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  • You’ll Never Beat the Irish, ND Style

    by Mike Coffey

    One of our posters on NDNation undertook a project with the Irish group The Wolfe Tones, and we wanted to share the results with our readership.

    It’s less than a week until kickoff.

    Several years ago, I mentioned to El Kabong the possibility of getting the Wolfe Tones to revise their “You’ll Never Beat the Irish” (The Wolfe Tones) to reference Notre Dame football.

    It was a pipe dream, but he said that if I made it happen, he’d put it on this site. Like me, he loves the Wolfe Tones.

    Two years ago, I went to a concert on Long Island, NY. I approached Tommy Byrne, and I broached the idea of changing their song to make it about Notre Dame football. He laughed at the idea, and he asked Noel Nagle if he’d pay me a beer to write the song.

    Nagle didn’t seem like it was that dumb of an idea. He gave me his business card.

    I sobered up. A year passed. Notre Dame started out 7-0. We went to Norman, and we won.

    I decided to contact Nagle. I told him that ND football had essentially been dormant for decades, and it was about to bust loose. The Wolfe Tones became interested, and Nagle put me in touch with Brian Warfield. Both admitted they didn’t know anything about the sport.

    Nagle asked me to rewrite the song.

    I rewrote it. I could show you the lyrics I wrote … which are dramatically different from what they are now. It doesn’t matter. They embody the spirit of what I wanted to do. The Tones agreed to record the first song that was written to chronicle the history of ND football, rather than merely reference the football program anecdotally.

    The lyrics aren’t perfect, but they do follow the timeline of the football program. Yes, the 1919 thing is an error, which I take responsibility for. It originally was written without a year reference. It doesn’t matter, because we did beat Army in 1919, and we did revolutionize football by introducing the forward pass. We just didn’t do both that year.

    The release of the song was rushed because of the National Championship game. Several on the site noticed the music was “electronic.” Compare it to the other versions of, “You’ll Never Beat the Irish.” It doesn’t have to be electronic … the timing was rushed.

    The Wolfe Tones have professed that they will amend the song as necessary to make it what it needs to be.

    To be truthful, the Wolfe Tones became interested in this project because of its potential to be profitable. I became interested because I thought it had the potential to be a great thing for my Alma Mater.

    I convinced the Wolfe Tones against their judgment to make the full version, including the video, free on YouTube because this was about more than selling a song. I made them understand that, and they are willing to re-record it as necessary to get it right.

    I ask you folks only this:

    (1) Please comment on whatever you think needs to be corrected for this to be worthy of our football program
    (2) If you like it, let others know about it

    I know not all of you think much of this project (e.g. ACross). That’s okay. I grew up loving the Wolfe Tones and Notre Dame. This was a dream come true for me. If you feel the same way, share it.

    If you think it sucks, let me know that too. If it’s something that can be fixed, we’d like to know.


    30 Responses to “You’ll Never Beat the Irish, ND Style”

    1. “Let’s go Irish, talking about the give-aways, rolling, rolling, dilly as a day. Drunking diving, talk about the give-aways. Dilly as a dog, dilly as a day.” Whaaaaaat??? I think the entire song need captions.

      • Mike Coffey says:

        Some of the parts you refer to are in Gaelic, that’s from the original versions of the song.

    2. Mark napierkowski says:

      Very cool. I wouldn’t change a thing. The lyric about getting spurned by the Big Ten (Michigan in particular) because of our Catholicism is an important element. Keep that in there!

    3. That is awesome. Keep it as it is! I will use this on my site and help spread the word! Thanks for posting.

    4. It’s fantastic. Thank you!

    5. Alle Sell,'62 says:

      Loved it!!! GO IRISH

    6. Fantastic, nicely done Lads!

    7. Giggity_Giggity says:

      Try to fit “Michigan Sucks” in there and you’ll be all set.

    8. Michael Ahern says:

      Fantastic! Love the Wolf Tones- love this video. Don’t change a thing! Congratualtions on an amazing effort. Go Irish!

    9. Jim H '84 says:

      I like, but could have done without the picture of the green jerseys!!

