Billy Connolly is fantastic. It’s not only his comedic talents that I admire (the man sure does have a way with words) but also his ability to convey warmth and pathos in his songs. Am speaking more about his folk songs, rather than the rude comedic ones, though they are pretty wonderful too!
In particular, I love his cover of Van Morrison’s “Irish Heartbeat”. He’s not Irish, but it doesn’t matter, as the song is not necessarily about Ireland itself, but about staying close to those you love. At the beginning of this live version Billy says “it’s a wee Van Morrison song, he says it better than I can about how I feel.” I like Billy’s version better than Van’s – I love the wistfulness in his voice and I love the majestic bagpipe finish. I just wish I’d been there to see it. I reckon the bagpipes were a big surprise – you can hear the crowd go wild as they appear on the stage!
Oh won’t you stay
Stay a while with your own ones
Don’t ever stray
Stray so far from your own ones
Cause the world is so cold
Don’t care nothing for your soul
That you share with your own ones
I’ve included the original here, as well as Billy’s version. Enjoy!
Irish Heartbeat – Billy Connolly
Irish Heartbeat – Van Morrison & The Chieftains
Side note: If you’re ever searching for a good read, check out Billy and Bravemouth by Pamela Stephenson, Billy Connolly’s wife. They are fascinating, hilarious, well written and in some places, very moving.
Side note 2: Billy Connolly is also a talented actor. I love him in the Aussie flick The Man Who Sued God, and you should definitely check him out in Her Majesty Mrs Brown, with Judi Dench. A stunning performance that earned him a BAFTA nomination.
Side note 3: Incidentally, speaking of Van Morrison, I’ve received no response from him regarding my open letter inviting him to stay at my parent’s house should he ever decide to come to Australia. Come on Van…it’s a great offer!
Side note 4: Apologies for all the side notes…this is the last one, I promise.