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The ballad of Ronnie Drew

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Sceala Irish Craic Forum Discussion:     The ballad of Ronnie Drew

The biggest stars in Irish music will appear on 'The Late Late Show' tonight in a special tribute to legendary singer Ronnie Drew.
U2, Andrea Corr, The Dubliners, Sinéad O'Connor and Kíla are among the acts confirmed to perform the specially composed 'Ballad of Ronnie Drew', which is released as a digital download today and as a CD single on 29 February.
All profits from the release of the single will go to the Irish Cancer Society at the request of Ronnie Drew.
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Tonight's performance is the first time that the song, written by Robert Hunter (Grateful Dead) with Bono, The Edge and Simon Carmody, has been aired on Irish television.

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Commenting on tonight's show, host Pat Kenny said: "This will be an unmissable one-off performance of a very special song by some of our most talented and most famous musicians. It's another first for 'The Late Late Show'."
Of the song, Bono said: "The idea was that we would all try to write a song for Ronnie to sing, but then it changed to writing a song about Ronnie himself. Ronnie is like the King of Ireland, and we are his subjects. This is a big fight for him. But like any fighter, it's easier if there's a crowd cheering."

Ronnie Drew
Born September 16, 1934
Dublin, Ireland
Genre(s) Irish folk
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, guitarist
Years active 1962–1974, 1979–1995 (The Dubliners)
1995–2006 (solo)
Associated acts The Dubliners

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Ronnie Drew (born 16 September 1934 in Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin) is an Irish singer and folk musician. He founded the Ronnie Drew Group, later to be known as The Dubliners with Luke Kelly, Barney McKenna and Ciaran Bourke in 1962. He was a member of The Dubliners from 1962 to 1974 and from 1979 to 1995. From 1995 on he pursued a solo career. In the 1950s, he emigrated to Spain to teach English and learn Spanish and flamenco guitar. When he returned to Ireland, he performed in the Gate Theatre with John Molloy and soon after went into the music business full-time. In the meantime, he had a number of short-term jobs, including one in the telephone exchange in Dublin.
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He is also known for fronting a campaign to encourage the use of Dublin's train infrastructure – Dublin Area Rapid Transit (the DART) and before that the "My Dublin" ads for radio station 98fm

On 22 August 2006, his hand prints were added to the walk of fame outside Dublin's Gaiety Theatre.

He has recorded with many great artists, including Christy Moore, The Pogues, Antonio Breschi, Eleanor Shanley amongst others. He also features on the 2007 Dropkick Murphys album, The Meanest of Times, on a song called (F)lannigans Ball alongside Spider Stacy of The Pogues.

He also made a guest appearance on the album "The Magic of Christmas" released by the choir of Saint Cronan's BNS, Bray, Co. Wicklow.

Declining health
Drew was reported to be in ill-health in September 2006 after being admitted to St. Vincent's Hospital, Dublin, to undergo tests for suspected cancer. Although he was released from the hospital, Drew is resting on doctors' advice. The Evening Herald suspected that Drew's apparent illness was due to years of heavy drinking. According to The Dubliners' fanpage site however, it is sadly reported that as of November 2006 he has been undergoing treatment for throat cancer. Drew has been a teetotaler for a number of years, with an occasional relapse. However, he is still a regular smoker. Ronnie appeared on the Late Late Show on the 15 December 2006 along with Phil Coulter, where he discussed his recent health scares.

Despite his ailing health, Drew is currently preparing for the recording of a solo record, and he features on a new album entitled 'Pearls' produced by Niall Austin with work Drew did with Jah Wobble. [1] He is featured in the song (F)lanigan's Ball on the Dropkick Murphys album The Meanest of Times.

Also, in April 2007, six CDs containing the stories of Oscar Wilde narrated by Drew, were released with the News Of The World newspaper.
His wife of over 40 years, Deirdre Drew [née McCartan] died on 7 June 2007 at St Vincent's Hospital, just a day before Ronnie was due to make his comeback to performing after his battle with cancer, at the Legends of Irish Folk concert with Johnny McEvoy, Ralph McTell and Finbar Furey
On 25 October 2007 Ronnie Drew appeared on Ryan Confidential on RTÉ 1 to give an exclusive interview about his role in The Dubliners, and his life since leading the band and being diagnosed with throat cancer. This was Ronnie's first ever televised appearance where he was shown bald and beardless.

On 7 December 2007, Ronnie again appeared on the Late Late Show, wearing a hat. He spoke about the death of his wife and his ongoing treatment for cancer.

On 19 February 2008, a song was released called "The Ballad of Ronnie Drew" performed by a number of famous Irish musicians including the members of U2, Sinead O'Connor, Robert Hunter of the Grateful Dead, Irish Trad band Kila, Christy Moore, Andrea Corr, Moya Brennan, Shane McGowan, Bob Geldof, Damien Dempsey, Gavin Friday, Jerry Fish, Paul Brady, Paddy Casey, Mick Pyro [of Republic of Loose], Mundy, Chris de Burgh, Ronan Keating, Jack L, Eleanor Shanley, Mary Black, Declan O'Rourke and Mary Coughlan, as well as The Dubliners and The Chieftains. The single was written to originally include Ronnie himself but was changed to be a tribute to him as his health is declining. The single will be availabe for digital download from 22 February, and as a CD in shops from the 29 February. All proceeds from sale of the single are to go to The Irish Cancer Society at the request of Ronnie Drew himself..
Ronnie Drew - The Young Man Who Used To Be Me

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