"Danny Boy" is a ballad set to a traditional Irish melody. English songwriter Frederic Weatherly wrote the lyrics in Bath, Somerset, England in 1913. The lyrics were rearranged in order to better suit the accompanying melody of "Londonderry Air" after Weatherly heard a copy of the tune sent to him from the US by his sister, affectionately known as 'Jess'.
|Songwriter(s)||Frederic Weatherly (lyrics) in 1910|
In Bath, Somerset in 1910, English lawyer and lyricist Frederic Weatherly initially wrote the words to "Danny Boy" to a tune other than "Londonderry Air". After his Irish-born sister-in-law Margaret (known as Jess) in the United States sent him a copy of "Londonderry Air" in 1913 (an alternative version of the story has her singing the air to him in 1912 with different lyrics), Weatherly modified the lyrics of "Danny Boy" to fit the rhyme and meter of "Londonderry Air".
Jane Ross of Limavady is credited with collecting the melody of "Londonderry Air" in the mid-19th century from a musician she encountered.
The 1913 lyrics by Frederick E. Weatherly:
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 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, 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,
Various suggestions exist as to the true meaning of "Danny Boy". Some have interpreted the song to be a message from a parent to a son going off to a war or uprising (as suggested by the reference to "pipes calling glen to glen") or leaving as part of the Irish diaspora.
The 1918 version of the sheet music included alternative lyrics ("Eily Dear"), with the instructions that "when sung by a man, the words in italic should be used; the song then becomes "Eily Dear", so that "Danny Boy" is only to be sung by a lady". In spite of this, it is unclear whether this was Weatherly's intent. Indeed, the song has been covered by a diverse range of male singers, including Mario Lanza, Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Eric Clapton, Johnny Cash, Sam Cooke, Elvis Presley, Shane MacGowan, Jackie Wilson, Daniel O'Donnell, Harry Belafonte, Tom Jones, John Gary, Frank Patterson, Jacob Collier, Harry Connick Jr., and comedian Peter Kay amongst many others. All used the original lyrics.
- "Danny Boy" is an unofficial signature song and anthem, particularly by Irish Americans and Irish Canadians.
- "Danny Boy" is the Anthem of Northern Ireland. Due to the complicated politics of Northern Ireland, a constituent nation of the United Kingdom on the island of Ireland (and populated by people of Irish and Scottish descent), anthems of both of those countries are used by their respective communities to indicate allegiance. For several sporting events where Northern Ireland competes individually, such as the Commonwealth Games, the local song “A Londonderry Air” is used as its anthem.
- The song is popular for funerals; but, as it is not liturgical, its suitability as a funeral song is sometimes contested. In 1928, Weatherly himself suggested that the second verse would provide a fitting requiem for the actress Ellen Terry.
- On 13 April 2013, the South Korean girl group Girls' Generation released the concert album of the 2011 Girls' Generation Asia Tour. The song is on CD 2, track number 7.
- Figure skating world champion Javier Fernández skated an exhibition program to Danny Boy choreographed by David Wilson, which Fernández debuted in Boston following his victory at the 2016 World Figure Skating Championships.
- "Danny Boy", without lyrics, was the theme song for the television show Make Room for Daddy (1953-1957), later The Danny Thomas Show (1957-1964).
- Opera singer Renée Fleming sang "Danny Boy" at the funeral service for Senator John McCain on 1 September 2018.
- "Danny Boy", with modified lyrics and music was used in Rubén Blades' album Mundo.
