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22nd Jun 2024

Irish music experts have decided on the ‘Best Irish Song of All Time’

Ronan Calvert

Irish Songs

Fifty experts involved in the Irish music industry have ranked their ‘Fifty Best Irish Songs of All Time’ and the results have been totted up.

The Irish Independent-ran feature mixes tunes from heavy hitters such as Thin Lizzy and U2 with alternative favourites from the likes of Whipping Boy and For Those I Love – and the eclectic concoction makes for fascinating reading.

You’re talking about everything from Luke Kelly’s ‘On Raglan Road’ to Denise Chaila’s 2020 single ‘Chaila’ here.

It’s controversial at times, but nonetheless compelling.

Top ten.

As you scroll down the list you will unsurprisingly find songs by Fontaines DC, Lankum, the Cranberries and others of their ilk.

But eyebrows have been raised wondering why there’s no place for efforts by the likes of Christy Moore, Rory Gallagher or Conor O’Brien’s Villagers.

The absence of any Hip Hop aside from Denise Chaila was also strange, despite the success of Rejjie Snow and the rising star of Cabra lyricist Kojaque.

You also feel Belfast rap group KNEECAP will be working their way onto these kinds of lists before long.

But for the sake of your attention span (and blood pressure?), we are going to jump right into the top ten of this one.

It’s one which featured three songs written by the legendary Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy and I think that’s something we can all get behind.

‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ finished ninth, one ahead of ‘Soon’ by shoegazers My Bloody Valentine, while ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ took eight and Lynott solo song ‘Old Town’ seventh.

Enya’s ‘Oronico Flow’ finished sixth, but Enya wasn’t the only haunting female vocalist in the top ten, just as Lynott wasn’t the only Irish legend with three songs in the top ten.

That’s because Sinead O’Connor’s legend is living on as we all knew it surely would.

The cathartic epic ‘Troy’ came in at fourth place, while her hit single ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ claimed third and rock-pop belter ‘Mandinka’ second.

All fully respectable picks, I’m sure you will agree.

The best Irish song of all time.

But what came first?

Spoiler alert: It wasn’t The Pogues’ fabulous ‘Rainy Night in Soho’ – that came fifth.

And spoiler alert: It wasn’t ‘Fairytale of New York’ – that was way back at 49th, some 22 places worse off than Italia ’90 anthem ‘Put Em Under Pressure’ in 27th.

The winner was a different kind of anthem – the anthem of a generation and the anthem of Ireland’s young people.

It could only really be the timeless ‘Teenage Kicks’ by The Undertones.

An absolute classic charged by the manic teenaged energy of Derry back in 1978.

Maybe not everybody who submitted their Top 50 recognised Teenage Kicks as their number one, but you can bet almost everyone had it in their top five or ten.

It’s the kind of punk belter that everybody can enjoy, no matter their musical preferences. It united people back then and it unites them today.

An imperfect list, but this is a perfect song and a pretty perfect winner.

TOP 10: (10) ‘Soon’ – My Bloody Valentine, (9) ‘Boys Are Back In Town’ – Thin Lizzy, (8) ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’ – Thin Lizzy, (7) ‘Old Town’ – Phil Lynott, (6) ‘Oronico Flow’ – Enya, (5) ‘Rainy Night in Soho’ – The Pogues, (4) ‘Troy’ – Sinead O’Connor, (3) ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ – Sinead O’Connor, (2) ‘Mandinka’ – Sinead O’Connor, (1) ‘Teenage Kicks’ – The Undertones

You can check out the full list by clicking here.

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