“The Wolfe Tones will say farewell in 2024!” the website for the long-running Irish trio now says.
The Wolfe Tones - Tommy Byrne, Brian Warfield, and Noel Nagle - will perform a string of 'farewell' shows in Chicago, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia in March 2024, all before St. Patrick’s Day.
After a Galway gig in August, The Wolfe Tones will then be playing special 60th-anniversary concerts in Belfast and Dublin in October 2024, wrapping up "60 legendary years."
“All great things must come to an end," the band's website says, "but we plan to celebrate The Wolfe Tones' amazing 60-year career with a fitting tribute in 2024, as their fans in Ireland and around the globe bid farewell to arguably the world's most loved balladeers!”
“I never thought that we would go on so long," Singer Tommy Byrne told the Irish Sun.
"It’s been absolutely amazing, but I’m 80 next year and I think that would be a good time to stop.”
“I brought this motion to Brian and Noel and they agreed.
"To go out on a high like this would be a great tribute to the band.”
Byrne added: “Brian [Warfield] would like to go on with The Wolfe Tones until he drops, but at this point in my life, I like being in my garden. God knows we have been at this long enough.”
Warfield said: “I’d rather die on stage than in a nursing home, but I respect Tommy’s decision. It’s probably the right thing to do.
"I’ve seen other bands, I won’t name, who were huge in America but ended up playing dingy pubs.
“I wouldn’t like The Wolfe Tones to go that way. I’ll be 78 next year and Noel will be 79, so it’s time.”
Despite forming nearly six decades ago, The Wolfe Tones have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in recent months, thanks in part to a new, younger generation of fans.
On Spotify, the Irish band has more than 435k average monthly listeners. Their rendition of "Grace" has been streamed more than 12 million times, while two versions of their song "Come Out Ye Black and Tans" have been streamed more than a combined 20 million times.
In September, The Wolfe Tones drew "the biggest crowd ever in the Electric Arena" during the Electric Picnic music festival in Co Laois. Footage of their performance shows a crowd of mostly young people singing along enthusiastically.
Of course, The Wolfe Tones, an unapologetically Irish republican band, have also drawn controversy.
Their song "Celtic Symphony," written in 1987, features the line "ooh, ahh, up the 'Ra." The Irish women's soccer team was fined after being filmed singing it in their dressing rooms after a victory over Scotland in October 2022.
The song, meanwhile, surged to the number one spot on iTunes amidst the controversy, while Warfield said: "If you don’t like a song then don’t listen to it but dont’t try to stop others from listening to it."
‘If you don’t like a song then don’t listen to it but dont’t try to stop others from listening to it.’ - Brian WarfieldOctober 12, 2022
Previously, in 2020, the band's song "Come Out Ye Black and Tans" also topped the charts in the wake of an RIC commemoration controversy in Dublin.
This came just a few months after Steve Coogan, playing Irish farmer Martin Brennan, sang the famous Irish rebel song on his BBC show "This Time with Alan Partridge."
About The Wolfe Tones
The Wolfe Tones named themselves in honor of Theobald Wolfe Tone, the 18th-century Irish nationalist leader who was condemned to death by the occupying British forces but cheated the hangman the night before he was to be executed by cutting his own throat.
The band says the name and the symbol it evokes in Irish history and republicanism have inspired them since.
"The name seemed to fit into place from the start, we all nurtured a strong sense of national pride and identity," Brian Warfield has said.
In 1965, the year after the group went professional, The Wolfe Tones released their first album. They made their first of many trips to America in 1966.
In 1968, three years on from the release of their first album, The Wolfe Tones were voted the second most popular group in Ireland.
While their popularity boomed in Ireland, a New Year's Eve show in New York in 1969 helped spark their success in the US, which continues to this day.
Throughout their career, The Wolfe Tones have performed old Irish songs while writing a few new ones.