With over 8 albums, 5 DVDs, several live recordings, and many compilations, the Dropkick Murphy’s message of “all for one, one for all” is as contagious as their rowdy beats, catchy rhythms, and kitschy lyrics. The raucous, bawdy, and loud cacophony of the Dropkick Murphys’ paired with underlying themes of camaraderie, solidarity, loyalty, and tenacious faith weathering life’s storms is as timeless as pirate sea chantys of old. Tap your toes to the incredible beats, soak up the scream of the accordion and bagpipes, strum your air guitar, and revel in the devilish debauchery best enjoyed live with the following 10 Best Dropkick Murphys Songs:
1. Kiss Me I’m Shitfaced
2. Wheel Of Misfortune
3. Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya
4. Rose Tattoo
5. Which Side Are You On
6. Deeds Not Words
7. Shipping Off To Boston
8. You’re A Rebel
9. Dirty Glass
10. Amazing Grace
When a group of talented musicians and friends gathered for fun in East Milton, Massachusetts during 1996, they brought to life one of the best punk/rock/Irish folk bands: the Dropkick Murphys. Originally featuring Mike McColgan on lead vocals, Ken Casey on bass and vocals, Rick Barton on guitar, and Jeff Erna on drums, the foursome’s shared love of music grew from roots in a barbershop basement into one of the greatest bands of its kind. Within one year following the formation of the band, its popularity quickly grew upon opening for The Mighty Mighty Bosstones supporting the Bosstones’ promotion of their album Lets Face It. The group also concentrated efforts in recording and producing several EPs. This led to a contract with Hellcat Records and the 1998 release of their debut album, entitled Do or Die. Produced by Rancid’s Lars Frederiksen, the album featured songs like “Barroom Hero,” “Nobel,” “Memories Remain,” and “Caught In A Jar.” Despite not earning commercial success, the album was highly praised particularly by Punknews.org which stated “Fueled by the angry voice of Mike McColgan and the unforgettable rasp of Ken Casey, ‘Do Or Die’ boasts a collection of some of the most incredible oi/street/punk-rock tracks ever recorded.”
Following the release of the first album, McColgan was replaced by Al Barr, former lead of the band The Bruisers, as McColgan pursued his goal of becoming a Boston firefighter. After Barr joined the band, the band concentrated on recording material for their second album, The Gang’s All Here. Its 1999 release of The Gang’s All Here featured the last work of the group’s original guitarist (Rick Barton) and included a harder, Irish/punk influenced sound. The album reached 184th on U.S. music charts and its track “10 Years Of Service” became the first official commercial hit for the group. Its accompanying video was featured on MTV’s 120 Minutes. Later that same year, members of Dropkick Murphys joined forces with English punch/rock band Oi! to form the group The Business. The collaboration led to a split single, Mob Mentality, during 1999 and a full length album named after the single and released during 2000. The Mob Mentality album featured cover tracks of each band performing the others’ songs as well as tracks by other artists. Additionally, the Dropkick Murphys worked on re-recording the song “Boys On The Docks” with Barr leading the vocals.
During 2001, the band’s third album, Sing Loud, Sing Proud! was completed and released. The album marked a turning point in the band’s progression from a four piece punk rock group to a much more evolved sound. The album featured songs like “Forever,” “The Wild Rover,” “The Fortunes of War” and several other hit tracks. Additionally, Sing Loud, Sing Proud! included work with Shane MacGowan of the Pogues and Colin McFaull of Cock Sparrer’s. That same year, the band reorganized its lineup, replacing guitarist Rick Barton with James Lynch of the Ducky Boys and Marc Orrell. The group also added Ryan Foltz on mandolin, dulcimer, tin whistle, and other instruments, as well as Robbie “Spicy McHaggis” Mederios on bagpipes. Despite growing success, Foltz and Mederios left the band and were replaced by Tim Brennan on mandolin and guitar and piper Scruffy Wallace. With the new lineup, the group released their 2003 album Blackout. The first single, “Walk Away” was an instant radio success and several others, like “Fields Of Anthenry” and “The Dirty Glass,” expanded the group’s fan base. Female vocalist Stephanie Dougherty of the Deadly Sins offered her vocals for “The Dirty Glass,” a song about Darcy’s bar in Quincy, Massachusetts. The tune secured Dougherty’s place as an unofficial member of the band and led to her position on a promotional tour. During the 2004 world series, following the Red Sox win, the group re-released “Tessie,” a track about the baseball team. The track was featured in the film Fever Pitch and also available on the 2005 soundtrack for the EA Sports MVP Baseball album. To this day, “Tessie” and “Dirty Water” are played at all games the Red Sox win.
The group continued to tour and work on new materials during 2005. Its release of Singles Collection Volume 2 was met with success and included b-sides, rarities, and songs which were cut from their previous releases. The group also offered a version of “We Got The Power” for a political album entitled Rock Against Bush, Vol. 2. The band also released their fifth studio album, The Warrior’s Code. Produced by Hellcat Records, the album achieved tremendous success and charted in the 49th position on U.S. charts. The album also landed in the 51st spot on Germany charts and 72nd position on Austrian charts. Singles like “The Warrior’s Code,” “I’m Shipping Up To Boston,” “Citizen C.I.A,” and “Last Letter Home,” earned the album the highest debut in comparison to any previous releases. The song “Last Letter Home” was ballad dedicated to fallen soldier Sgt. Andrew Farrar which was later released (with family permission) in honor of Farrar's life and legacy. The song was inspired by letters Farrar sent to his mother, wife, and two sons, while he was stationed in Iraq. One of the letters included Farrar's expression of gratitude for the band's CD, sent by his mother, and request that one of their songs play at his funeral. After Farrar's passing, on January 28, 2005 (his 31st birthday) the band played "Fields Of Anthenry" as his casket was carried into his funeral service. Funds from the "Last Letter Home" single, as well as a ballad version of "Fields Of Athenry" went to the Andrew Farrar Memorial Fundraiser and donated to his family.
