Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 4 (4 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   6 comments

Life Arts

Danny Boy (One of a Kind!)

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H4 3/4/11

Become a Fan
  (6 fans)
- Advertisement -

                         Danny Boy"(One of a Kind!)

Rarely do melodies get matched with perfect lyrics.   Indeed, Danny Boy's melody, originally known as "Londonderry Air" or "Air from County Derry" (composer unknown) was first   collected and published around the year 1855.   The melody is reputed to have had as many as one hundred different sets of lyrics composed to fit it   (- before the Danny Boy words.)   Although many sets of religious lyrics (hymns) were created, the most popular title (with its accompanying lyrics) was "Would God I Were the Tender Apple Blossom," an Irish love song written by Katherine Hinkson.   In about the same period, the great Irish poet, Thomas Moore, created lyrics for the melody and named it   "My Gentle Harp."    The ultimate lyrical match for the Irish melody came from an English lawyer, Fred Weatherly in 1913 and it soon became a hit in both Europe and America.

It is instructive to consider what there was about the Danny Boy lyrics that created the intense emotional synergy between the words and the Irish melody.   Weatherly wrote two verses to the song, with the first setting up the second for a strongly emotional climax, which invariably activates large numbers of lachrymal glands.   (Okay"this is a "tear-jerker!")   In the first verse, a father contemplates his son's leaving (presumably for one of many wars,) and expresses his deep love to "Danny boy," as the lad goes away, assuring him that he'll be there when he returns, -whether it be in summer or winter.   In the second (final verse) the father's forebodings emerge ("- as dead I may well be"") He foresees Danny's finding his burial

place, where he will "kneel and say an Ave there for me." And as he lies in his grave" "warmer and sweeter it will be."   And then, the almost unbearable ending:

"For you will bend, and tell me that you love me, And I will sleep in peace until you come to me."

(A few words about music and lyrics - and a critical aspect of a musical performance.) In an instrumental performance of a song, a player should play the melody's notes exactly as though he or she were singing the words !    ( This obviously does not apply to jazz to the same extent, since improvisation is such an important element of that musical medium. )

- Advertisement -

Here are the two verses.   Please keep the above in mind, as you listen to this beautiful old song.

Danny Boy by Phil Klein

Danny Boy (Londonderry Air)   lyrics by Fred Weatherly

Verse 1

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,_

Next Page  1  |  2


I have spent a long and interesting life involved in music, as a performer (piano,) educator (at every level from elementary to graduate school,) solo pianist, bandleader, composer/songwriter; entertainer, storyteller and humorist. In my final (more...)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Mother Machree

Danny Boy (One of a Kind!)

THE STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER (some interesting facts)


What Everyone Should Know About Einstein and the Atomic Bomb

The Song; My Melancholy Baby


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
4 people are discussing this page, with 6 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Danny Boy has a fascinating history.   I... by Phil Klein on Friday, Mar 4, 2011 at 9:00:46 PM
I'm also a movie lover, and a Cohen Brothers movie... by GLloyd Rowsey on Sunday, Mar 6, 2011 at 10:15:53 AM
Hopefully this is just the first of many entries y... by Mike Preston on Saturday, Mar 5, 2011 at 5:55:47 AM
There is a link to more of Mr. Klein's music at hi... by Mike Preston on Saturday, Mar 5, 2011 at 6:05:53 AM
The U-Tube (and the second verse) is only on the s... by GLloyd Rowsey on Sunday, Mar 6, 2011 at 10:28:49 AM
My mother would sing it to me, and I always felt l... by Daniel Geery on Sunday, Mar 6, 2011 at 11:57:53 AM