Our Top 10 Dropkick Murphys Songs introduces us to one of the most successful American Celtic punk rock bands known for their inspirational and highly relatable songs to our daily life. Formed in 1996, Dropkick Murphys initially consisted of four members, including lead singer Mike McColgan, bassist Ken Casey, guitarist Rick Barton, and drummer Jeff Erna. Amusingly, their name was crafted from a detox center under the name Dr. John “Dropkick” Murphy. Dropkick Murphys had humble beginnings in their music career, starting to play music from a friend’s barbershop basement. They would later rise steadily by recording songs and touring tons of places to sell their music brand. It wasn’t long after starting their music career that they received their big break thanks to selection by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones as the opening act for their 1997 tour.
Signing to Hellcat Records, Dropkick Murphys would release their full-length album later in 1998. Their musical style was influenced by iconic punk bands such as Sex Pistols, The Dubliners, and The Clash. In addition, their support for the working class and union causes has not gone unnoticed, having the band build strong relations with the AFL-CIO. Dropkick Murphys have retained their original punk sound throughout their ten studio albums despite the constant lineup changes. Here are the top 10 Dropkick Murphys songs that have both critics and fans of the band reckon with their Celtic punk rock vibe.
#10 – Tessie
Ushering us to the top 10 Dropkick Murphys is the song “Tessie,” which was the band’s first mainstream hit song. Released in 2004, “Tessie” proved to be a worthwhile cover by the band, with the song promising Dropkick Murphys more than just a trend on the charts but also critical acclaim. The band revealed that they intended to bring back the lost spirit of the Rooters while putting the Boston Red Sox team back on top. Surprisingly, success came knocking for the band and the Boston Red Sox team, who won their first baseball World Series after 86 years.
# 9 – Paying My Way
Featured in the band’s ninth album, 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory, the song “Paying My Way” brings the same old punk vibe to the modern punk feel. Notably, “Paying My Way” is about getting up and out of some addictions, especially alcohol, while dreaming of a better life. In a world where everyone is addicted to something, you can turn this song into a perfect anthem to cheer you to stop the addiction from negative things that pull your life down.
# 8 – Fields of Athenry
The Irish folk song “Fields of Athenry” by the Dropkick Murphys takes us deep into the Irish heritage. Featured in their album, Blackout, the band takes pride in their musical style with this song written by Pete St. John. While other bands, including The Dubliners, have done the song, Dropkick Murphys took it upon themselves to impress their fanbase with this strong Irish ballad. “Field of Athenry” was a story about a young man from Athenry caught stealing corn to feed his beloved ones during the famine years.
# 7 – Blood
Featured in their album, 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory, the song “Blood” was written by Ken Casey, bringing some sublime songwriting skills to his name. Notably, this song was composed to sound good in the Boston sports venue but went beyond that to impress internationally. The song brings quite a powerful punk rock vibe, especially with the seemingly screamed but sublime vocals. “Blood” is probably one of the best songs to listen to when you are taking some Irish whiskey and shout loud its lyrics on some high volume!
# 6 – Going Out in Style
“Going Out in Style” is the title track of Dropkick Murphys’ seventh album, which rekindled the band’s greatness in 2011. Like most of the songs in the album, “Going Out in Style” takes into account some personal experiences of the band’s bassist Ken Casey, referencing things that happened in his life. The song brings on sentiments with its lyrics, which quote that we should keep the precious smile on our faces despite the ups and downs in life. This is a fun video with some great shots of Fenway Park in Boston and some funny bathroom humor. Love it! This one also reminds me of Willie Nile.
# 5 – The Boys Are Back
Released in Dropkick Murphys’ album, Signed and Sealed in Blood, “The Boys Are Back” is a song that brings to life the true Celtic punk rock. From some powerful guitar riffs to its powerful vocals, the song serves as a perfect roadmap to the old Dropkick Murphys. The catchy chorus offers nothing but a charged-up vibe that might provoke guys to wreak havoc when with their clique members.
#4 – The Season’s Upon Us
Featured in the band’s album, Signed and Sealed in Blood, “The Season’s Upon Us” is probably the most misinterpreted hit song from Dropkick Murphys. While some view it as a perfect holiday season, it seems like most have had it all wrong. Thanks to Ken Casey for clearing it up to the band’s fans that unlike the Christmas vibe people think about, “The Season’s Upon Us” is a song about a dysfunctional family. Thanks to its catchy tune, the song awarded Dropkick Murphys some mention on the Billboard’s Alternative and Rock charts. This is probably one of the best Christmas videos ever made if you have a sense of humor.
# 3 – The State of Massachusetts
Having a song that tags along their origin Massachusetts was quite a bold move to make. It is without a doubt that the band is quite affiliated to working-class and union causes matters. However, in this song, they would go a notch to talk about child neglect featuring how the Massachusetts Department of Social Services takes care of neglected children.
# 2 – I’m Shipping Up to Boston
Featured in their 2005 album The Warrior’s Code, “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” was a folk song written by Woody Guthrie. The song is about a sailor who lost his leg in an inexplicable rigging accident and is now off to Boston to look for his wooden leg. Like most modern artists, Dropkick Murphys were granted permission by Guthrie’s granddaughter to go through his lyrical archives to find some unpublished lyrics to sing along to. “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” was instrumental to the band’s music career, making them even more popular in their backyard.
# 1 – Rose Tattoo
Coming in at number one is “Rose Tattoo” from the band’s 2013 album, Signed and Sealed in Blood. The song’s lyrics were inspired by Ken Casey’s tattoos which appear on his arm. Casey revealed that the tattoo is a memorial to his grandfather, who saw him become the man he is after his dad passed away. A version of this song with Bruce Springsteen on the guest vocals proved strong and awesome for the audience having it peak at number 25 on the Billboard Hot Rock Songs chart.
Top 10 Dropkick Murphys Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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