The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #12294 Message #1767222
Posted By: Big Tim
23-Jun-06 - 01:05 AM
Thread Name: Origin: The Old Triangle
Subject: RE: The Old Triangle
Nowadays, Behan's authorship is seldom questioned, but it is very interesting to note how he introduced the song on radio in 1952. "This song was written by a person who will never hear it recorded, because he's not in possession of a gramophone. He's…he's… pretty much of a tramp".
The comment is usually interpreted as Behan talking about himself: ironically, and with admirable modesty. However, having listened to the recording, it sounds, to me, more likely that he was in fact talking about another person. There is no hint of ironic humor discernible in his phrasing, and Behan was not renowned for his modesty: certainly not to the extent of crediting something successful that he had written to someone else.
In addition, his biographer Michael O'Sullivan writes that Behan asked for the radio royalty payment to be made to Dick Shannon, a Dubliner: possibly an old pub or prison acquaintance. O'Sullivan also quotes the show's producer, Micheál Ó hAodha, as stating "he [Behan] never claimed authorship". The 1952 broadcast consisted of only four verses, with three, five and seven above not included. The balance of probability is that Dick Shannon originated the song and that Behan later added to it.