The Wolfe Tones
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|The Wolfe Tones|
The Wolfe Tones from left to right: Brian Warfield, Noel Nagle and Tommy Byrne
|Origin||Inchicore, County Dublin, Ireland|
|Genres||Irish rebel music, Irish folk, Pan-Celticism|
|Past members||Derek Warfield|
The Wolfe Tones are an Irish rebel music band who incorporate elements of Irish traditional music in their songs. They are named after the Irish rebel and patriot Theobald Wolfe Tone, one of the leaders of the Irish Rebellion of 1798, with the double entendre that a wolf tone is a spurious sound that can affect instruments of the violin family.
Formation and early years
The origins of the group date back to August 1963, where three neighbouring children from the Dublin suburb of Inchicore, brothers Brian and Derek Warfield and Noel Nagle had been musical friends. They were later joined by Tommy Byrne whom they met when playing at an open air festival (a Fleadh Cheoil) in Elphin, County Roscommon in 1964.This subsequently led to the three friends playing at Fleadh Cheoil and music festivals around Ireland.
In 1989, a contract was signed by band leader, Derek Warfield, signing rights to an American distributor. The contents of this contract were apparently misrepresented to the other members of the band, resulting in a clause that prevented them from recording. Unable to reverse this agreement, they continued to tour albeit without any new material.
In 1995, Derek Warfield released a solo studio album entitled Legacy as he was still eligible to record under his own name. With Derek on vocals and mandolin, the music on this album was performed by a new band, although he was still in fact touring with The Wolfe Tones. Derek's solo releases continued on bi-annually.
In 2001, after a show played in Limerick, Derek Warfield departed the band under circumstances that remain unknown to this day. Calling themselves "Brian Warfield, Tommy Byrne and Noel Nagle formerly of The Wolfe Tones" the three would later go on to release "You'll Never Beat the Irish".
The Wolfe Tones continue to tour but as a 3-piece band comprising Brian Warfield, Noel Nagle & Tommy Byrne.
In 2013 they celebrated their 50th anniversary and in 2014 plan to do a special event at Easter.
The song Celtic Symphony was written by Brian Warfield in 1987 for the centennial of Celtic Football Club. Other famous songs written by the group include Joe McDonnell, a song about the life and death of the Provisional IRA member who was the fifth person to die on the 1981 Hunger Strike.
Their 1982 hit Admiral William Brown pays homage to the renowned Argentine naval hero and Irish patriot William Brown.
On Tuesday 8 January 2013, Brian Warfield announced via the group's newsletter that, by mutual consent, the band would retire from touring on completion of their 50th anniversary year in November, 2014. He went on to say that although not touring, The Wolfe Tones would still be available for special events and that it was their ambition to be involved in the 100th Anniversary Commemoration for the 1916 Rising in 2016.
- A Nation Once Again (2003) (Ireland #15)
- You’ll Never Beat the Irish (2002) (Ireland #19)
- World Cup Symphony (1990) (Ireland #12)
- Celtic Symphony (1989) (Ireland #14)
- Flow Liffey Water (1988) (Ireland #6)
- Flight Of Earls (1987) (Ireland #3)
- Remember Me At Christmas (1986) (Ireland #7)
- Dreams Of home (1986) (Ireland #6)
- My Heart Is In Ireland (1985) (Ireland #2)
- Janey Mac I’m Nearly Forty (1984) (Ireland #16)
- Song Of Liberty (1984) (Ireland #2)
- Merman (1983) (Ireland #23)
- Irish Eyes (1983) (Ireland #3)
- Farewell to Dublin (1983) (Ireland #11)
- Admiral William Brown (1982) (Ireland #4)
- Streets Of New York (1981) (Ireland #1)
- Fourteen Men/ the Punt (1979) (Ireland #14)
- Padraic Pearse (1979) (Ireland #4)
- Rock On Rockall (1975) (Ireland #17)
- Up and Away (1973) (Ireland #1)
- Highland Paddy (1973) (Ireland #19)
- On The Road (1972) (Ireland #20)
- Snowy Breasted Pearl (1972) (Ireland #7)
- Sliabh Na Mban (1970) (Ireland #14)
- James Connolly (1968) (Ireland #15)