The Contender

Lyrics

When I was young and I was in my day
Sure I’d steal what woman’s heart there was away
And I’d sing into the dawning
Saw a blaze into the morning
Long before I was the man you see today.

I was born beneath the star that promised all
I could live my life between cork cobh and youghal
But the wheel of fortune took me
From the highest point she shook me
By the bottle, by the bottle I should fall

Chorus
There in the mirror on the wall
I see the dream is fading
From the contender to the fall
The ring, the rose, the matador, raving

When I die I’ll die a drunk down on the street
He will count me out to ten in clear defeat
Wrap the Starry Plough around me
Let the pipers air resound me there
There I rest until the Lord of Love I meet

Chorus
There in the mirror on the wall
I see the dream is fading
From the contender to the brawl
The ring, the rose, the matador, raving


Notes

This Jimmy McCarthy song is about Jack Doyle (1913-1978), Hollywood actor, accomplished tenor, and contender for the British Boxing Championship. Born into a working class family in Cobh in 1913, he won the British Army Championship with a sensational record of 28 straight victories. He took up singing, and soon his soft tenor voice and good looks were selling out the London Palladium and the Royal in Dublin. He travelled to America in 1934 and landed starring roles in two movies, McGlusky the Sea Rover (1934) and Navy Spy (1937).  Wild parties, slow horses and fast women soon took a toll on his health and bank balance. He died in 1978 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington and is buried in the Old Church Cemetery at Cobh.


Song Clip


County

Cork

Song Themes

Sporting occasions

Songwriter

Jimmy McCarthy