Today marks the 31st anniversary of the death of legendary vocalist and musician, Luke Kelly. The founding member of famous Irish traditional group, The Dubliner’s, Kelly died on the 30th January 1984, at the young age of 44.
A musical icon, he remains the greatest balladeer this country has ever produced, and as a tribute to the Irish musical legacy he leaves behind, we remember the talents of Kelly through five of his greatest live performances ever.
1. Raglan Road
The famous lyrics penned by Patrick Kavanagh were well and truly brought to life by Kelly. This vocal performance from 1979 is by far one of the Dubliner’s greatest versions of the folk song.
2. Scorn Not His Simplicity
Kelly’s rendition of Phil Coulter’s powerful ballad on The McCann Man back in 1974 was, as the host Jim McCann states at the beginning of this clip, “the definitive recording of it and should be left at that.”
3. Black Velvet Band
This video dates back to 1970, where Kelly gave a rousing performance of the infamous Black Velvet Band on an English chat show. Watch out for a fresh faced Christy Moore in the crowd at 2.27.
4. Dirty Old Town
This love song about Salford in Manchester is probably one of the tracks that is most associated with Kelly. This live version dates back to 1976.
5. The Town I Love So Well
One of the most poignant Irish songs even written, again by Derry singer-songwriter, Phil Coulter. Kelly’s interpretation of this moving ballad is one of our standout live performances.
We think you’ll agree that there is simply be no rendition of any song quite as good as a Luke Kelly version.
All videos courtesy of kellyoneill on YouTube.
Lead image via itsthedubliners.com