- During The Beatles' rooftop concert on 30 January 1969, band member John Lennon jokingly sings an adjusted version of the opening line of "Danny Boy" right after the song "One After 909", which is included in The Beatles' album Let It Be.
|1939||Gracie Fields||Shipyard Sally soundtrack|
|1940||Judy Garland||Little Nellie Kelly soundtrack||Garland also sang it live at her concerts in Ireland and Scotland and most famously at her New York Palace Theatre debut in 1951|
|1940||Glenn Miller and His Orchestra||Single only||#17 in "Pop Memories 1890-1954" (not from "Billboard's" charts); Arranged by Glenn Miller and pianist Chummy MacGregor|
|1941||Bing Crosby||Merry Christmas||Paired with "I'll Be Home for Christmas" on its original single. Originally recorded July 5, 1941.|
|1941||Deanna Durbin||It Started with Eve (musical comedy film)||YouTube, "Deanna Durbin sings 'Danny Boy' for Charles Laughton". (by music rights clearance)|
|1950||Eugene Conley||Eugene Conley, Robert Farnon And His Orchestra– A Concert of Favorites by Eugene Conley (tenor)||Released with "I Hear You Calling Me," "Ah! Sweet Mystery Of Life," "Forgotten," "Because," "Thine Alone," "I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen," Beloved.|
|1950||Al Hibbler||Single only||#9 on the R&B chart|
|1955||Slim Whitman||Single only|
|1956||Ruby Murray||The Voice of Ireland||Released as part of her Irish songs album.|
|1959||Conway Twitty||Saturday Night||#10 on Billboard Hot 100 and #18 on R&B charts and #1 in Italy (banned by the BBC)|
|1961||Jim Reeves||The Blizzard/Danny Boy 7" 45rpm vinyl LP||#27 on RCA Victor 7855 in "Music Vendor"|
|1961||Andy Williams||Danny Boy and Other Songs I Love to Sing||#15 on the U.S. adult contemporary and #64 on the Hot 100 charts|
|1962||Connie Francis||Connie Francis Sings Irish Favorites||Released as an all-Irish album.|
|(numerous albums)||Judith Durham also performed it solo on many albums and TV appearances|
|1964||Harry James||One Night Stand With Harry James on Tour in '64||Buddy Rich on drums|
|1964||Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles||Sweethearts of the Apollo||#76 on Hot 100|
|1965||Johnny Cash||Orange Blossom Special|
|1965||Jackie Wilson||Single only||#94 on Hot 100 and #25 on R&B charts|
|1967||Ray Price||Danny Boy||#60 on Hot 100 and #9 on Country charts|
|1967||Tom Jones||13 Smash Hits||Also included in 1969 album Tom Jones Live in Las Vegas|
|1972||Glen Campbell||The Artistry of Glen Campbell|
|1976||Elvis Presley||From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee||Recorded in response to a request from his father, Vernon, this is from Elvis' penultimate studio recording session in February 1976, recorded in the Jungle Room of Elvis' home in Graceland.|
|1978||The Kelly Family||Danny Boy / Agur Jaunak|
|1979||Willie Nelson||One for The Road||Recorded on Nelson's 1979 collaboration album One for The Road with singer-songwriter Leon Russell|
|1979||Thin Lizzy||Black Rose: A Rock Legend||Gary Moore and Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy had previously recorded an instrumental version, titled Dan, on their Tribute to Deep Purple album in 1972|
|1990||Carly Simon||My Romance|
|1990||Frank Patterson||Miller's Crossing soundtrack||Also included in 1999 album, Ireland In Song|
|1991||Bill Evans||Time Remembered||Recorded in 1963; released on the CD-version of the album in 1991|
|1992||Eric Clapton||Change the world||Instrumental recording as bonustrack|
|1992||John McDermott||Independent recording|
|1998||Jacintha Abisheganaden||Here's To Ben – A Vocal Tribute To Ben Webster||Groove Note|
|2002||Johnny Cash||American IV: The Man Comes Around||American Recordings, Universal|
|2002||Eva Cassidy||Imagine||Blix Street|
|2004||Carol Noonan||Somebody's Darling||Performed live and noted by NPR|
|2005||Celtic Woman||Celtic Woman||Performed by Méav Ní Mhaolchatha. Rereleased in the 2015 album Decade. The Songs, The Show, The Traditions, The Classics|
|2009||Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra||Danny Boy, Live at Red Rocks||Performed live at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado during the 2009 Central US Tour. Arranged by Mack Wilberg. The performance was recorded and it is available at Mormon Tabernacle Choir's YouTube Channel|
|2012||BYU's Vocal Point||Danny Boy||Available on the Vocal Point YouTube Channel|
|2013||Girls' Generation||2011 Girls' Generation Tour||CD 2, #7, the song is sung by five members (Taeyeon, Tiffany, Seohyun, Jessica, Sunny)|
|2013||The Gothard Sisters||Compass||#11|
|2015||Damien Leith||Songs from Ireland||#11 in Australia|
|2015||Lisa Hannigan||Fargo||Season 2, Episode 7 "Did you do this? No, you did it!"|
|2015||Jacob Collier||Maida Vale session for BBC||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXIApugIuqk|
|2017||Bill Evans||Empathy||Recorded in 1962 featuring 3:41 version with the trio - bonus 10:43 solo piano version added to JAZZTWINS 2017 vinyl release|
|2019||Andrea Bocelli||Sì Forever (The Diamond Edition)||Called Ragazzo Mio (Danny Boy) and is sung in both Italian and English|
- "Fred Weatherly's own description of writing Danny Boy". Retrieved 2010-03-09.
