Top Rock Songs with an Irish “Sound”
Before any purists get all twisted out of shape, these are not all Irish bands, but they are bands that feature a nice Irish vibe in their music. Also, being Irish alone is not the only qualifier, plenty of talented Irish bands out there who sound just as mainstream and boring as Jason Mraz…
The Cranberries – Salvation
Dolores had an amazing voice, and the band was truly diverse. “Salvation” is a fast-paced rocker about the dangers of addiction. This one is not close to traditional Irish, but it is a solid song and I miss Dolores, so this makes the list.
The Dubliners – The Irish Rover
They are one of the first Irish bands to make a living recording their music. Here they are with a true Irish classic, with a little help from The Pogues. Warning: do not stare at Shane MacGowan’s teeth…
U2 – Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Bono says this is not a rebel song, but listening to the lyrics, it sure as hell sounds like one to me, and then you throw in Larry Mullen’s militaristic drum beat… Early U2 had a definite Celtic Rock vibe, never better exhibited than on this classic about the senseless murder of Irish Nationals.
Sinead O’Conner – Oro Se do Bheatha Bhaile
This is a traditional Irish song rumored to be 200 years old, being performed by the most wonderful Irish voice to ever grace the rock world (apologies to the still grieving fans of Dolores O’Riordan).
The Coors – Toss the Feathers
The four Irish siblings dish out some fun, traditional Irish music on “Toss the Feathers.” Most of their music is sweet and mellow, but not this one. This raucous instrumental features addictive violin and tin whistle throughout.
Black 47 – Green Suede Shoes
Larry Kirwan knows as much about Irish rock as anyone in this country. His band Black 47 broke through after he moved to New York from Ireland and released “Funky Ceili.” This one, like most of their catalog is less known, but better.
Dropkick Murphys – Rose Tattoo
Celtic rock from Boston with clear punk rock influences. They are huge in their hometwon, but their popularity stretches far and wide. This is one of their more mainstream hits, and one that they once recorded with Springsteen.
The Rumjacks – A Fistful O’ Roses
Irish punk rock delivered from Down Under. Their music is typically furious, breakneck punk, but this one is a wee bit subdued. Another “Irish rose” song that makes the list.
Flogging Molly – Drunken Lullabies
Irish rock from Los Angeles, and it is always a rowdy good time. This one captures the essence of these talented rockers who have ruled the North American St. Patty’s tour scene for the past decade.
The Pogues – Dirty Old Town
This song was written 75 years ago about a town in England, but it has become an Irish classic over the years. It was also one of the first songs we recognized in a musty old pub on our recent trip to Ireland.
Thin Lizzy – Whiskey In the Jar
One of the first Irish rock bands to achieve commercial success. This track features another traditional Irish song… this one highlighted by the distinctive, comfortable growl of the late Phil Lynott.
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