Dirty Old Town

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"Dirty Old Town"
Dirty Old Town Dubliners.jpg
Single by The Dubliners
B-side"Peggy Gordon"
GenreFolk, Irish, Pop
LabelMajor Minor
Songwriter(s)Ewan MacColl
Producer(s)Tommy Scott
The Dubliners singles chronology
"Maids When You're Young Never Wed An Old Man"
"Dirty Old Town"
"Hand Me Down My Bible"

"Dirty Old Town" is a song written by Ewan MacColl in 1949 that was made popular by the Dubliners and has been recorded by many others.


The song was written about Salford, Lancashire, England, in the city where MacColl was born and brought up. It was originally composed for an interlude to cover an awkward scene change in his 1949 play Landscape with Chimneys, set in a North of England industrial town,[1] but with the growing popularity of folk music the song became a standard. The first verse refers to the gasworks croft, which was a piece of open land adjacent to the gasworks 53°28′50″N 2°16′36″W / 53.4806°N 2.2768°W / 53.4806; -2.2768, and then speaks of the old canal, which was the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal. The line in the original version about smelling a spring on “the Salford wind” is sometimes sung as “the sulphured wind”. But in any case, most singers tend to drop the Salford reference altogether, in favour of calling the wind “smoky”.

A portion of the canal referenced by the song
Salford Docks, another place mentioned in the song

The Pogues' version of the song is played during walkout of the teams at Salford City FC. Also Real Betis. A football club in Seville, Spain.

The Dubliners[edit]

Chart (1968) Peak
Ireland (IRMA)[2] 10
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[3] 43

Recordings and performances[edit]

Notable renditions of the song include:


External links[edit]