The 10 Best Celtic Thunder Songs of All-Time

Celtic Thunder is a singing ensemble famous for its theatrical shows. It has released numerous albums, which have received enthusiastic receptions. Given the name, interested individuals should have no problem guessing that Celtic Thunder is Irish. Currently, six nations still consider themselves Celtic. Three of the six receive little interest from the general English-speaking world.

Brittany is a part of France, while Cornwall and the Isle of Man are too small. The remaining three are Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. From these, the Irish are the most often associated with a Celtic identity in the popular imagination. A connection that Celtic Thunder has capitalized upon with remarkable skill. For proof, look no further than the ensemble’s continuing success.

Here is our opinion of the ten best Celtic Thunder songs:

10. “Hallelujah”

There’s more than one song named “Hallelujah.” This is the one penned by Leonard Cohen, which met with little initial success but became well-known because of later covers. Its lyrics are filled with Biblical references. In particular, there’s mention of David, who has God’s favor but loses it by pursuing Bathsheba through foul means. As such, it’s no wonder that “Hallelujah” is sometimes interpreted as the strain between earthly desires and the search for spiritual wisdom. Celtic Thunder’s cover is impressive. Unfortunately, it struggles to stand out somewhat because so many versions have been released.

9. “Turning Away”

“Turning Away” comes from Celtic Thunder: Mythology. Its lines are open to interpretation. However, it’s been argued that it’s about people abandoning age-old wisdom through the hurried rush for modern advancement, which will have negative consequences that won’t be felt until it’s too late. This seems like the kind of message that would appeal to Celtic Thunder’s target audience.

8. “Home From the Sea”

Once upon a time, the sea was a terrifying place. It’s why it was so often presented as the abode of monsters, which ranged from the merely dangerous to the downright demonic. Nowadays, we’re much better protected from its risks for the most part, meaning we focus more on its wonders than its potential horrors. “Home From the Sea” is a reminder of when that wasn’t the case. The song is focused on the search for missing sailors. Its story ended happily. The issue is that this outcome was far from guaranteed for such incidents.

7. “Caledonia”

The Roman occupation of Great Britain created divisions that outlasted the empire itself. For instance, Caledonia refers to the portion that lay beyond their control. Thanks to that, it has become a more poetic name for Scotland. Unsurprisingly, “Caledonia” is a Scottish folk song, though it’s popular with non-Scottish Celtic singers. Celtic Thunder is an excellent example.

6. “A Bird Without Wings”

Some song names get the point across in an instant. “A Bird Without Wings” does so because the striking image creates an overwhelming sense of helplessness and pointlessness. Of course, that’s Celtic Thunder’s intended message, further reinforced with other powerful similes.

5. “Take Me Home”

Celtic Thunder is a sensation beyond Ireland. In particular, it has a sizable fan base in the United States, which boasts an enormous Irish-American demographic. It isn’t hard to see how that came about with songs such as “Take Me Home.” Granted, many other demographics can identify with the song’s emotions because the longing for home is so universal.

4. “Heartland”

“Heartland” is a strongly Christian-themed song. Appropriately, the sea returns as a source of threat in its lyrics. Part of the song is in Gaelic, which was the primary language of the Irish for most of their history until English overtook it in the 19th century. One can’t help but wonder whether it’s a reminder that the Celtic-speaking world had unique Christian traditions during the early medieval period that saw a partial resurgence during the Celtic Revival.

3. “Ireland’s Call”

“Ireland’s Call” is a newer song than interested individuals might expect. That is because the Irish Rugby Football Union had it written in 1995, which was necessary for representing the Irish and the Northern Irish. Since then, the song has met with a mixed response. Something that’s perhaps unsurprising for anyone who knows anything about the island’s 20th-century history. This is Celtic Thunder’s take on the song. It’s notable in that it has somewhat more militant-sounding lyrics, though that’s clearest in comparison.

2. “The Sound of Silence”

Celtic Thunder sometimes covers well-known songs from pop culture. For instance, “The Sound of Silence” has been much beloved since the 1960s. It’s the song that launched Simon & Garfunkel’s careers. Amusingly, “The Sound of Silence” is also responsible for their initial disbanding because it took so long to get off the ground. Still, when it did, it hit the top of the charts in the United States while soaring high in several other countries.

The song was so popular that Simon & Garfunkel rushed to record a second album called The Sound of Silence, which bore the remixed version that became successful. Celtic Thunder’s cover isn’t as good as the original. That’s no slight considering the competitor. The ensemble’s cover is still worth hearing, even if it’s different from the original.

1. “Amazing Grace”

“Amazing Grace” is one of the most famous pieces of religious music ever made. It’s autobiographical. After all, it’s the story of how John Newton went from being a sinner to a deeply religious man. However, he continued working in the slave trade for some time after the life-threatening experience that prompted the change.

Newton didn’t become an abolitionist until later in life, meaning “Amazing Grace” doesn’t seem to have been written for that purpose. Instead, the song picked up those connotations because of its incredible popularity in the United States, so much so that its influence can still be seen throughout the country’s secular music. It’s easy to see why “Amazing Grace” would resonate with people. Celtic Thunder is just one more example in a long list of them.

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