(March 7, 2008)
In a bid to liven up celebrations even further, one
Drunken revelers at Foley’s Pub and Restaurant, in Manhattan, will be banned from singing the song “Danny Boy” for the entire month of March, reports the Associated Press. In its stead, guests will be rewarded with a prize for singing other traditional Irish tunes. And at its annual pre-St. Patrick’s Day karaoke party, free beer will be offered.
Pub owner, Shaun Clancy, explains that since the song is depressing, not usually sung in
With lyrics first published back in 1913 by an English lawyer, Frederick Edward Weatherly, who had never visited Ireland, the song in question was written to the tune of an old Irish song called “The Derry Air.” It became a hit in 1915, when opera singer Ernestine Schumann-Heink recorded the new version, and big names of the 1940s and 50s sang it, too, from Bing Crosby to Elvis Presley, Judy Garland to Johnny Cash,
The meaning of the lyrics is debatable, as well. Some see it as a mournful ballad by a mother to her dead son, while others interpret the object of lament as a lover or other heart-breaker. It is this emotion that is, in part, fueling the tension today, in the new millennium.
Ultimately, whatever your take on the necessity of this month’s ban at Foley’s Pub, at least there can now be a change of pace. Says parishioner and retired passenger ship waiter Martin Gaffney, “I’m glad!... [The song] is all right, but I get fed up with hearing it – it’s like the elections.”
Traditional Irish ballads that could serve as singing alternatives include “Molly Malone” and