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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Danny Boy"
Published 1913
Genre Ballad
Writer Frederick Weatherly (Lyrics)

"Danny Boy" is a ballad written by Frederick Weatherly and usually set to the tune of the Londonderry Air; it is most closely associated with Irish communities.

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The lyrics to "Danny Boy" were written by the English lawyer and lyricist Frederick Weatherly in 1910. Although the lyrics were originally written for a different tune, Weatherly modified them to fit "Londonderry Air" in 1913 when his sister-in-law in America sent him a copy.[1] Ernestine Schumann-Heink made the first recording in 1915. Weatherly gave the song to the vocalist Elsie Griffin, who in turn made it one of the most popular songs in the new century. In 1928, Weatherly suggested that the second verse would provide a fitting requiem for the actress Ellen Terry.

"Danny Boy" was originally said to be intended as a message from a woman to a man, and Weatherly provided the alternative "Eily dear" for male singers in his 1918 authorised lyrics.[2] However, the song is actually sung by men as much as, or possibly more than, women. The song has been interpreted by some listeners as a message from a parent to a son going off to war or leaving as part of the Irish diaspora.

The song is widely considered an Irish anthem, although Weatherly was an Englishman. Nonetheless, "Danny Boy" is considered by many Irish Americans and Irish Canadians to be their unofficial signature song[citation needed].


(There are a number of variations on these lyrics.)

Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer's gone, and all the roses falling
'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide.
But come ye back when summer's in the meadow
Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow
'Tis I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow
Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.

But when ye come, and all the flowers are dying
If I am dead, as dead I well may be
You'll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an "Ave" there for me.
And I shall hear, tho' soft you tread above me
And all my grave will warmer, sweeter be
For ye shall bend and tell me that you love me
And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me. [1]


"Danny Boy" has been recorded many times by a variety of artists. Many versions are listed below by notable artists in descending chronological order.

