Danny Boy (Oh Danny Boy) is in fact one of many lyrics set to the folk tune Londonderry Air. The origins of Londonderry Air are unknown, the lyrics of Danny Boy however were written by the English lawyer, Frederic Edward Weatherly (1848-1929). It appears that he originally wrote a tune for his lyrics of Danny Boy, but the tune was not a success. Some records indicate that Weatherly's American sister-in-law sent him the tune of Londonderry Air, and Weatherly immediately realised that it fit perfectly to his lyrics of Danny Boy. The tune is often considered as Irish, even though Weatherly was English and Danny Boy is popular around the entire English-speaking world. Weatherly's won biography entitled Piano ad Gowns (1926) shed more light on the creation of Danny Boy:

In 1912 a sister-in-law in America sent me "The Londonderry Air". I had never heard the melody or even heard of it. By some strange oversight Moore had never put words to it, and at the time I received the MS. I did not know that anyone else had done so. It so happened that I had written in March of 1910 a song called "Danny Boy," and re-written it in 1911. By lucky chance it only required a few alterations to make it fit that beautiful melody. After my song had been accepted by a publisher I got to know that Alfred Percival Graves had written two sets of words to the same melody, "Emer's Farewell" and "Erin's Apple-blossom," and I wrote to tell him what I had done. He took up a strange attitude and said that there was no reason why I should not write a new set of words to the "Minstrel Boy," but he did not suppose I should do so! The answer of course is that Moore's words, "The Minstrel Boy" are so "perfect a fit" to the melody that I certainly should not try to compete with Moore. But beautiful as Grave's words are, they do not to my fancy suit the Londonderry air. They seem to have none of the human interest which the melody demands. I am afraid my old friend Graves did not take my explanation in the spirit which I hoped from the author of those splendid words, "Father o' Flynn." However, "Danny Boy" is accepted as an accomplished fact and is sung all over the world by Sinn Feiners and Ulstermen alike, by English as well as Irish, in America as well as in the homeland, and I am certain "Father o' Flynn" is equally popular, as it deserves to be, and its author need have no fear that I shall be so foolish as to write a new version of that song. (from Piano and Gowns, pp 277-279).

Danny Boy has been recorded by many artists, and featured in many movies, most prominently in the 1990 motion picture Memphis Belle, where a crooning Harry Connick Jr. gives the melody a very Jazzy inflection. It was also featured on The Danny Thomas TV show

Click Preview for arrangements
Artists Songs
Sheet Music
Comments (0)
87 Arrangements - select instrument:
Solo Banjo
Banjo Preview Great Scores licenced Sheet Music
Level: Original Genre: Popular & Folk Pages: 2
Banjo Preview Great Scores licenced Sheet Music
Level: Original Genre: Irish / Traditional Pages: 2

Press preview to view Danny Boy (Traditional) Sheet Music

Great Scores licenced and Great Scores licenced can be viewed directly in your browser - no download is required. These can be printed just once but at any time

No Comments Found - Be the first to post. To post you need to Login If you do not have an account you may Register