Music is one of the best ways to express emotion, and for decades Dublin has been home for talented artists who made their mark in the world music scene, in a wide spectrum of genres. This list is a reminder of the great musicians Dublin have seen born, grow and succeed!
U2 deserves the top position always. The quartet formed in 1976 is still together after 40 years and 14 albums. In the 80’s, U2 became a worldwide phenomenon with The Joshua Tree, started getting attention to its political songs, and its members saw music as a weapon of change. U2 is the band with most Grammys wins, and its most recent album, Songs of Experience, is listed in the 85th Billboard sales chart position at the moment of writing this article.
2) Sinéad O’Connor
When we think of Sinéad we think of ‘Nothing Compares 2 You’. Chances are we also remember her controversial statements about religion or child abuse. Nonetheless, despite her scandals, O’Connor is one of the greatest musicians from Dublin, and her debut album, The Lion and the Cobra (1987), was an absolute win in Ireland, the U.K. and Europe. Her second record, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, was nominated to four Grammys in 1991, winning the Best Alternative Album, but she rejected the nominations and the award. Sinéad has been active with 10 studio albums, releasing the last I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss in 2014.
3) Thin Lizzy
Thin Lizzy (1969) is one of the major bands when it comes to Dublin’s rock scene, influencing several others that came after their apogee years in the early eighties. Its most popular single, The Boys Are Back In Town, was written by Phil Lynott, the charismatic bassist, composer, founder and leader singer of the band, who tragically died when only 36 years. This song gave Thin Lizzy international recognition, ranking the top positions in the UK, Canada and US in 1976. The band has been active for intermittent periods with different members, and in 2010 a new lineup formed by early fellows Scott Gorman, Brian Downey and Darren Wharton, plus the addition of Damon Johnson, Marco Mendoza and Ricky Warwick, made it possible for the fans around the world to see Thin Lizzy again on stage.
The 2000’s were the years of the boybands, and Dublin wasn’t out of this trend. Westlife had several successes in the UK and Europe, with more than 6.8 million of sales. The quintet is 16th in the Official Top 20 Biggest Selling Groups Of All Time, with 14 singles Top 1 in the UK, and 7 of their 10 studio albums in the same position. They performed from 1998 to 2012, and celebrated its end with two shows in Croke Park in Dublin, selling 170.000 tickets. Even when in Europe Westlife days are over, in Asia not,: their YouTube videos have more than 43 millions of views in Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam.
5) The Script
The Script was formed in 2007 by guitarist Mark Sheehan and vocalist Danny O’Donoghue, who later became a coach in The Voice UK for seasons 1 and 2. Its style is a mix of R&B, pop and indie rock, and its five studio albums have been outstanding, with four of them on the top of the UK’s charts. The Script is popular in the digital scene, with 6.6 millions followers in its Fanpage and 10.5 millions monthly listeners in Spotify, which is no surprise: in 2008 they won a World Music Award for Best Irish Act.
6) My Bloody Valentine
Despite never having achieved mainstream success, My Bloody Valentine (1983) is probably one of the most influential bands of the 80’s, pioneers of the alternative rock sound that gave way to the style named shoegazing. With two studio albums in its early years, the band’s texturised guitars and noisy melodies have become a cult phenomenon, and both records were included in the Top 40 Irish Albums of All Time. Loveless reached the first position and Isn’t Anything the 27th. MVB, their third album, was released in 2013, with excellent reviews.
7) Damien Rice
Rice started his solo career in the 2000’s, after have lived in Tuscany and after busked on the streets of Europe. His debut album, O (2002), reached the 8th position in the UK Album Chart, won the Shortlist Music Prize (2003) and its heartbreaking melodies found a big audience outside Ireland. His second record 9 (2006), ranked 4th in the same chart, and Damien has performed in big festivals as Glastonbury, Coachella and Rock Werchter.
8) Glen Hansard
Hansard has a long music career with his band The Frames, but it only was after his starring role in Once when he became known by a bigger audience. He and Marketa Iglova, a Czech musician and band mate in the Swell Season, composed the soundtrack of the movie and starred in it, winning an Academy Award in 2007 as Best Song for Falling Slowly.
9) James Vincent McMorrow
Irish musicians are on the spotlight nowadays since the revival of folk music, and Vincent McMorrow is enjoying the happy days. The Dublin has released four albums in the past 8 years, and his songs have appeared in diverse advertising campaigns in Europe. Also, his cover of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game was used in a trailer of the series Game of Thrones.
10) Ronan Keating
Ronan started his singing in the popular band Boyzone, but after 6 years he decided to go solo, and it was no mistake. Keating’s singles ranked in the UK Top 10 14 times, and 4 of his albums reached the UK Top 1. In 2003, Keating won a World Music Award as the Best Irish Artist, and he has hosted several music events in the late years.