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According to a Calgary Herald article in 1971, "George and Jimmy formed the first Irish Rovers for an amateur variety show in Toronto and won." George's cousin, Joe also soon emigrated to Toronto and was recruited as he stepped off the plane.
The name "The Irish Rovers" was suggested by George's mother.
The Irish Rovers have represented Canada at five World Expos.
The children grew up in a musical household as their father Bob played button-key accordion for several bands throughout the years.
The traditional Irish song about a sailing ship had been a favourite from their kitchen parties in Ballymena.
For a short time, George, Jimmy and Joe were joined by Vic Marcus and Doug Henderson.
The Rovers drove to California in 1966, hoping to perform in the folk clubs there.
After the success of "The Unicorn," Joe returned to the band.Wilcil Mc Dowell's accordion has been a signature sound of the band throughout their more than fifty years. Founding member George Millar and his cousin Ian are both from Ballymena, Northern Ireland, original member Wilcil Mc Dowell is from Larne, Northern Ireland, Sean O'Driscoll from Cork, Gerry O'Connor from Dundalk, with Morris Crum from Carnlough and percussionist Fred Graham from Belfast.Flute and whistle player Geoffrey Kelly was born in Dumfries, Scotland.The boys were given room and board and an introduction to a booking agent who helped them secure an appearance at The Purple Onion in San Francisco where they played sold-out houses for five months.
The group was then booked at other folk clubs across California.
The album included the Irish tunes "The Orange and the Green" and "The Black Velvet Band." Wilcil's accordion has continued to be a signature sound of the band.