One Great Cover looks at the greatest cover songs ever, and how they got to be that way.
“Danny Boy” is a song guaranteed to wring a tear from the misty eyes of most Irish natives, including this one (though, admittedly, there have occasionally been tears of rage shed in this parish over some versions – Cher, anyone?). Such lacrimation is particularly effusive among Irish emigres – again, including this writer – usually at the end of a long night in some foreign hostelry when faraway hills appear exponentially greener and more fertile than they once were. My compatriots and I are nothing if not shameless wool gatherers when there’s drink involved. Mind you, we’re also susceptible to putting our fists up on the slightest pretext. And if you want to take issue with that latter characterization, we can always settle it outside.
Of course, the delicious irony is that “Danny Boy,” for all that it’s something of an unofficial Irish anthem, was penned by, ahem, an Englishman. And so, a potted history.