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Luke Kelly


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Dublin, Ireland (1940 – 1984)

Luke Kelly, (17 November 1940 - 30 January 1984) was an Irish singer and folk musician from Dublin, Ireland, most famous as a member of the band The Dubliners.

Kelly was one of the best-known figures of the Irish folk music movement of the 1960s and 1970s. A Dubliner from the north inner city, he attended O’Connell’s Schools before emigrating to Britain in 1958. There he first became involved in the growing international folk music scene in which Ewan MacColl was a central figure, as well as joining the Communist Party of Great Britain.

In 1962 Luke Kelly returned to Dublin and quickly became a central figure in the city’s burgeoning folk music community, playing in sessions in O’Donoghue’s Pub on Merrion Row with the likes of Ronnie Drew, Barney McKenna and The Fureys. Not long after, he ended up forming a folk group with Drew, McKenna, Ciaran Bourke and John Sheahan, which he named The Dubliners. In 1965, Kelly married the actress Deirdre O’Connell, one of the founders of the Focus Theatre.

In the mid-1960s, Luke moved to England for a while. On returning, he rejoined the Dubliners. His interpretations of “Raglan Road” (a poem by Patrick Kavanagh) and Scorn Not His Simplicity were significant musical achievements and became points of reference in Irish folk music. Luke remained a politically engaged musician, and many of the songs he recorded dealt with social issues, the arms race and war, workers’ rights and Irish nationalism, (“The Springhill Disaster”, “Second World Song”, “When Margaret was Eleven”, “Joe Hill”, “The Button Pusher”, “Alabama 1958” and “God Save Ireland” all being good examples of his concerns).


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  • iandeepcar

    the best

    14 Jul 2014 Reply
  • niklasperra

    The best of the best

    19 Apr 2014 Reply
  • warmandcrispy

    my boy

    1 Sep 2013 Reply
  • Rougera

    The best forever

    9 Jul 2013 Reply
  • allisonmichele

    Just when I feel I've found all the good folk music to be found...

    10 Jun 2013 Reply
  • Tomvanm

    Springhill mining disaster <3

    16 Jul 2012 Reply
  • alltidhemma

    Don't forget to visit Irish Drinking Songs Daily - for your daily dose of Irish drinking songs. Sláinte

    18 Sep 2011 Reply
  • KingSprayBall


    15 Jul 2011 Reply
  • rockchapelboy

    Christ he was taken way too soon from us.... a true legend of the Irish music Industry. He will live on in our hearts through the hours of music he left behind. Song For Ireland moves me to tears every time I hear it.

    14 Jul 2011 Reply
  • Trick49

    God bless you, Luke.

    30 Apr 2011 Reply
  • dalmartina

    hey, kann mir jemand helfen? ich brauche eine übersetzung von "song for ireland" von luke kelly so halbwegs übersetzen kann ichs zwar so auch, aber ich bräuchte eine genaue übersetzung und da tu ich mir ein bisschen schwer. wenn mir jemand helfen könnte oder einen link dazu kennt, wäre das super!

    25 Oct 2010 Reply
  • Kevingrogan

    Luke is still living today his music does the talking for him and he lives on in our hearts

    11 Jul 2010 Reply
  • Amnesiac8908

    nothing beats good old luke

    23 Feb 2010 Reply
  • HerrVonStrahlen

    Happy birthday Luke!

    17 Nov 2009 Reply
  • HerrVonStrahlen

    To me Luke is the best singer in the world. Not just because of his singing but because of his passion, his ideas and the way he put everything he believed in into his songs and made such an impact those days long ago and still does. We love you, Luke!

    19 Oct 2009 Reply
  • Aoife565

    this was the music i listened to as a kid- a true legend

    29 Sep 2009 Reply
  • PrinceAmled

    A master! The town I loved so well.

    27 Sep 2009 Reply
  • mybestmusic

    The man was a legend ! One of the best singers Ireland has ever produced !

    25 Sep 2009 Reply
  • gingertosser

    he was the greatest Irish singer i've ever heard, will certainly toastin him down the boozer tomorrow(paddys day) an havin a good aul sing song...

    16 Mar 2009 Reply
  • louscully

    love him

    16 Mar 2009 Reply
  • All 29 shouts

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