Born 27 September 1943 at Glynneath, Maxwell ‘Max’ Boyce started his career in entertainment during the 1970s with a blend of music, poetry, comedy and an enthusiasm and support for Welsh rugby – his ‘first love’. Over 40 years, Max Boyce has had many successes in entertainment with more than two million album sales to his credit.
During the 1970s the Welsh rugby team achieved success in the Five Nations Championships with Max Boyce commemorating the achievements of Welsh rugby giants such as Gareth Edwards, Dai Morris and Barry John in word and song. ‘The Outside Half-Factory’ is an example of this.
It was also in the 1970s when Wales played against England at Twickenham that Welsh rugby fans first started singing the popular Max Boyce anthem ‘Hymns and Arias’ with the chorus ‘And we were singing hymns and arias, Land of My Fathers, Ar Hyd y Nos’ echoing around the stadium.
Max Boyce’s passion for Welsh rugby has continued over the years. In 1999 he took part in the opening ceremonies of the Rugby World Cup at the Millennium Stadium and the following year was awarded an MBE from Prince Charles at Cardiff Castle.
Although Max Boyce’s quote about the English rugby team may be taken by some to be discriminatory, he has also been equally ready to poke gentle fun at the Welsh rugby team saying, “The reason Welsh rugby players haven’t any teeth is to stop them biting each other.”
With the present headlines focusing on the much hoped for success of the current Welsh rugby team this year, and with many thinking about the 2015 Rugby World Cup, there will be many people ready to cheer “Come on Wales!”