.
  • 1992 – Mama’s Boys headline – Holland, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Greece.

Model Tina recalls power and passion of Mama’s Boys album cover

Leopards and wolfhounds and dry ice…

IT’s late on a balmy Tuesday in August and Tina Shaw’s plans for the day are running behind schedule.

When I finally catch up with her, she’s at a supermarket checkout grabbing food. It’s 9:30pm and dinner hasn’t been made.

With her day a little chaotic, a random fan (me) of Irish rock legends Mama’s Boys, intrigued as to how she became the girl on the cover of the band’s 1985 album Power and Passion, is adding to the drama.

Eventually, around 10:30pm Tina calls back. Pots and pans clatter in the background and she is repeatedly apologetic about the noise and the sniffling caused by slicing onions.

All very rock ‘n’ roll.

I tracked down the now 55-year-old model/actress/musician at her London home through the kindness of social media – something that would have not have been possible for admiring adolescent boys back in 1985 without the use of pen and paper.

Tina Shaw, model, dancer, musician, and sound engineer

Tina is taken aback but pleasantly surprised by my keenness to hear the back story of that album cover artwork – I reassure her I’m merely a big Mama’s Boys fan and a blogger following up on a recent chat about the album with the band’s lead guitarist and songwriter Pat McManus.

A former Daily Star ‘Starbird’, Tina also featured in a number of films, including Taffin, stripping for Pierce Brosnan no less, and Spilt Second, which starred Blade Runner legend, Rutger Hauer.

Her image, everlasting on a rock album is something she is “very proud” to reflect on.

Leopards, Irish Wolfhounds, and dry ice – it turns out there was indeed much more to that Power and Passion photo-shoot than meets the eye.

At the same time, I was also fortunate to catch up with the photographer at that shoot, Ian Hooton, whose CV includes a Who’s Who of 1980s pop and rock stars.

AMG: Tina, can you recall how you came to be the girl on the cover of the Mama’s Boys album Power and Passion?

Tina Shaw: I had a modeling agent who would send me on a variety of photo shoots and a lot of the time they were for test shots for different photographers. One of those photographers was Ian Hooton, who I had done a number of test shots for. Ian had put me forward with some other models for this particular job. But this is where it gets a little bit weird… my agent, Sarah, called me in relation to the shoot and asked if I had any problem working with leopards! These were ‘acting’ leopards, of course.

No problem, I said, I would love to do that. I learned later that some models said they wouldn’t do it because of the leopards.

On the day of the shoot, I turned up expecting to work with leopards, and instead, there were two huge Irish wolfhounds in the studio.


It turned out they couldn’t get the insurance for a model to work with leopards so they got these very tame and well-trained Irish wolfhounds because they wanted the album cover to look a little spooky and weird.

So, we were almost good to go with these enormous dogs and then they introduced the dry ice and the dogs went berserk – it totally freaked them out!

We tried to get some images with the dogs but it just wouldn’t work. The problem back then was Ian could not tell if he had got the right shot with the dogs included because nothing was digital and he could not see the film until it was developed several hours later.

We decided to do some shots with just me on the throne under the instruction to display ‘power and passion’, you know, tense my muscles and body.

Interestingly, I have not seen any other images from that shoot apart from the one that ended up on the cover. That was pretty much it, a one-day shoot.

AMG: What did you know about Mama’s Boys in 1985?

TS: I knew nothing about the band before the shoot and I didn’t even know the name of the band until I got to the studio. When I did learn who the band was, it was not one I had heard of before.

The only person I knew at the shoot that day was the photographer and I hadn’t even had a chance to speak to him before that job. I only found out on the day that it was for the cover of a heavy rock album.

It was some time after the album came out that I saw it for the first time and that was when the photographer gave me a copy with no vinyl in it.

After that Mama’s Boys shoot I just moved on to the next job and that was that. There really wasn’t any follow-up because there was no Internet then and really no access to the images or knowledge about the album and when it was being released.

*NB: The vinyl image Tina refers to is a limited-edition 12-inch picture disc that came with the album and included an interview with the band and the song One Last Chance (pictured, right). 

AMG: What did friends and family think when they saw the album?

TS: My family and friends were so used to seeing me in all sorts of other stuff the Power and Passion LP would not have been a big deal to them. I know they liked it – but they were used to seeing me on Page 3 in The Daily Star too!

My dad would have been fine with it too, he never really passed much comment anyway, and my family was always fairly open-minded.

Sadly, a lot of the images from my modeling and acting career were destroyed in a fire some years ago.

My mother had kept some things in a case and the Mama’s Boys album cover was in there. The album is now between strings on a guitar on my wall.

AMG: Were you aware of the untimely passing of Mama’s Boys drummer Tommy McManus in 1994?

TS: Yes, I was told about it by a friend who was a big fan of the band. That was very sad, and very unfortunate that it also brought about the end of the band. I knew the guys were brothers. They must have been very close and it must have been devastating for them.

AMG: Tell us about your career as a model and actress.

