How did Whiskey In The Jar, an Irish folk song from the 17th century, gave Metallica a Grammy Award in 2000?

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Rock has traditionally looked into folk music for inspiration… From the early adaptations of black musical genres by rock and roll musicians in the late 40s to the guitar chords and raspy voices of the counterculture of the 60s, and dating all the way back to the disputed origins of punk in the South American country of Peru.

Rhythm and blues, country, jazz and soul, all of them among other genres have become the foundation of what we know today as rock music. Elvis Presley was vastly inspired by gospel music from black churches in Memphis and if he was the King, Chuck Berry, one of Elvis’ biggest inspirations, was the Father of Rock n Roll and the one responsible for evolving rhythm and blues into the hip shaking, guitar-led genre that Elvis popularized.

Just like Presley, The Beatles couldn’t have been as successful as they were without traditional folk music genres. After all, Paul McCartney jokingly said to Musician magazine in 1985: “We were the biggest nickers in town – plagiarists extraordinaire.”

But, plagiarism or simply creating their own music based on the music that has influenced them, rock artists have often fallen on traditional folk songs to either boost up their discography with their own creations, or to cover them. And that’s what brings us to today’s episode.

A song that has been covered by several rock bands in different times, with various degrees of success… 

A song that has a heavy metal version… a psychedelic rock cover… and a more conventional hard rock version that became an international hit by an Irish band… A song that actually inspired an anthem for Irish Americans fighting in the Civil War.

In fact, it is originally an Irish traditional folk song that dates as far back as the 17th century.

Welcome to Uncovering the Cover. The podcast where we tell the story of the songs that have captured our imagination… throughout several generations. I’m your host, Diego Pinzón.

Today, we’re uncovering the covers that made this song one of the most beloved Irish ballads… This is Uncovering the Cover: Whiskey in the Jar.

To read a full transcript of the episode CLICK HERE! And follow us on Instagram and on Twitter.

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