The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem on Ed Sullivan

The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem’s first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show March 17th, 1961 catapulted them to international fame. They performed for a remarkable sixteen minutes. The set included “Brennan on the Moor,” “Ballinderry,” “Rising of the Moon,” and “Jig Dancing.” They wore their trademark Aran sweaters, which the Clancys’ mother purchased from Babington, a store in their home town of Carrick and sent so they wouldn’t catch cold in the winters of New York.

The next time they appeared, December 16th, 1962, they sang “Whistling Gypsy Rover” and “South Australia” in honor of New York Giants quarterback Y.A. Tittle, in the audience that evening, who threw for 7 touchdown passes in a game that week against the Redskins, a feat which still stands as the all-time record.

March 13, 1965; For their third appearance, they performed “Wild Colonial Boy.”

Their fourth appearance on the program March 14th, 1966 would be their last, but it was their first television performance in color.

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life’s passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours.

Wishing you a Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.

# For more of the group’s history, watch the fantastic documentary The Story Of The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem on YouTube.


  1. Tim Frank
    March 18, 2010

    Thanks for this “blast from the past”. As a teenager I listened to The Ed Sullivan Show so that I could hear the “new” folk songs. I remember the Gypsy song. Many times I recorded music from the TV and radio on an old reel-to-reel tape recorder that my uncle had (he was a funeral director and used it to play background music) so that I could write the words out, figure out the chords, and learn the tune.
    It was fun to see Ed loosen up on the final clip.

  2. M. Wastler
    March 18, 2010

    Tim, that is such a great story. What is your favorite tune learned using this method?

  3. Tim Frank
    March 30, 2010

    Actually it was “Satisfaction” from the Rolling Stones. It was on the radio a the first week of June in 1965 we recorded it and played it in our band on Saturday night two weeks later in Grant, Iowa population 85. We played the song 5 times that night.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *