"The Ballad of Ronnie Drew" - U2, The Dubliners, Kíla, A Band of Bowsies
U2 Related Content:
- "The Ballad Of Ronnie Drew" (Studio Version) - U2, The Dubliners, Kila, and A Band of Bowsies (04:53)
Full Track Listing:
- The Ballad of Ronnie Drew (4:52) – U2, Dubliners, Kila, Band of Bowsies
- Easy and Slow (3:06) – Ronnie Drew
“The Ballad of Ronnie Drew” was an Irish only single released by U2 with help from a wide variety of musicians from Irelands music scene. Ronnie Drew was a singer and folk musician born in Ireland in 1934. He rose to fame with the band, The Dubliners. He pursued a solo career in later years, and Bono and Simon Carmody had once written a song for him, “Drinkin’ in the Day”. In September 2006, in ill health he underwent a series of medical tests, and was diagnosed with throat cancer.
This single, “The Ballad of Ronnie Drew” was meant to be a tribute to the man and was organized while he was still alive. Bono speaking at the time of the recording said “Ronnie is like the King of Ireland, and we are his subjects.” The song was written by Bono, The Edge, Simon Carmody (ex of the Golden Horde) and Robert Hunter (ex of the Grateful Dead). The song was originally written with a piece for Drew to perform himself, but his failing health prevented him from recording a piece for this track. “The Ballad of Ronnie Drew” was released on digital download on February 22, 2008 and a CD single followed on February 29th but only in Ireland. A rumoured DVD single, featuring the video of the performance and recording of the song never surfaced.
Ronnie Drew chose the Irish Cancer Society to be the recipient of all profits from this track. The Irish Cancer Society, is dedicated to eliminating cancer and improving the lives of those living with cancer. Ronnie Drew passed away a few months after the release of this song, on August 16, 2008 after a long battle with throat cancer.
The “Band of Bowsies” mentioned on the sleeve, is a collection of some of the greatest talent in Ireland, including Christy Moore, Shane McGowan, Damien Dempsey, Andrea Corr, Sinéad O’Connor, Moya Brennan, Glen Hansard, Billy McGuinness, Brian Kennedy, Bronagh Gallagher, Chris De Burgh, Christy Dignam, Duke Special, Eleanor McEvoy, Eleanor Shanley, Gavin Friday, Iona Green, Jack L, Jerry Fish, Joe Elliott, Mary Black, Mary Coughlan, Mik Pyro, Mundy, Paddy Casey, Paul Brady, and Ronan Keating. They are joined on this single by U2, Kíla, and some of the remaining Dubliners. Glen Hansard wanted to contribute, but was in the USA for the Academy Awards, and so his vocals were recorded over the telephone and added to the mix.
The single was recorded at Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin, on January 14th and 15th 2008. A video for the song was also recorded as the artists recorded their portions of the song. A making of video was also filmed some of which was aired on RTE One as part of a special after Ronnie Drew’s death. A performance of the song was done on the Late Late Tribute with all of U2 participating.That performance of the song aired on February 22, 2008. Ronnie Drew was present in the studio to see that live performance of the song. Plans to collect all that video footage into a DVD single did not happen.
The Ballad of Ronnie Drew: Song written by Robert Hunter, Bono, The Edge, Carmody. Produced by John Reynolds. Music by U2, The Dubliners, Kíla.
A Band of Bowsies: Christy Moore, Shane MacGowan, Damien Dempsey, Andrewa Corr, Sinead O’Connor, Moya Brennan, Glen Hansard. And in Alphabetical Order: Billy McGuinness, Brian Kennedy, Bronagh Gallagher, Chris De Burgh, Christy Dignam, Duke Special, Eleanor McEvoy, Eleanor Shanley, Gavin Friday, Iona Green, Jack L, Jerry Fish, Joe Elliott, Mary Black, Mary Coughlan, Mik Pyro, Mundy, Paddy Casey, Paul Brady, Ronan Keating.
Engineer / Additional Production: Alastair McMillan. Production Assistants: Anna Ralph, Nicky Dempsey, Enda Walsh. Executive Producers: Simon Carmody and Suzanne Doyle. Instrument Technicians for U2: Sam O’Sullivan. Film Director: John Carney. Camera: Enda O’Looney. Mastered by Kevin Metcalf at Soundmasters, London.
A tribute – recorded at Windmill Lane, January 14th and 15th, 2008.
Musicians: U2 (Adam Clayton, Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jnr) The Dubliners (Barney McKenna, Eamonn Campbell, John Sheahan, Patsy Watchorn) Kíla (Dee Armstrong, Eoin Dillon, Brian Hogan, Lance Hogan, Colm Snodaigh, Rnn Snodaigh, Rossa Snodaigh)
Sleeve Design: Gary Kelly, Four5One Creative, Dublin.
Related Promotional Videos
- 2008-02-18 “The Ballad of Ronnie Drew” Release Dates Announced (Hot Press)
- 2008-01-18 Cream of Irish Music in Tribute to Dubliner as He Battles with Cancer (Irish Independent)
- 2008-01-18 “It’s A Great Honour” (Hot Press)
- 2008-01-17 Here’s to you, Ronnie Drew (u2.com)
- 2008-01-17 World Exclusive: U2 and Kila Collaborate on Ronnie Drew Tribute (Hot Press)