  • 2009 - Lee Ji Eun on the original soundtrack of Korean movie "Paradise"
  • 2009 - Culann's Hounds on their album One for the Road
  • 2008 - Tim Janis on his album "An Enchanted Evening" and performed by Fionnuala Gill
  • 2008 - Celtic Thunder Sung a cappella on their album "Act Two"
  • 2008 - The Ten Tenors recorded it on their album "Nostalgica"
  • 2007 - Franc D'Ambrosio's album "Franc D'Ambrosio's Hollywood - Songs from the Silver Screen".
  • 2007 - Hayley Westenra's UK album Treasure and the international counterpart Celtic Treasure include her rendition of the song.
  • 2007 - Daniel Johns from Silverchair and Bernard Fanning from Powderfinger recorded a duet version of this song
  • 2007 - Damien Leith, winner of Australian Idol 2006, featured an acoustic version of his homeland's traditional song on his debut album, Where We Land. The version also features Leith on guitar and was originally recorded for a fan. Also recorded a raw version on his latest album Where We Land
  • 2006 - Finbar Wright,on his album "The Essential Finbar Wright" produced by Mike Batt
  • 2006 - Tir na n'Og, Serbian celtic band, recorded it on their debut album
  • 2006 - Till Brönner on his album Oceana
  • 2006 - Thomas Quasthoff on his album A Romantic Songbook
  • 2006 - The Poxy Boggards on Whiskey Business
  • 2006 - Natalie MacMaster, Cape Breton fiddler, on her Yours Truly album with vocals by Michael McDonald
  • 2006 - Great Big Sea recorded it for their live concert DVD Courage & Patience & Grit
  • 2006 - G4 on their Act 3 album
  • 2005 - The Choirboys (boyband) recorded the song on their album self-titled album
  • 2005 - Celtic Woman on their self-titled album (initially performed by Méav who also did the same thing for her Celtic Journey solo album and 2007 concert)
  • 2005 - Bryn Terfel on his album titled Bryn Terfel Sings Favourites (2003), reissued as Bryn double CD Special Edition
  • 2004 - Finbar Wright,Ronan Tynan,Anthony Kearns on The Irish Tenors album "Heritage"
  • 2004 - Brian Kennedy, recorded it on his Live in Belfast album
  • 2003 - Nigel Kennedy, recorded it on his Nigel Kennedy's Greatest Hits album with Liam O'Flynn and Osian Ellis
  • 2002 – Johnny Cash, who had recorded another version of the song in 1965, recorded it for American IV: The Man Comes Around, his final album to be released during his lifetime.
  • 2002 - Mireille Mathieu, recorded the French version titled L'enfant De L'Irlande Children of Ireland on her Amoureusement Votre 3 CD box set
  • 2002 - Megan Mullally (Karen of Will and Grace) recorded it on her album Big as a Berry.
  • 2002 - Eva Cassidy's recording of the song was posthumously published on the album Imagine
  • 2002 - Declan Galbraith The opening track on his debut album Declan
  • 2002 - Chloë Agnew on her self-titled album
  • 2002 - Brobdingnagian Bards recorded it for their album Songs of Ireland
  • 2002 - Andy Williams recorded it on his Danny Boy album re-released as Andy Williams-Danny Boy/Wonderful World 2 CD set on the Collectible label
  • 2002 - Ruben Blades recorded on the Grammy-winning album "Mundo".
  • 2001 - Off Kilter, add their Celtic rock influence to it on their album Etched In Stone, and then again on 2004's album The Live Tracks
  • 2000 - Tommy Fleming recorded it on his Contender album
  • 2000 - Judy Collins sang it at her Live at Wolf Trap concert (CD & DVD)
  • 1999 - Finbar Wright sang it in his Opera Concert broadcast on Public Television (VHS). The concert contained several non-operatic pieces.
  • 1999 - Irish Tenors, (Ronan Tynan, John McDermott and Anthony Kearns) recorded it on the Irish Tenors album
  • 1999 - Harry Connick Jr's big-band record Come By Me has a voice and piano take on this song. His character Daniel sings Danny Boy at a talent show in the movie Life Without Dick. As a cast member in the 1990 World War II aviation film Memphis Belle he sings the song at a dance. It becomes the principal music theme of the film, particularly prominent in the harrowing ending and the end credits
  • 1999 - Diana Krall performed the song with The Chieftains on their album Tears of Stone
  • 1999 - Charlotte Church recorded the song on her Voice of an Angel album
  • 1998 - Vox One recorded the song on their Chameleon album
  • 1996 - Joseph Flummerfelt arranged, conducted and recorded this piece with the Westminster Choir for the Spoleto Festival USA
  • 1996 - Don Walser recorded a version on Texas Top Hand; it's also included on Walser's best-of compilation, Dare To Dream.
  • 1994 - Black 47 for their album Home of the Brave, a rather different version, only retaining the melody and one of the original verses
