2003 - Band
Members: Jeff Watt, Ron McManamy, Jim Hughes, George Normann, and Bob Briegel
As the rock and roll scene began to flourish across the Midwest in the late 1950s and early 1960s, four young Sioux City musicians, each gaining prominence in other bands, joined forces to give flight to what would be a distinguished career as a rock and roll band…The Flames.
The Flames were formed early in 1960, consisting of vocalists Jim Hughes on rhythm guitar, Bob Briegel on lead guitar, Jeff Watt on bass and driven by the superb beat of Ron “Skip” McManamy on drums.
Briegel left the band and the area within a year, forcing the Flames to regroup but kick it up a notch with Watt moving over to lead guitar and bringing TeenBeat’s bassist George Normann into the band. This combination created a new sound placing them in the category of much sought after area bands.
While college and day gigs kept them quite busy, music was their passion and they performed two and three nights nearly every week at virtually every ballroom, auditorium or other venue between Minneapolis, Kansas City, Cedar Rapids and Denver.
In 1962, at the height of the “Twist” rage, the Flames shared billing with the Velaires and notable dance groups touring the larger venues of most every major city throughout the Midwest as the “1962 Twist Revue.”
Band members were musician’s musicians and were called on several times to accompany national touring artists such as George Hamilton IV, Jimmy Clanton, Conway Twitty, Eddie Arnolds and Bobby Vinton. They were with Vinton the week “Roses Are Red” became the number one hit on the Top Forty.
The Flames traveled to Oklahoma City in 1962 and recorded an album that, for lack of a label, never hit the charts.
The group disbanded in 1965; each to pursue individual interests: Hughes in the railroad industry; Normann became a radio personality; McManamy and Watt did a stint in banking. Now McManamy owns the largest real estate firm in the tri-state area and Watt has been an independent insurance agent for over 25 years.
Their last performance together was a very successful nightclub reunion in 1975.