Irish Tenor John McCormack, Revisited

A St. Patrick's Day Tribute to a World-Famous Voice

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
John McCormack

John McCormack (1884-1945) © Bettmann/ CORBIS hide caption

toggle caption © Bettmann/ CORBIS
'John McCormack: My Wild Irish Rose'

John McCormack: My Wild Irish Rose hide caption

toggle caption

John McCormack was one of the greatest, most versatile singers of the last century. Not only did the Irish tenor sing famous folk songs like "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling," he also was a much-admired opera singer, performing in music halls the world over. Commentator Miles Hoffman and NPR's Bob Edwards offer a special St. Patrick's Day retrospective of McCormack's career.

John McCormack Songs

Hear 30-second samples from 'My Wild Irish Rose' (BMG):

Listen 'My Wild Irish Rose'

Listen 'When Irish Eyes Are Smiling'

Listen 'Where the River Shannon Flows'

"McCormack's success was absolutely astonishing," Hoffman says. He sold millions of records in a recording career that began in the early 1900s and stretched for nearly four decades. "This was a mega-superstar in the days before we knew about mega-superstars," Hoffman says.

This item is available for purchase online. Your purchase helps support NPR.

Music Heard in this Report

1. "My Wild Irish Rose," (Olcott) from John McCormack: My Wild Irish Rose. (BMG, 09026-68668-2)

2. "Il Mio Tesoro," from Mozart's Don Giovanni, McCormack in Opera. (Prima Voce Records, NI-7820)

3. Verdi, "Questa o quella," from Verdi's Rigoletto. Same CD as #2.

4. "I Hear You Calling Me," (Hartford-Marshall), from John McCormack Favourites, Vol. 1. (Naxos Nostalgia Records, 8.120504)

5. "By the Short Cut to the Rosses," (Nora Hopper, old Irish air, arr. C. Milligan Fox). Same CD as #1.

6. "When Irish Eyes are Smiling," (Olcott and George Graff-Ball). Same CD as #1.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from