5. My Bloody Valentine
For a band who derives its name from an 80’s slasher flick and their decibel-defying concerts, My Bloody Valentine’s “shoegazing” look and reclusive nature makes for a fascinating juxtaposition. While the denizens of Dublin have only dropped two full-length albums, their unprecedented aesthetic and sound have produced a dedicated cult following.
4. Rory Gallagher
One of the most well-rounded and respected Irish musicians who you’ve probably never heard of. Jimi Hendrix once proclaimed Gallagher as the best guitar player in the world, and similar to rock gods Led Zeppelin, sold millions of albums without releasing a single.
Featuring the mercurial and drink-heavy lead singer Shane McGowan, The Pogues used Irish folk instruments and coerced them behind a frenetic punk swag. Like most of the bands on this list, The Pogues split up several years ago before reuniting for live performances. However unlikely, the London-based band wrote what is considered a Christmastime classic in “Fairytale of New York.”
“Dirty Old Town”
2. Van Morrison
“Van the Man” is the kind of artist that reaches the soul. A proponent of the impromptu style of jazz music, Van Morrison is rarefied act who consistently changes the structure of his songs in a live setting. An inductee of the 1993 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Van Morrison has won six Grammys and is responsible for the timeless single “Brown Eyed Girl.”
“Brown Eyed Girl”
Could you have expected anyone else?
Responsible for several critically acclaimed albums (War, Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby), 22 Grammy awards, and an unparalleled philanthropic creed, U2 is the preeminent Irish rock band. In fact, U2’s unyielding relevance has made them a hot target for parody. Regardless, U2’s success is no joke, and they don’t seem to be tiring out any time soon.
Expect U2’s latest album in 2012 produced by Danger Mouse.