Saturday, March 17, 2012

Song of the Day: Thin Lizzy, "Whiskey in the Jar"

Overlooking the fact that it's a traditional Irish song performed by Ireland's greatest hard rock band, "Whiskey in the Jar" is still a lot like St. Patrick's Day. Its meaning and origins are widely forgotten, and it's usually relegated to a background for getting hammered on March 17.

The author of "Whiskey in the Jar" is unknown, but Phil Lynott could've made a case for songwriting credits on Thin Lizzy's version. Previously, the best-known rendition was the Dubliners'. Other than the lyrics, it sounds completely different.

My favorite version is Thin Lizzy's. Most covers sound too cheerful to convince me that the singer is a highwayman betrayed by his love, but Lynott's gruff, anguished narration is perfect for the story. That progression rings out SOS in my brain long after the song is over.

Between dodging leprechauns and four-leafed clovers, have a drink for Thin Lizzy and the late Phil Lynott today. Or the devil he may take ya.

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