The Tradition of Tradition
Traditional Irish music has achieved worldwide success both in its own right and has had an influence on pop and rock music. Band’s such as ‘The Chieftans’ and ‘Clannad’ have achieved worldwide success, bringing traditional Irish music into the limelight around the world. Enya was a member of ‘Clannad’ before she left to pursue a solo career. She has since become Ireland’s best-selling solo musician of all time.
Not forgetting that the fact that traditional Irish music has also had a massive influence on bands such as Horslips with their mix of traditional Irish music with rock guitars and drums proving very popular stateside. Even one of Thin Lizzy’s biggest hits, ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ was covered by the heavy metal band ‘Metallica’.
The Power of Pop
Irish pop artists have always been successful outside the Emerald Ilse, but the two stand out acts who have set the benchmark have to be Westlife and Boyzone (even after their cringy performance on the ‘Late Late Show’ in 1993). These two boybands have achieved massive worldwide fame with their catchy pop songs. Westlife are in the top ten all-time top selling boybands list, with over 50 million records sold worldwide. Boyzone are not too far behind them either, with over 25 million records sold worldwide.
The Real Rockers of Rock ‘N’ Roll
When it comes to Irish Rock ‘N’ Roll, while there have been successful bands in a lot of the different rock genres, real Rock ‘N’ Roll is where the Irish bands really shine. U2, Thin Lizzy, Rory Gallagher and Van Morrison are names that all come to mind.
Thin Lizzy are associated with having a cult following and are true icons of Rock ‘N’ Roll, especially the enigmatic Phil Lynott. They were an amazing band, and are often credited with kickstarting the Rock ‘N’ Roll movement in Ireland.
Van Morrison although known for his somewhat strange personality from time to time, he is loved by the world over with albums being critically acclaimed and regularly referred to as the greatest albums of all time.
Rory Gallagher has to be one of the greatest blues guitarists of all time, with admirers all over the world, which included the great Jimi Hendrix. Jimi was once asked how it felt to be the greatest guitarist of all time, to which he replied, ‘I don’t know, you’ll have to ask Rory Gallagher’. Rory even has a festival dedicated to him in Donegal.
U2 are one of the biggest bands in the world of all time and don’t look like slowing down anytime soon!. Formed in the late 70’s, they’ve sold over 170 million records and won more Grammys than any other band in the existence. Not only are a big part of Irish Rock ‘N’ Roll, but ‘Temple Bar is where it all began for this Northside crew.
The New Kids of Rock
The Irish music scene has always had a history of unearthing great acts and it looks like the future is just as bright. Acts such as The Script, Gavin James, Kodaline, Little Green Cars, Villagers, Walking on Cars and Hozier are reaching dizzying heights of fame on a global level and continue to carry the torch for Irish music around the globe. But let’s not forget the golden oldies!!!