    10. Nice Job!!!!!

    11. Hey I have to work this Saturday and will not be able to watch the Notre Dame game. Does anyone know where I can find a replay of it to watch? I want to see more than just ESPN’s 5 second highlight. This song is very cool! I love seeing the old time players. Maybe having a segment of Rockne’s speech at the end? Other than that its great!

    12. Fun stuff – but definitely need to add Leahy in there somewhere!

    13. awesome,great song and video.this is just another showing of irish pride.we r nd

    14. It’s great. If it’s updated and improved upon (I already love it), I’ll buy the mp3 (again). Wait… Could I have gotten it for free? No matter–the Wolfetones deserve compensation for a great salute to ND football tradition.

    15. Great job. Only thing I would change would be to replace the electronic background music with more acoustic Irish-type instruments. This will make it more in the style of an Irish folk song.

    16. ElkhartIrish says:

      I think the song and lyrics are very good. Reminds me a little of the Irish Rovers. My father in law was Irish. Actually an Irish cowboy from Montana. He had a heart of gold but you didn’t want to piss him off!

    17. Matt rininger says:

      I love it but you should’ve had Flogging Molly or drop kick Murphy’s do it they embody what this team has become with the style they play and the style the team plays as well all in all as a musician myself I think it was pretty good for being rushed but you should re-record it and take some time on it maybe think of a few more lyrics doesn’t feel like it ends I don’t maybe that’s just the feeling I got but like I said it was a good start time to make it better just like our boys in Blue and Gold we had a great start from last year time we get better hope that helps and as always GO IRISH!!!!

    18. Absolutely great!! Need to include Leahy, correct the date, and not change anything else.

      Wolfe Tones have been a favorite for a long time and the tricky little changes in the timing are wonderful.

    19. Baldknobber says:

      Love the song, but I would make it more acoustic. The electronic stuff detracts from a potentially classic song.

    20. Fantastic!!! One suggestion would be to leave out any reference to Kelly. We don’t know yet what his legacy will be. This song, however, could be adopted and played for decades, and you would want it to be ageless. Imagine if this was written in 2006 with Weis reference – it would seem a horrific mistake a few years later. But here’s hoping Kelly is no Weis, as the winning ways continue. Gold and blue, strong and true!! Go Irish!

    21. The Wolfe Tones did a nice job with this song. Yes, I agree with some who think that a less “electronic” and more acoustic instrumentation in the Irish tradition would give it more authenticity. I was tapping my feet to the music, though! It’s got a nice melody and the lyrics are fine if they can’t be fine-tuned. The Wolfe Tones should be able to sell plenty of these with their final version. I can just hear it now being played all over campus at tailgates everywhere before a game! Every Irish fan should have a copy. Great stuff!

    22. good stuff. Would include highlights of the current players. Some of those 2000 seasons were very long.

    23. I love you all, but that was terrible. I have no idea what you guys are smoking.

    24. Martini1990 says:

      Great stuff! I almost washes away the pain of Freakbass!

    25. Great idea but unfortunately wrong genre/generation. While I, as a somewhat “older guy” appreciate the traditional irish music, its not the kind of thing the kids will download to their ipods and use as a pump up. As another poster suggested if someone can contact the Drop Kick Murphys with the same idea, they could have more of a rock song that kids will listen to, they could blast at the stadium during key timeouts etc. Maybe someone could rewrite the words to the Drop Kick Murphys “Tessie” (already about the Boston Red Sox so they are already atuned to writing sports themed songs) for the Irish and get them to record under the same premise. It’d be a lasting hit.

      • P. O'Neill says:

        Dropkick Murphys already did the Notre Dame fight song on one of their singles collections albums. I’m sure you could just google it. A good version that starts on pipes then rolls into the guitars and drums. I’m probably a “kid” to most on these boards and I love it; then again, I’ve been listening to the Wolfe Tones for a long time.

    26. It was 1913, not 1919 when ND beat Army and introduced the forward pass……

      • That was addressed specifically in the body of the post, GWZ. But yes, as I stated above Warfield did some editing of the original lyrics and changed it to include a year. When he sent it back to me, I didn’t pick up immediately that the year in question was wrong, so that’s my fault.

    27. Regardless of the 1913 vs. 1919, the production was terrific.