- In Sunshine And In Shadow: The family story of Danny Boy by Anthony Mann (Weatherly's great grandson) ISBN 1300775017
- George Petrie: The Ancient Music of Ireland, 1855
- "The 'Danny Boy' Trivia Collection". www.standingstones.com. Retrieved 2019-12-17.
- "The true meaning of Danny Boy". Standingstones.com. Retrieved 2010-03-09.
- McCourt, Malachy (30 Mar 2005). Danny Boy: The Legend of the Beloved Irish Ballad (Reprint ed.). New American Library. p. 128. ISBN 0-451-20806-4.
- Hinnesbusch, Patricia D. "Irish Song Danny Boy Meaning and History of Irish Ballads." Symbol Meaning for Hundreds of Symbols & Symbol Resources. Living Arts Enterprises, LLC, 14 Sept. 2010.
- National Anthems ""
- Londonderry Air
- No byline (2001-08-10), "'Danny Boy' cannot be played during Mass". National Catholic Reporter. 37 (36):11
- " Danny Boy (2011 Girls' Generation Tour)". Youtube.com. 2012-12-19. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
- "Danny Boy (Londonderry Air) (song by The Glenn Miller Orchestra) ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts". Musicvf.com. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
- "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
- Inc, Nielsen Business Media (1950-10-14). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.
- "Danny Boy (song by Al Hibbler) ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts". Musicvf.com. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
- "Ruby Murray – The Voice Of Ireland". Discogs. Discogs. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
- "Danny Boy (song by Conway Twitty) ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts". Musicvf.com. 1959-09-28. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-01-21. Retrieved 2013-08-14.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "HPI - Settimana del 26/03/60". Hitparadeitalia.it. 2007-03-25. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
- Leigh, Spencer (2008). This Record Is Not to Be Broadcast Vol. 2: 50 More Records Banned by the BBC (liner notes). Fantastic Voyage. FVDD 038.
- "Danny Boy (song by Andy Williams) • Music VF, US & UK hits charts". Musicvf.com. 1961-10-30. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
- "Danny Boy (song by Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles) ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts". Musicvf.com. 1964-12-19. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
- "Danny Boy (song by Jackie Wilson) ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts". Musicvf.com. 1965-02-27. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
- "Danny Boy (song by Ray Price) ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts". Musicvf.com. 1967-03-25. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
- "Somebody's Darling: Songs of War, Loss and Remembrance A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange by Roberta B. Schwartz". 2005. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
- "Stone Mountain LIVE appearance". 2008-05-08. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
- "A 'Danny Boy' for My Father". 2006-03-12. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
- "Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra. Danny Boy. Arranged by Mack Wilberg. Colorado, Red Rocks Amphitheater, 2009. Live performance recorded". 2009-06-29. Retrieved 2017-12-11.
- "Danny Boy - BYU Vocal Point". 2012-11-14. Retrieved 2018-06-08. or the "Music Video Hits, Vol. 1" album
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- The Legend and History of the Song Danny Boy
- Danny Boy 1913 sheet music from Duke University Libraries
- Libera (choir):