Music Monday: When Irish Eyes Are Smiling 1913

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Irish Eyes Sheet Music Knick Of Time Image
1912 Sheet Music
Image Credit: Knick Of Time Blog

One-hundred, ten years ago…

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling is a lighthearted song in tribute to Ireland and was very popular in June 1913. Its lyrics were written by Chauncey Olcott and George Graff, Jr., set to music composed by Ernest Ball, for Olcott’s production of The Isle O’ Dreams and, Olcott sang the song in the show. It was first published in 1912, at a time when songs in tribute to a romanticised Ireland were very numerous […], both in Britain and the United States. During the First World War, the famous tenor John McCormack recorded the song.

The song continued to be a familiar standard for generations. Decades later, it was used as the opening song on the radio show Duffy’s Tavern. The song has been recorded on over 200 singles and albums, by many famous singers, including Bing Crosby, Connie Francis and Roger Whittaker.

Wikipedia Summary

As I have stated in previous posts, Billboard’s charting abilities, in the early 20th Century, is difficult to navigate. My first stop, for these early pieces, is the Tsort site. Playback FM is very helpful, too. Digging around in the Wayback Machine can be a complete rat maze. The data is there but, how much time do you devote to searching for it.

There was a Shamrock Summit in March 1985, apparently, in Canada (which I don’t remember). Starting on St. Patrick’s Day, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and President Ronald Reagan met & talked for two days. Remember the Acid Rain Scare back then? It was seen as a Turning Point in U.S.-Canada Relations (both Trudeaus don’t play well with others?) and the closing ceremonies were televised, with the men & their wives singing the song (Mulroney & Reagan are Irish surnames). I find the meeting in Quebec City and the singing of an Irish song, ironic and amusing. ~ Vic

Irish Eyes Are Smiling (The Account of Composer Ernest R. Ball’s Life/IMDb/1944)
Still Something To Smile About (Pocono Record/Marta Gouger/Wayback Machine/03-06-2007)
When Irish Eyes Are Smiling (Irish Music Daily/Pat/No Date Given)
List Of Movies Using The Song


15 thoughts on “Music Monday: When Irish Eyes Are Smiling 1913

    Dayphoto said:
    June 26, 2023 at 5:58 PM

    I grew up with those songs. My grandparents love them… Therefore, so do I 🙂

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      June 26, 2023 at 9:57 PM

      So happy to entertain, Momma! <3

    Badfinger (Max) said:
    June 27, 2023 at 4:30 PM

    This is going to drive me crazy. Some show or movie I watched…someone was singing this song and I can’t remember! ……………….oh I remembered! Goodfellas! Glad I thought of it before I left.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      June 27, 2023 at 8:11 PM

      The song is in 20+ movies.

        Badfinger (Max) said:
        June 27, 2023 at 8:33 PM

        That makes sense…it was Morey from Goodfellas…it’s a classic song. Plus no royalities probably

          The Hinoeuma responded:
          June 27, 2023 at 9:42 PM

          I suspect that the copyright on that song is attached to the Olcott, Graff & Ball families…unless sold to a museum or something.

            Badfinger (Max) said:
            June 27, 2023 at 10:02 PM

            Oh you think it’s not in public domain?

            Badfinger (Max) said:
            June 27, 2023 at 10:03 PM

            Fred Fisher Music Co. v. M. Witmark & Sons concerned the copyright of this song (which is now in public domain.)

      bereavedandbeingasingleparent said:
      June 27, 2023 at 8:21 PM

      Another one who grew up with these songs

        Badfinger (Max) said:
        June 27, 2023 at 10:01 PM

        Yes I sure did….

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