Following the split with his brother, Liam went to live in Canada where he pursued a solo career.
He released a number of albums and became a regular on Canadian TV.
In 1975, he performed at a festival in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Tommy Makem was also on the bill and the organisers persuaded them to perform together. It was the start of a productive partnership as the duo stayed together until 1988.
During that time they toured the world several times and released several albums.
They also performed with Liam’s brothers again in 1980 for a reunion tour.
Liam also had a solo career in his later life and recorded songs with other musicians such as Paul Grant and Kevin Evens.
In 2001 his memoirs were published with the title, The Mountains of Women.
In 2005, Clancy featured in No Direction Home, a documentary on Bob Dylan by Martin Scorsese. A year later he was the subject of a documentary, The Legend of Liam Clancy, produced by Anna Rodgers and John Murray. The documentary was named best series at the Irish Film and Television Awards.
Tributes for Clancy
Clancy died in 2009 from pulmonary fibrosis. Enda Kelly paid tribute to him saying he was a brilliant musician. Christy Moore said : “I would have been listening to Radio Luxembourg and rock ‘n’ roll as a young fellow and then I got to hear of the Clancy brothers, when I was 16 I came to Dublin to hear them in a concert. It was about 1962, I think it was the Olympia, it was the most exciting concert I had ever attended. It was Irish, it was rock ‘n’ roll, it was funky and it was even sexy.”
The New York Daily News said that he had “played a major role in defining how Americans heard Irish popular music over the last half century.”
It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem in popularising Irish folk music in the 1960s. They were the first group to break through and achieve worldwide fame, pioneering the way for dozens of other Irish acts ever since.
Snippet: Bob Dylan said: “He was just the best ballad singer I ever heard in my life…I can’t think of anyone who is a better ballad singer.”