One of the biggest hits the band released, titled "I'm Shipping Up To Boston," was also from The Warrior’s Code. The song quickly propelled the group’s popularity and forward momentum after it was selected for the soundtrack for the 2006 The Departed. The song then also was aired on The Simpsons episode titled "The Debarted” and later featured as the walk up song of Jonathan Papelbon, closer for the Red Sox. Papelbon danced a jig to the song during the 2007 Championship season and when Papelbon left the team for the Philadelphia Phillies, the group refused to allow him to take the song with him as it was a "Boston Song" with hopes that new closer Andrew Bailey would use it. Years later, during 2009 and 2010, "I'm Shipping Up To Boston" became the official anthem for the Australian Football League and the Brisbane Lions. It was also used as the warm up song for the Boston Celtics. The Dropkick Murphys support of baseball extended during the Fall of 2007, the group played Fenway Park during the American League Championship Series. The group also lent their talent and support by participating in a Boston Red Sox "rolling rally" celebrating the team's 2007 World Series win. The group performed several songs, including Papelbon's jig dancing favorite song "Tessie."
During 2007, the group started an independent label, Born & Bred Records, and released their sixth album The Meanest of Times. The album gained immediate attention and successfully climbed to number 20 on U.S. Charts. The release of the first single, "The State Of Massachusetts" was the group's biggest success and was featured on the MTV show Nitro Circus. It ranked among Rolling Ston's Top 100 Songs Of 2007 as number 83 and also became one of the 60 most frequently played alternative rock songs of 2007. Tracks from the album also accompanied a special St. Patrick's day 3 track pack released March 15, 2008 for Guitar Hero III games for Xbox Live and Playstation, with two additional tracks added during 2009 available as a download for the Guitar Hero World Tour.
The band again restructured during 2008 following guitarist Marc Orrell's formal announcement of his departure, with Tim Brennan as his replacement, and addition of Jeff DaRosa to cover Brennan's band responsibilities. As a side project bandmate and lead vocalist Ken Casey began a venture in the food, beverage, and restaurant business by re-opening McGreevys Pub great reviews. The group also began recording venues from their July tour, with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, at Lowell Massachusetts, Potland, Maine, and Pawtucket, Rhode Island for an upcoming live album. The Pawtucket performance marked the highest selling performance in the history of the band with ticket sales reaching 10,060.
The Dropkick Murphys joined Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band for their Boston stop on Springsteen's Working On A Dream Tour on April 22, 2009. The Murphys contributed to songs "Glory Days" and "American Land." That performance included an onstage, mid concert proposal of Tim Brennan to his girlfriend complete with a follow up serenade of Springsteen's "So Young And In Love." That same year the band opened at the Comcast Center for Aerosmith for a "Hometown Heroes" concert and also accompanied Aerosmith for a special performance of "Dirty Water."
In recent years, the band has continued to tour and release new material. During 2010, the group surprised fans with a pirate themed stage, performances at Fenway Park baseball games, a second live album titled Live on Lansdowne, Boston, Massachusetts, and a full length DVD. The Lansdowne live album charted in the U.S. at number 25 and became the group’s second highest charting album. The March 1, 2011 release of Going Out In Style, the Dropkick Murphy’s seventh album, achieved heights greater than any previous albums. It debuted at number 6 on U.S. charts and landed within the top 55 on international charts. As the band’s greatest commercial success to date, the album secured the group’s fame and featured collaborations with Bruce Springsteen, Lenny Clarke, Fat Mike, and Chris Cheney. This album paved the way for a tour and a return to the studio during the fall of the same year to begin working on new tracks for its upcoming eighth album, Signed And Sealed In Blood. On its official website, the Dropkick Murphys announced on December 23, 2011 that they would record new materials after completing their 2012 St. Patrick’s Day tour. With a tentative release date during January 2013, and great anticipation from fans, the band offered a request to fans based upon the album’s first single, Rose Tattoo. The Dropkick Murphys revealed the logo image for the album and solicited fans not only tattoo themselves with the image but also send pictures and video footage to their official website for use on the packaging of the album. During a July 1, 2012 performance at the Download Festival 2012, the group confirmed material for Rose Tattoo was complete and the highly anticipated album would be released at the end of the year. In the days since, the group has laced live performances with tracks off the upcoming album, including the songs “The Shark,” “Rose Tattoo,” and “Road Rise.”
In the meantime days while waiting ever impatiently for the release of Rose Tattoo, fans may feast on several live albums and several songs reworked for film and television. The March 13, 2012 release of Going Out In Style: Fenway Park Bonus Edition includes not only the full studio album of the same name but also 18 live tracks recorded at the famous stadium. Additionally, many tracks produced by the Dropkick Murphys have slowly yet surely made their way to television and the silver screen as their fanbase and popularity soared. The title track from the group’s fifth album, “The Warrior’s Code” was used in its live form for the film The Fighter and for the trailer of the 2011 film “Your Highness.” The group’s “Barroom Hero” was used in the Afghanistan war documentary film Restrepo. Additionally, the band’s “I’m Shipping To Boston” was transformed into an acoustic, instrumental piece for the TNT show Rizzoli & Isles.