Culture, Society and Popular Music; Irish Music and Working Class

This is the second blog of the Culture, Society and Popular Music module I am studying this semester. In this weeks lecture we discussed the representation of class in contemporary music- Pete Seeger through folk, Bruce Springsteen through rock, UB40, the Specials, the Smiths representing immigrant disporas in the 1970s and 1980s, Brit Pop (Blur vs Oasis- Middle Class Southerners vs Working Class Northerners) and the X Factor representing the working class musician who eventually makes it and becomes a super rich superstar, thanks to the emotional investment of the public.

We were asked to consider Irish music and working class after the lecture. Are there any examples of Irish working class musicians and are there any contemporary representations of the working class in Irish music? This blog also includes an accompanying playlist.

The first band which springs to my mind is the Radiators From Space. The Radiators were a punk band most active in the latter half of the 1970s. The band were formed in Dublin after lead singer Philip Chevron (born Philip Ryan) responded to guitarist Pete Holidai’s advert in the Evening Press rock column. The Radiators were a working class band and were the first in the entire world to have a Top 20 punk single in the charts with their debut “Television Screen” (1977).

The Radiators From Space
Irish punk rockers The Radiators From Space

Christy Moore is another example. Christy Moore worked in a bank and used traditional music to express himself. In the 1960’s he went to England during a bank strike which lasted 12 weeks and visited traditional Irish pubs, meeting other musicians. He decided there and then that he was going to start his music career.

Thin Lizzy, U2 and the Pogues are all examples of Irish working class musicians who became successful.

The Original Rude Boys are a contemporary example if Irish working class musicians. They are an acoustic hip hop act from North Inner City Dublin and have enjoyed success in the iTunes chart with their debut single “Stars in my Eyes” (number 2). In November 2012, The Original Rudeboys turned down an opportunity to open forChris Brown on 3 December 2012 in Dublins O2 Arena. They have stated it is due to his attack on former girlfriend, Rihanna, in 2009. Walsh gave an interview with RTE saying they are “completely against Chris Brown’s assault on Rihanna” and supporting him “would send out the wrong message to our fans.”

Playlist:
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