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"McNamara's Band" (originally "MacNamara's Band") is a popular song composed in 1889 by Shamus O'Connor (music) and John J. Stamford (lyrics). Stamford was then the manager of the Alhambra Theatre in Belfast and the song was written expressly for the theater's owner, the Irish-American music hall veteran William J. "Billy" Ashcroft. "McNamara's Band" gave him scope for an Irish "character song." Modern listeners associate the song with the version recorded in late 1945 by Bing Crosby, with a set of lyrics credited to "The Jesters." Released on Decca Records in early 1946, the song became a Top Ten hit for Crosby. It remains one of his most popular songs and is often sung on St. Patrick's Day. It has been claimed that the song was inspired by an actual band, the St Mary's Fife and Drum Band, formed in Limerick in 1885. In the late 19th century the band featured four brothers, Patrick, John, Michael and Thomas McNamara, and became famous for playing shows all across Ireland. In the early 20th century Patrick and Thomas emigrated to the United States and formed the "McNamara's Band" with Patrick "Patsy" Salmon, another Limerick emigre. After Salmon left the group Patrick and Thomas formed "McNamara's Trio" with Thomas on piccolo, Patrick on violin and Patrick's daughter, Eileen, on the piano. The trio recorded and released several songs for Vocalion Records.
****REVISED March 15, 2019 - SR****