ALL together now... “da-da-da ba-da-da-bam-bam-ba da-da-da ba-da-da-bam-bam-ba”.
Justifiably so, according to Cork’s 96FM Select Irish presenter Michael Carr. “After All is on one hand an exercise in indie-pop simplicity — from a three or four note intro to a wonderfully basic sentiment in the lyrics — yet on the other, it’s one of the most well-crafted pop songs that’s ever been written in this country,” said Michael.
Red FM presenter and producer Dave MacArdle echoes these sentiments. “From the opening guitar lick, the quick pound of the drums and straight into its infectious swing... Sweet, simple, pure, universal and inclusive — who can’t relate to those sentiments! Who can fail to sway and smile in an instant?
“Then that mid-song lift reminds you of what’s to come right at the end, the pure joy of the sing-along — maybe even a bit of air punching too — da-da-da ba-da-da-bam-bam-ba da-da-da ba-da-da-bam-bam-ba”.
MacArdle, the presenter of the popular Dave Mac Drive, added: “Last time I played it on Red FM I asked ‘what is it about this song’ and amongst the answers was, ‘when you hear it you feel good’.” This may account for why Cork’s favourite song has had such a far-reaching and cross-generational appeal, but according to Carr: “There’s a a reason why songs like this endure and stand the test of time, and that’s down to no small measure of song writing genius.
“‘Timeless classic’ just about does it justice.” Almost 30 years after The Frank and Walters gate-crashed the charts with their seminal hit, the melodic song continues to remind listeners that good tunes simply never go away.
After all, it is Cork’s favourite song, and is without doubt one of Ireland’s greatest pop songs.
"If you have to ask, you're not from Cork"
FOUNDED in 1989, The Frank And Walters were named in honour of two eccentric Cork characters.
One of those who voted for After All as their favourite Cork song hailed it as “an anthem and theme tune for Cork, enshrined in Cork’s music history”.
Another said: “Memories from teenage years singing along with friends, and recently at a wedding, all my cousins arm in arm singing along... classic Cork.”
Others remarked that the song and band are “Cork institutions” while one said: “The band have provided the soundtrack for the change from good ol’ times to a modern and vibrant Cork city that has stayed close to its Rebel roots. This song provides the beat as we make that transition.”
Another commented: “It’s more than a simple love song, it can also be about love of place and sums up how so many of us feel about Cork.” One simply stated “If you have to ask — then you aren’t from Cork.”
Of the original 81-song longlist, troubadour John Spillane led the nominations with 10, followed by veteran folk singer Jimmy Crowley on seven, while rock legend Rory Gallagher had six nominations and soulful singer-songwriter Mick Flannery five.
However, one issue with the 81-song longlist was the distinct lack of female artists; just four. There were also some quirky choices — Ball And Chain by U.S DJ Romanthony has no connection to Cork, but was a huge hit in the city’s clubs at the turn of the century.
Cork city senior executive librarian Patricia Looney explained the idea for the competition came from the boundary extension in 2019, which saw the city expand into the county, aling with a few rumblings of discontent.
“There was a lot of talk of people not wanting to join the city and feeling they were losing something, but there is something that unites us all in Cork and it’s our shared interest in music,” she said.
“I mean, The Banks Of My Own Lovely Lee is as much an anthem for somebody in Ballincollig or somebody in Castletownbere as it is for someone from the heart of the city, so that’s where the idea for the vote came from."
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