  • 1993 - Séamus Kennedy recorded this song, prefaced with a number of partial variations, on By Popular Demand, Vol 1
  • 1993 - Mary O'Hara, Irish singer and harpist recorded it on her Song for Ireland CD on the Shanachie label (1993)
  • 1991 - My Friend The Chocolate Cake recorded a chamber pop version for their 1991 album My Friend The Chocolate Cake (re-released 1995)
  • 1991 - The Swingle Singers recorded the song for their album of folk songs, Around the World.
  • 1990 - Carly Simon recorded it for her album My Romance
  • 1989 - Kate Smith sang a version of it on The Irish Album reissued by RCA in 1989.
  • 1989 - Helen Gallagher performed the song as her character Maeve Ryan, on the final episode of the ABC-TV soap opera Ryan's Hope on January 13
  • 1988 - Brush Shiels, Irish rocker, performs a bluesy version on his album Fields Of Athenry
  • 1987 - Tony Bennett recorded this, released on his Columbia CD, Jazz, with Stan Getz on tenor sax, Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums
  • 1985 - The King's Singers, a cappella version on the album Watching the White Wheat
  • 1979-1991 - The Kelly Family recorded their first single called Danny Boy in 1979. In 1991 they put the song also on their album Honest Workers
  • 1976 - Elvis Presley recorded the song in 1976 during the Jungle Room Sessions at Graceland in Memphis, TN. The master take is available on From Elvis Presley Boulevard. Other takes are available on The Jungle Room Sessions and Platinum. The song was noted as one of his favourite songs and was played at his funeral. Elvis said it was his father Vernon's favourite song. A Live version is available on the live album Tucson '76.
  • 1975 - Joan Baez recorded the song as part of a medley, pairing it with Stephen Foster's I Dream of Jeannie, on her album Diamonds & Rust
  • 1974 - Les Humphries Singers recorded song on the album Kansas City in with John Lawton on vocals
  • 1972 - Roy Orbison on his 1972 Memphis album.
  • 1969-1999 - Tom Jones sang it on the first episode of his weekly television show and recorded it on Las Vegas to London, the Best of Tom Jones Live CD on the Spectrum label (1999).
  • 1969 - Cher recorded it on her Jackson Highway album
  • 1967 - Ray Price had a top 10 hit on Billboard magazine's Hot Country Singles chart in 1967, and is an example of his Nashville Sound output
  • 1965 - The Bachelors recorded the song on their album More great song hits
  • 1965 - Johnny Cash's first version of this song was recorded for Orange Blossom Special, which was remastered and reissued in 2002.
  • 1964 - Patti LaBelle and the Blue Belles recorded the song and released it in 1964. The song reached number seventy-six on the Billboard Hot 100.
  • 1964 - The Seekers recorded it on their first UK album The Seekers (also known as Roving with The Seekers)
  • 1964 - Joe Feeney, Irish tenor, performed the song numerous times, both on The Lawrence Welk Show
  • 1962 - Connie Francis on her Connie Francis Sings Irish Favorites album
  • 1962 - Maureen O'Hara Irish actress recorded it on her Maureen O'Hara Sings her Favourite Irish Songs album (1962, Columbia Records)
  • 1960-61 - Jim Reeves recorded it twice, A slow version for the Album Tall Tales and Short Tempers in 1960 and in 1961 he recorded a version that was released as a single. He always closed his shows with the song.
  • 1960 - Link Wray
  • 1959 - Harry Belafonte recorded live at Carnegie Hall.
  • 1959 - Conway Twitty recorded a rockabilly version in 1959 that reached No. 10 on the US Pop charts.
  • 1959 - Sleepy Matsumoto instrumental saxophone rearrangement.
  • 1958 - Sam Cooke recorded it on his self-titled album
  • 1958 - Elisabeth Schwarzkopf recording at Abbey Road Studios, London, England
  • 1950 - Al Hibbler recorded it for Atlantic Records
  • 1940-1962 - Judy Garland recorded it several times, once for her film Little Nellie Kelly (1940) MGM Records and again for her Miss Showbusiness album (1955, Capitol Records) and sang it live during her concerts in Dublin's famed Theatre Royal and at her now legendary New York Palace Theatre show. Her last recording of the song was in 1962 in London, for The London Sessions album again on the (Capitol) label.
  • 1939 - Gracie Fields sung this on the Soundtrack to her 1939 film 'Shipyard Sally,' and recorded the song once in 1939 and in 1978 for Jess Yates's TV show 'Stars on Sunday'
  • 1939 - Glenn Miller performed it as part of the Carnegie Hall concert on October 6. Miller's was the last of four bands performing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of ASCAP. The performance was recorded and released on the RCA Victor label.

