"I had the good fortune to meet Liam Clancy of the Clancy Brothers once and while talking with him over a cup of tea I mentioned my affection for the Pogues to which he replied, 'The Pogues are a cross between the Clancy Brothers and the Sex Pistols...with five teeth between them.'" -customer review of the Pogues' If I Should Fall From Grace With God on Amazon.com
The Clancy Brothers - Paddy, Bob, Liam, and Tom - and Tommy Makem are almost single-handedly responsible for the popularizing of Irish traditional music in the United States. Beginning with their first recording of Irish rebel songs,The Rising of the Moon
, in 1956, the Clancy Brothers went from a little band of Irish actors singing on the side to international renown.Rising of the Moon
includes the song "The Wind That Shakes the Barley," which would later be the title of one of the best movies ever made about the Irish "Troubles."
The Clancys' appearance onThe Ed Sullivan Show
in 1961 vaulted them to major stardom and a deal with John Hammond at Columbia Records. Ironically, the band had received handmade Aran knit sweaters from Ireland just before the Sullivan gig and wore them at their manager's insistence. The sweaters became their trademark.
The Clancys would go on to release three albums in 1961 and ended the year playing at Carnegie Hall. In 1962, Ireland discovered the Clancy's music and they were an instant success. By 1964, one-third of all the records sold in Ireland were by the Clancy Brothers. Bob Dylan has always mentioned the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem as seminal influences.
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One by one, all the brothers except Liam passed away in the 1990s and earlier this decade. Tommy Makem passed in 2007, leaving only Liam, the youngest Clancy Brother.Note: Rocks Off's own "Classic Rock Bob" Ruggiero reviewed the Clancys' Live at Carnegie Hall, 1963 reissue earlier this year.