Danny Boy, by Frederic Weatherly

Danny Boy is a traditional Irish song that this year celebrates its 100th anniversary... more or less.

The lyrics were written by Frederic Weatherly in 1910, and the tune is based on the Londonderry Air, an Irish melody that was first referenced in 1855, although some studies point that it could have been composed over half a century earlier.

Then, why do we say it's the anniversary of the song? Because it was not until 1913 that Weatherly had the idea of updating the lyrivs of his Danny Boy to adapt them to the rythm of Londonderry Air (mainly because he didn't know about this melody, that was introduced to him when a relative sent the script to him a year before.)

Since then, the song has become an anthem for the Irish community. Not only for the ones that migrated to the United States, but also back home in Northern Ireland, where Londonderry Air is considered by many as important as their national anthem (in fact, in some events it is used in sport events, although not with the lyrics of Danny Boy.)

The version that accompanies this article is from the Irish Tenors, but you can find many different adaptations as the song has been covered by multiple artists of all the genres: from Judy Garland to Elvis Presley, through Johnny Cash or Cher... and, of course, by the Irish band Celtic Woman.

Article published on March 16, 2013.
This article has been modified since its original publication.