TS: I actually started modeling when I was around 14 and still at school. My plan then was to model for a few years to get myself enough money to get through university. But the modeling took over and I ended up not going to university. I continued to work as a model and even as a belly dancer!

I started my own agency when I was 28, not for modeling but for the entertainment scene, and I still do a bit of modeling today. Nowadays, if the people I worked with over the years need a more ‘mature’ model, I sometimes get a call.

Tina performs with Dr Turner and The Shrinks

I was kept busy. I appeared in a movie with Pierce Brosnan (Taffin, 1988), which was shot in Cork, and another with Rutger Hauer (Split Second, 1991) and a number of Ken Russell films.

It was nerve-wracking working on that Taffin movie because the scene was a striptease and it was in front of Pierce Brosnan, who at that time was known for being Remington Steele before his James Bond days.

Initially, I really didn’t know who he was. All I was told was that I was going to Ireland to do a scene in a movie and that it was a nude scene. When I got there I was in the make-up trailer and this guy came in and sat beside me and started chatting. I thought, well this guy is really handsome, and it turned out to be Pierce.

AMG: During my mission to track you down I came across you on YouTube singing with a band – have you always been a musician?

TS: I was keen to work as a musician and work in the industry when I was a young model. I perform now in a band called Dr Turner and The Shrinks and we write our own music. I play congas and sing.

When you’re a female model in the 1980s and you tell people you are musical too, you simply don’t get taken seriously.

Nobody wanted to know about my interest in music. This sounds silly but although I modeled naked, I was too shy to push the music I had written and I kept it to myself.

I felt at one time I needed to gain credibility for my music and so I finally went off to university and got a degree as a sound engineer. I was one of three women among 40 students who did that course and in the end, only about 10 finished and three of them were women!

Now I work on other people’s music as well as my own. I’ve got to a stage in life of not worrying and not caring and I am just happy to do my own thing – the stuff that makes me happy. I have a partner who is very much like me when it comes to music and that works well.

We create music that we like to call new-retro – new music recorded in an old-fashioned way, but all original music.

Right now, my partner Lez Lee and I write and produce music for music libraries. and we are with working on two albums, one acoustic and ‘plugged in’ – on The Invisible Generation Record Label.

AMG: When you see Power and Passion on display in your home, is it something you were glad you did?

TS: It’s a piece of work I am proud of, yes, of course.

It’s nice to look at and think, wow, that was me! It’s nice to think after all these years that image has remained strong and that fans of the band appreciate it.

Photographer Ian Hooton:

Jive Records/Sony was one of Ian Hooton’s regular clients, as well as providing the cover image for Record Mirror for four consistent years. Ian’s skill behind a lens saw him work with 80s icons such as Boy George, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, OMD, Duran Duran, XTC, Bill Ocean, Kagagoogoo, Samantha Fox, Flock of Seagulls and, of course, Mama’s Boys. Among his many current clients are Christian Dior, Specsavers, Argos, and Glamour Magazine.

Alex McGreevy: What do you recall about the photo shoot for the Mama’s Boys Power and Passion LP?

Ian Hooton: First of all, this was the last question I could have expected tonight!

Wow, 1985, yeah I remember that shoot very well, what with the Irish wolfhounds going nuts when we turned the dry ice on. We were supposed to have leopards that day but had to go with the dogs because of insurance issues. I had done a number of shoots with Tina … what’s she doing now I wonder?

AMG: I’ve just interviewed her, believe it or not, and she was wondering what you were doing these days too.

IH: Well I stopped doing music photography quite a while ago but I am still a photographer. Music was my first love, so I was in a great job back then, I loved it all, though the old piece of advice that you should never meet your heroes did ring true in some cases!

AMG: How much planning went into the Power and Passion cover art?

IH: That’s an interesting question because very often no planning at all was pretty much the order of the day. With Power and Passion we did have some time to plan because Jive Records gave me a heads-up about the band and the theme of the album – basically, they had a picture in mind and I would work with that. I knew the guys were Irish but the wolfhound thing was last minute!

I had time to get the right model and set up the studio, so we good to go that day. Other days were not so easy. Sometimes the record company would call and say ‘such and such will be with you tomorrow or this afternoon, we need an album cover…’

It was all a bit; let’s say ad-hoc back then. Sometimes I’d be in the studio waiting for artists to arrive. Sometimes they didn’t turn up.

AMG: Did you keep any other images of Mama’s Boys or any that included the wolfhounds from that shoot?

IH: You know, that’s the sad thing … you’ve got me thinking about those old films and I do wonder from time to time if they are still around. Unlike today when I send off a set of shots to a client they also remain on my computer, well back then I had to take the film to another studio and wait for them to be developed … once they were ready there was only one set and they went straight into the hands of the record company.

I cannot recall if I signed any contracts at the time to hand over copyright but I am sure if I went digging I’d probably find I signed something along those lines!

It would be nice to see if those images were still around. I do get media and artists asking for old images and unfortunately all my stuff went to the record companies. If I have anything from any shoots then it’s most likely I would not be in a position to share them because of any copyright understanding that might have been established at the time – it’s a minefield that I do not need or want to get into!


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