'Metallica', 'Grateful Dead', 'Thin Lizzy': Top Best Versions of Irish Folk Song 'Whiskey in the Jar'

    "Whiskey in the Jar" is a very old song. So much so that it is simply impossible to determine its exact age ...

    "Whiskey in the Jar" - the history and meaning of the song, the best versions

    Whiskey in the Jar - a popular folk song originally from Ireland, which tells the sad story of a robber: he robbed an official and exposed his own girlfriend, who turned out to be a traitor.

    The song is believed to have its roots in 17th century. But even centuries later, it is insanely popular among the modern generation of listeners and artists. Countless bands and musicians have performed this piece. A version of rock monsters Metallica and has become a cult! But first things first: to begin with, we propose to figure out what is the origin of the world hit.

    Origin story

    Robber, art

    Whiskey in the Jar is a very old song. So much so that it is simply impossible to determine its exact age. Nevertheless, the mention of the rapier in the text suggests that the roots of the composition go back to the 18th century. But this hypothesis is also in great doubt: the fact is that the early version of the song could include not at all "rapier", but "rapparee". And this is a completely different Irish word that changes the meaning: in ancient times, this expression was attributed to irregular soldiers and bandits of Ireland who served the state in 17th and 18th centuries.

    However, the notorious historian Alan Lomax sure: "Whiskey in the Jar" refers specifically to XVII century. During this period, the lands of Great Britain were inhabited by those who admired the local robbers - one might say, it was a kind of cult! The fact is that in Ireland and Scotland the robbers harmed only the wealthy English, and therefore they were considered patriotic heroes. For the same reason, the song was a success among Americans who disliked British officials. But here it is important to note that the American version Whiskey in the Jar has undergone significant changes in the text.

    Lyrical Meaning


    The song tells a story from robber's face. The hero tells the listener that he robbed an important official, and then his beloved betrayed him. By her will, he ended up in prison. The composition ends with the arrested criminal contemplating his escape: he can not wait to return to a beautiful life.

    Given the age of the song, it is not surprising that it did not come down to us in its original form. The text has undergone many changes, due to which some versions of "Whiskey in the Jar" differ in their geographical diversity, or they do not match the name of the main official: sometimes it is Captain Farrell, and sometimes - Colonel Pepper.

    Top Versions


    This song has become a magnet for most artists who relentlessly cover it. So, their charming interpretations at different times presented: "Grateful Dead", "U2", "Smokie", "The Poxy Boggards", "Paul and Mary", "The Pogues" and others. But we will discuss the most popular and successful ones.

    Cover "Thin Lizzy" saw the light in the first half 70s and quickly became a success! It was this composition that brought the group its first popularity: their "Whiskey in the Jar" entered the British top 10, and the band itself formed an army of fans. Today the live performance of the song scored over three million views on YouTube.

    Another chic cover was presented by the British band Pulp! It happened in the middle 90s. True, their version did not gain millions of views on YouTube, however, it resonated with a wide audience.

    Probably the most popular cover Whiskey in the Jar belongs to the group Metallica, and hardly anyone will argue with this! On YouTube she scored over 90 million views! The audience was delighted with the interpretation of rock monsters. In 1998, the team was even awarded Grammy Awards for "Best Hard Rock Performance".

    "Whiskey in the Jar" performed Metallica so popular that unenlightened listeners are sure that it is group hit! But now we know his story.

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