In popular culture


Popular music

  • On The Beatles' 1970 final album Let It Be, at the end of the track "One After 909", John Lennon sings the (uncredited) opening of the song with altered, and unclear, lyrics.
  • In his faustian 1994 song "The Man Who Wrote Danny Boy", Joe Jackson implies that the author of "Danny Boy" created an immortal "perfect refrain".
  • Danny Boy is a rapper in the American hip hop group House of Pain. Track 9 of their debut album, Fine Malt Lyrics, is titled "Danny Boy" which ends with the lyrics and tune of the traditional song.[citation needed]


  • Danny Boy was the theme song for the long running television show The Danny Thomas Show, also known as Make Room For Daddy, from 1953 to 1964. [3]
  • Sung by Jack Rudolph (Steven Weber) many times in the show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip in the beginning of several of the scenes when he encounters Danny Tripp throughout the series. Rudolph also once sings the lead line as "Matty Boy" when he encounters Danny's partner, Matt Albie.
  • A recurring theme throughout The Adventures of Lano and Woodley, appearing as a jazz song and a campfire song, among others.
  • Sung by James on Spin City in front of the Mayor and Janelle
  • In the Torchwood episode Random Shoes, Eugene's father sings the song at Eugene's funeral.
  • The song is a favorite of the character Bernard O'Toole, from Tekkaman Blade. The old soldier often sung it to himself, and D-Boy's support mecha, Pegas, ended up recording the song in his memory banks during his first appearance.
  • In the first series of Round the Twist, characters could hear unseen ghosts on clarinet, saxophone and violin perform part of the song in each episode. Eventually, a choral rendition by the entire cast in the series' climax brought forth the ghosts to save the show's lighthouse from being destroyed.
  • In the Futurama episode "A Pharaoh to Remember", Zoidberg sings this song at Bender's fake funeral, in order to "express his sorrow".
  • Sung by a moat monster in an episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog, where Courage must defend a medicinal tree from getting cut down by Eustace.
  • In the OP for Armored Trooper Votoms: Pailsen Files, 'Danny Boy' is referenced in the lyrics.
  • Sung on the Frasier episode where Duke's bar was being closed.
  • The Simpsons Barney sings 'Danny Boy' during the episode Mommie Beerest where Moe's tavern is closed down.
  • Pig sings 'Danny Boy' many times during an episode of Barnyard in which he is to take part in a live Televised talent show
  • On The Muppet Show Beaker, Animal and The Swedish Chef (try) to sing it.
  • In the fifth season of Never Mind the Quality Feel the Width (1970) Patrick's friends sing Danny Boy to him at his farewell do before his return to Ireland.
  • In the fourth season of "30 Rock" (2009) Danny Baker (played by Cheyenne Jackson) sings several lines of 'Danny Boy' to Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski), but is interrupted when she gets a nose bleed.
  • In Episode 49 of MacGyver, titled "Fire and Ice" a man is singing "Danny Boy" in the men's shower room.


  • Musician Joe Jackson's song "The Man who Wrote Danny Boy" was released on his 1994 album Night Music. It is about a composer who sells his soul in order to write a melody as memorable and eternal as Danny Boy. He likens the genius of the song's immortality to that of Shakespeare and Bach.
  • Sung by boxer Barry McGuigan's father, Pat, before many of Barry's bouts.
  • In the video game Bioshock, the song starts playing when entering Fontaine's apartment in Mercury Suites. The recording was sung by Mario Lanza.
  • In the video game Grand Theft Auto IV, Packie, an Irish American character, sings "Oh Danny Boy" while drunk.


  • McCourt, Malachy (30 Mar 2005 (Reprint)). Danny Boy: The Legend of the Beloved Irish Ballad. New American Library. pp. 128. ISBN 0-451-20806-4. 

Catholic funeral controversy

"Danny Boy" enjoys some popularity as a funeral song. However, because it is not liturgical, its suitability for funerals is sometimes contested.[4]


  1. ^ "Fred Weatherly's own description of writing Danny Boy". Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  2. ^ "The true meaning of Danny Boy". Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  3. ^ Classic TV, ISBN 0-7935-4762-8, 1996, published by Hal Leonard Corporation
  4. ^ No blyine (2001-08-10), "'Danny Boy' cannot be played during Mass". National Catholic Reporter. 37 (36):11

External links

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Danny Boy
by Frederick Weatherly
Information about this edition
"Danny Boy" is a song whose lyrics are set to the Irish tune Londonderry Air. The lyrics were originally written for a different tune in 1910 by Frederick Weatherly, an English lawyer, and were modified to fit Londonderry Air in 1913 when Weatherly was sent a copy of the tune by his sister.

The first recording was made by Ernestine Schumann-Heink in 1915. Weatherly gave the song to Elsie Griffin, who made it one of the most popular in the new century. Weatherly later suggested in 1928 that the second verse would provide a fitting requiem for the actress Ellen Terry.— Excerpted from Danny Boy on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Oh, Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling Frederick Weatherly Ernestine Schumann-Heink

Oh, Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side,
The summer's gone, and all the roses falling,
It's you, it's you must go, and I must bide.
But come ye back when summer's in the meadow,
Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow,
It's I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow,
Oh, Danny Boy, oh Danny Boy, I love you so!

But when ye come, and all the flow'rs are dying,
If I am dead, as dead I well may be,
Ye'll come and find the place where I am lying,
And kneel and say an Ave there for me;
And I shall hear, though soft you tread above me,
And all my grave will warmer, sweeter be,
For you will bend and tell me that you love me,
And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me!

PD-icon.svg This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1929, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

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