The Dubliners were never the kind of band who would be expected to have hit records in the singles charts.
Nevertheless, they surprised many people and do doubt themselves with a few successes over the years.
The first was Seven Drunken Nights which was released in 1967. It was banned by the Irish broadcaster RTE because of its bawdy content but it still went on to be a great success, reaching number 5 in the UK charts.
It was helped by the fact that it received on a lot airplay on pirate radio stations which, unlike RTE, liked its risqué theme of marital infidelity.
A second hit with The Black Velvet Band
The band followed up their success with Seven Druken Nights by releasing The Black Velvet Band as a single. It also got into the top 20 in the UK. That was followed by Maids, When You’re Young Never Wed an Old Man.
That faltered at number 43 in the UK charts and was to be their last single success for the next 20 years.
By the mid-198os, The Dubliners had become the folk music establishment and an inspiration to the younger bands following in their footsteps.
The Dubliners collaboration with The Pogues
One such band were The Pogues, a collection of Ango-Irish musicians who, although from Irish families, had for the main part been brought up in and around London.
They combined folk music with punk rock and they were big fans of The Dubliners. In 1987, The Dubliners celebrated their 25th anniversary by recording a double album, which was produced by Eamonn Campbell who then went on to join the band.
Campbell had also been in touch with The Pogues and decided it would be a good idea to introduce them to The Dubliners.
Music across the generations
The two bands, who spanned two generations of Irish music, got together to record The Irish Rover. With Ronnie Drew and The Pogues’ lead singer Shane MacGowan singing alternate verses.
It was beneficial to both bands as each were introduced to the fans of the other. The record was also very successful. It reached the top 20 in the UK charts and brought The Dubliners some welcome exposure on British television.
The two bands got together again in 1990 to record Jack’s Heroes.
They also recorded Whiskey in the Jar, which was also a minor hit reaching number 63 in the UK charts.