Few people split public opinion more than U2’s front man, Bono. For the best part of 40 years he’s been delighting us and sometimes irritating us in equal measure. But say what you like about him, he’s one of the world’s music superstars so when it comes songs, he knows what he’s talking about. To celebrate turning 60, he chose his top 40 songs by Irish artists.
He only allowed himself one song per act and the resulting list reads like a Who’s Who of Irish music over the last 40 years. But there are some lesser know lights in there that you may not have heard of and who are well worth checking.
When Bono does go for the obvious performers, he doesn’t always pick their most obvious song. For example, Brown Eyed Girl is Van Morrison’s most popular song with the most radio plays. Bono leaves it aside, however, and chooses Gloria instead.
Think of the Pogues and Fairy Tale of New York is like to spring to mind. Not with Bono, he goes with the lesser known but still brilliant, A Rainy Night in Soho.
Bono revealed his list on RTÉ’s Ryan Tubridy show, calling it the Full Irish. He said his birthday celebrations would be very quiet, not just because of coronavirus but because he didn’t want too much fuss anyway. He said: “I was actually going to have a quiet birthday anyway. I was going to just go for a long walk – that was the plan. A bit of a pilgrimage with the family.
“People are giving up a lot more than their birthdays. People are cancelling their weddings – funerals; think about that. It’s not really the moment for a big celebration. I’m just grateful that I got here.”
In a nod to the way he sparks controversy and strong opinions for and against, he thanked the people of Ireland for putting up with him.
The Full Irish Selection features mainly rock and pop acts but a few trad performers also get an honourable mention. Bono picks Springhill Mining Disaster by the Dubliners, and North and South of the River by Christy Moore.
Here’s his list in full.
• Horslips – Dearg Doom
• Van Morrison – Gloria
• Gilbert O’Sullivan – Get Down
• Thin Lizzy – Dancing in the Moonlight
• The Undertones – Teenage Kicks
• Stiff Little Fingers – Alternative Ulster
• The Boomtown Rats – Neon Heart
• The Radiators – Songs of the Faithful Departed
• The Blades – Downmarket
• Sinead O’Connor – Nothing Compares 2U
• Virgin Prunes- Caucasian Walk
• The Golden Horde – Friends In Time
• Ash – Shining Light
• Aslan – This Is (Live at Vicar Street 1999)
• Something Happens – Hello Hello Hello Hello Hello
• The Pogues – A Rainy Night in Soho
• Clannad – Theme from Harry’s Game
• Christy Moore – North and South of the River
• The Dubliners – Springhill Mining Disaster
• The Cranberries – Linger
• Republic of Loose – Comeback Girl
• Glen Hansard & Market Irglova – Falling Slowly
• Hothouse Flowers – Love Don’t Work This Way
• Andrea Corr – Time Enough for Tears
• Damien Rice – I Don’t Want to Change You
• Hozier – Take Me to Church
• Dermot Kennedy – Outnumbered
• Snow Patrol – Run
• SOAK – Everybody Loves You
• Sorcha Richardson – Ruin Your Night
• Fontaines D.C. – Boys In The Better Land
• The Murder Capital – More Is Less
• Inhaler – It Won’t Always Be Like This
• Imelda May – Black Tears
• Picture This – Take My Hand
• Scary Éire – The Dole Q
• Elma Orkestra & Ryan Vail – Am I Sad?
• Jacknife Lee – I’m Getting Tired with Beth Ditto and Earl St. Clear
• St Francis Hotel feat Waterstrider – We Fall Together (We Fall Apart)
• Paul Brady – The Island