Fureys take mother’s advice

I hadn’t realised that Irish band The Fureys also had their mother to thank for inspiring them to record, When You Were Sweet 16.

I came across the story while browsing YouTube recently.

There’s a rather scratchy video of The Fureys performing the song in the 1980s. In the introduction, Finbar Furey described how they came to record it.

He said that they learnt the song from their father Ted, who was also a very successful musician and an inspiration to his sons.

The Fureys originally played it for their mother

One evening The Fureys were playing the song just for their own enjoyment and for their mother who remembered it fondly from her youth when it was recorded by artists like Perry Como and Slim Whitman.

When the song was over she said they said that it sounded so good they should record it. The thought hadn’t occurred to them before, but the more they considered the idea, the better it sounded.

Well, it may not be like sons to follow their parents’ advice but it certainly paid off on that occasion for The Fureys.

A hit in Ireland across the world

The lads did as they were told and the song was a big hit for them in Ireland, the UK and several other countries across the world.

The Fureys recording of When You Were Sweet 16 quickly became the definitive version against which everyone else’s effort was judged. Very few measure up.

Which, I suppose, just goes to show: mum knows best! But it made me wonder if there were any other stories of bands being successful by following advice from mum or dad.

Please let us know if you can think of any.

Did you know?


People with Irish roots have a great opportunity to start searching their family history for free thanks to ancestry.ie who have made more than ten million records available online. The family tree website has published Catholic Parish Registers dating from 1655 all the way up to 1915. Find out more.

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Patrick Kehoe

Pat Kehoe is a writer for Irish Music Daily. His favourite Irish music bands are the Dubliners and Planxty.

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