Friday, March 14, 2008

Put This In Your Pipes

This is Shaun Clancy. He is an American hero. He manages Foley's, an Irish pub in midtown Manhattan, and he has banned the playing or singing of "Danny Boy" in his establishment for the entire month of March. Clancy has pointed out that what should be a somber and touching anthem (still played at many police and firefighter funerals) has become a mockery.

"Everybody thinks -- whatever race, creed or color -- that after three pints of Guinness, you're entitled to get up there and butcher the song."

"The Irish are not known for being a depressed group of people,'' Clancy said. "For the song associated with them to be 'Danny Boy' -- that's kind of akin to the Yankees winning the World Series and the fans breaking out into 'Ave Maria.'''

I for one would love to see Yankees fans blasting Ave Maria after a World Series, but I understand his point. "Danny Boy" is a song of mourning, and somehow it's become a celebratory anthem to be slaughtered with incorrect lyrics by drunken louts. How is this acceptable? Nobody crashes Memorial Day parties, gets blitzed on Coors Light and whips out a kazoo for an impromptu party edition of "Taps," do they?

But not everyone is on Clancy's side. Some are lashing out against the ban. Naturally, this constituency includes a city that always has it's priorities in order.

Even a Detroit radio station hitched its wagon to news of the ban and began promoting a "Danny Boy" marathon, a contest in which patrons will sing 1,000 back-to-back renditions of the song in the hopes of breaking a world record. Or so they say.

I'm with Clancy, and I'm calling on everyone to find a St. Pat's alternative to "Danny Boy." If you're going the traditional route, I suggest the much more celebratory "Whiskey in the Jar" (celebratory despite the fact that it centers on a thieving highwayman betrayed by a woman.) But my top choice would clearly be "Body of an American" by The Pogues, which became an Irish wake anthem on The Wire (and unlike the chump who wrote Danny Boy, The Pogues are actually Irish! Just ask Shane MacGowan's teeth!) Alternate suggestions are always welcome, but I encourage everyone to take a stand.

No comments: