Friday, March 7, 2008

"Danny Boy" Ban

We all know the classic, Irish-related ballad known as "Danny Boy." We also all know that St. Patrick's Day is coming up, and that's the Irish holiday. It seems natural that the two would go together - amongst other Irish ballads, play "Danny Boy" on March 17th.

Has anyone ever questioned that though?

An owner of a Manhattan pub called "Foley's Pub" is putting a ban on playing "Danny Boy" for not only St. Patty's Day, but the entire month of March. Why? Because it's depressing, it's not sung in Ireland on St. Patty's Day because of that, and the song wasn't even written by an Irishman! I love the song, and it's held a special significance in my family because we are Irish and my brother's name is Daniel. And I could get past the sad nature of the song on this happy holiday if it were truly an Irish song.

But it was written by an Englishman who never even visited Ireland! One funny thing about it is that he wrote it after his sister apparently sent him the music to a song called "The Derry Air" (say that out loud...get it?)

Anyway, The article that I read about this offered the alternative, a bar owner in Detroit who will be having a "Danny Boy" marathon on St. Patty's weekend, playing it over 50 hours in 1,000 different renditions. I don't care what song it is that you're playing in variations for 50 hours...this guy must have an extremely mentally stable staff to put up with that. And when it comes to siding with a bar called "AJ's Cafe" in Detroit or "Foley's Pub," owned by an Irishman Shaun Clancy who started bartending when he was 12 in his father's pub in Ireland, the choice is clear.

It's unfortunate to learn that "Danny Boy" isn't really Irish, so I definitely don't blame Clancy for his decision. A smart businessman, he's even offered a free pint of the good stuff for anyone who sings an Irish song other than Danny Boy at his pre-St. Pat's karaoke party. However, it's hard not to still like the song - I'll just have to listen to it on different, more sobering occasions.

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