Whether you’re drinking a green beer or waiting with the throngs downtown to see the St. Patrick’s Day parade, March 17 is a day when everyone gets to be Irish, their ethnic roots notwithstanding.
Here are a few songs guaranteed to get you into the Irish spirit for a day of emerald green festivities.
The Isle of Innisfree (The Quiet Man Soundtrack)
This beautiful melody featured in the classic Irish film, The Quiet Man, featuring John Wayne, is a perfect and wistful way to wake up early in the morning as the sun rises on St. Patrick’s Day. Even if you aren’t Irish, this song will make you long for a homeland you didn’t know you lost.
I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down – Elvis Costello
Originally released by duo Sam and Dave in 1967, the Elvis Costello cover was included on his 1980 album “Get Happy.” This upbeat tune by one of Ireland’s most famous native sons will put a smile on your face and make you appreciate your surroundings.
Sunday Bloody Sunday – U2
For those of us in the U.S., hardly a St. Patrick’s Day goes by without hearing this song once (or twenty times). U2’s anthem lamenting the “troubles” between the two Irelands is a modern rock and roll classic, and never more appropriate than on March 17, when all Americans have their eye on the emerald isle.
Come On Eileen – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
Although the band hails from England, not Ireland, most listeners don’t know that – Come On Eileen is a New Wave standard on St. Patrick’s Day, with just enough bouncy pop to get your feet moving.
Bright Side of the Road – Van Morrison
Another one of the great Irish rockers of the 20th century brings us what certainly must be his most optimistic track – definitely appropriate for a good old-fashioned party in the street in the chilly days of mid-March.
I’m Shipping Up to Boston – The Dropkick Murphys
Moving into the Celtic Punk genre, there’s no one like the Dropkick Murphys to get a real party started. This song, about a sailor searching for his wooden leg, was featured in The Departed, a movie that won Best Picture at the Oscars in 2007. It’s also become an anthem for various Boston sports teams.
Seven Drunken Nights – Dubliners
This traditional Irish drinking song has been covered by many groups over the years. Though it makes no bones about enjoying a pint or two (or more), this song is like many popular Irish drinking songs – it gained its popularity in the neighborhood pub. Slainte!
Devil’s Dance Floor – Flogging Molly
You can spot a great dancing song as soon as you hear the first notes sometimes, and this is one of them. It’s a real foot-stomping tune that goes well with a pub singalong and a pint of Guinness.
She’s So Modern – The Boomtown Rats
Irish rockers The Boomtown Rats, with lead singer and activist Bob Geldof, released this song in 1978, before their international hit “I Don’t Like Mondays.” While the latter song is more fun to sing along to, this one is better for a party. She’s So Modern is an aggressively New Wave example of the Boomtown Rats oeuvre.
Donald Where’s Your Troosers – Irish Rovers
This song, about a Scotsman who wears a kilt instead of long pants, isn’t exactly Irish, but at this point in the night, who can tell? This comic Celtic track is a good shout out to the fierce neighbor of Ireland, Scotland.
Danny Boy – Bing Crosby
As the evening wears down and the pub crawl grinds to an ungainly halt, there’s no better way to close out the day than with a karaoke swan song version of Danny Boy – preferably in the style of Bing Crosby.