O Danny Boy is one of the most well known and beloved Irish Songs. It's what folks refer to as an "old standard". O Danny Boy is popular world wide-sung by famous vocalists as well as around the family piano-or guitar in my case.
As I researched the old song I discovered some interesting facts:
- While the tune is indeed Irish-the words were written in England
- There are varying opinions about the origin of the tune-some believe its as old as the 1600s
- In about 1855 Jane Ross rediscovered the tune and passed it along too a collector of old Irish music, at that time the tune was called Londonderry Air
- Many songwriters tried to add words to the music but nothing seemed to fit the mournful tune
- In the 1800s the tune made it to America along with Irish immigrants
- About 1912 a Mrs. Weatherly heard the song in Colorado, she sent the music back to England to her brother-n-law who was a songwriter
- Mr. Weatherly had already penned the words to Danny Boy but had never found the right melody-now he had it
- When Mr. Weatherly put the old Irish tune to his words a hit that would last through the ages was created
- To read more about the fascinating story behind the song check out The Origin Of Danny Boy
I believe O Danny Boy appeals to so many people because the song evokes a strong emotion of longing for someone you love and miss-a truly common theme of mankind. For me personally, the song also transcends location-if I replace the word glen with hollow-I would swear someone from Appalachia wrote the words. In the same way, you could substitute glen and mountainside with hills, dunes, or whatever topography you live near-and feel as though it was written just down the road from you. When I think of the longevity of the song, it seems fitting that O Danny Boy started in Ireland hundreds of years ago, came to America, went to England and then on to the world.
For this week's Pickin' & Grinnin' In The Kitchen Spot O Danny Boy. I want to encourage you to watch the video-Paul sings the original 2nd verse- most performers leave it out. No matter how many times I hear the 2nd verse-I still get chills.
Before you start the video, go to the radio and pause it by clicking the first "button" starting on the left under the title. You need to do this-so you can hear the video. If you have dreaded dial up service (like I do)-I would suggest you click the button to start the video and then go do something else until it loads. Once it has downloaded then you can start it back to the beginning and watch it through.
Hope you enjoyed the song-and the history.