Love it or loathe it, “Danny Boy” is a song for the ages. How well do you know it?
The melody comes from the famous “Derry Air’ song, with the lyrics set down in 1913 by British barrister and songwriter Frederick Edward Weatherly. Despite the song’s not-exactly-Irish origins, it has become an anthem of sorts for Ireland – particularly Irish immigrants and the Irish diaspora, who connected with the song’s sense of loss and yearning.
In 2013, for the 100th anniversary of the song, BBC4 released a documentary about its history and enduring appeal. “I believe that for 'Danny Boy' to have had such a huge cultural impact, it has to have tapped into the fundamental stuff – emotions and experiences that affect us all. 'Danny Boy' is certainly about loss, departure, even death. But crucially, it’s also uplifting – offering us that tantalizing hope of a possible reunion with the departed," director James Maycock said at the time.
“Danny Boy” has been recorded by everyone from Frank Paterson and Daniel O’Donnell to Bing Crosby, Johnny Cash, and even The Muppets. It’s a staple at solemn Irish ceremonies and often brought out as a party piece at the end of a night of festivities.
But how well do YOU know the words? Take the following lyric quiz, set to a rendition by the Irish Tenors, to test your mettle.
Good luck! Don’t forget to share your results.