Irish Rock Music: Play or Listen to this Famous and Exciting Form of Irish Expression!

The 1960's and 1970's the growth of Irish rock music, initially performed by showbands that traveled the Island, emulating the so-called British invasion. 

These early bands mostly played popular British and American hits.  But from the 1970s onward, Irish rock (otherwise known as Celtic rock) took on a life of its own.


Irish Rock Music: Early Successes

Irish rock talents like Van Morrison and Henry McCullough got their starts in the early Irish showbands, but ultimately built successful international careers.

"Here Comes the Night" by Them

This is the song that launched Van Morrison’s professional career.

He is known and highly regarded for his accomplishments in his early years and this song is one of the first tunes Morrison and "Them" ever made that hit the top charts.


"Old Maid in the Garrett" by Sweeney's Men

This was the earliest work of Henry McCullough and Sweeney's Men was one of the biggest showbands to come out of Ireland at the time.

Their music was rich in Irish culture and combined rock and folk music.

This song gave Henry his start in the music world, and his career would continue over the next few decades.


The 1970s - Enter Thin Lizzy

In the 1970’s we saw rock music grow into something more prominent and easier to enter, welcoming a number of folk fusion groups and hard rocking bands like Thin Lizzy

Eventually, towards the end of the 70’s, this led right into the punk movement which is one of many things that Irish rock became known for.

"The Boys are Back In Town" by Thin Lizzy

Everyone knows this song; it’s a catchy, and somewhat corny rock song that is heavily Irish in nature and recognizable throughout the world.

Thin Lizzy earned fame and fortune with this song and it is certainly one of the most memorable Irish rock tunes around.


"Dearg Doom" by Horslips

Horslips never quite made it as big as Thin Lizzy, but their unique composition of Irish jigs and traditional Celtic music made them stand out among the pack.

They are still a huge part of the Irish Rock scene today, and their career really took if in the 1970’s, thanks in part to their innovative sound made popular by their song Dearg Doom on the album "The Tain".


The 1980s - Enter U2

The 1980’s was a huge decade for rock music from Ireland, with the entrance of the legendary U2.

Their stardom sky rocketed with their album "Boy" and it hasn’t stopped since.

"Stories for Boys" by U2

The first album by U2 called "Boy" expressed the kind of angst and intensity that touched a worldwide nerve.

With charismatic front man Bono and a highly energetic style, it is no wonder U2 took off as they did, and they are still insanely popular today.


The 1990s - Enter Snow Patrol and My Bloody Valentine

In the 1990’s through today the Irish Rock music movement has gone towards alternative rock, and many bands have grown to make names for themselves.

My Bloody Valentine and Snow Patrol are probably the most commonly known groups, but many more such as Damien Rice, The Thrills, Ash, and more have sprung up and are quickly gaining steam.

"Sometimes" by My Bloody Valentine

"Sometimes" is off of their second album, Loveless and it is the most famous song by the Dublin group.

By combining punk, distortion, and pitch bending into a new genre which soon became known as Shoegazing, My Bloody Valentine quickly gained a large following after their song "Sometimes" became so popular in 1991.


Awesome!  How Can I Learn More?

One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to live your Irish side is to play Irish Rock music.  We have offered you a handful of examples here.

And ... we have many more ideas and examples in our Irish music section here!

Meanwhile, if you enjoyed Irish Rock Music, please take a moment to share your feedback about it, or any other part of our site, using our comment form.

And thank you so much for visiting! 

Now, choose another topic to continue your exploration of Irish culture and traditions, and to share your Irish side with your growing community of friends at Irish Expressions.com!



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