Ennio Morricone has filed a lawsuit against Finbar Furey claiming that he actually composed the iconic “Lonesome Boatman”.
Morricone says that it was supposed to be part of the larger score for the movie 'The Good, The Bad and the Ugly', the last of the Dollar trilogy of spaghetti westerns starring Clint Eastwood and directed by Sergio Leone in the 1960s.
Apparently the tune was written by the composer in a studio during the recording of the soundtrack in 1965 and was to be used as part of a dessert scene but it didn’t make the final cut and was replaced with another similar melody. Shortly afterwards some of the manuscript went missing said a legal representative for the Oscar winning composer.
It is believed that Eddie and Finbar Furey were on tour supporting the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem at the time. The original sound track was recorded by EMI records, a label that was also used by the Clancy brothers and they may have used the same studio in the USA.
Morricone, now 87, has composed the soundtracks for dozens of movies including 'The Mission', 'Once Upon A Time in the West' and more recently Tarantino’s 'The Hateful Eight'. He is due to conduct his one hundred piece Orchestra and seventy five piece choir in Dublins 3 Arena on February 14 and 16th and it’s during his visit that he plans to take Mr. Furey to court.
Mr.Morricone only became aware of the Lonesome Boatman recently when one of his orchestra members who is an Irish music fan played the tune for him because he thought it sounded very much like his style of composition and immediately recognised it as one of his own...he thinks...he’s 87 after all.
Professor Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, ethnomusicologist and head of the World Academy of Music in the University of Limerick stated that the “Lonesome Boatman” would in fact not seem out of place in any of the three spaghetti western movies and also stated that the tune didn’t sound irish in any way.
The tune itself, is known by virtually every single owner of a tin whistle in the country but they are suddenly struck with a bad case of amnesia almost every time it is requested for some strange reason.
Furey denies any theft of the tune and stated that he’d written the tune all by himself on his lonesome whilst on a boat without the aid of any outside influence. Also in 1965 strangely enough and released the tune on an album of the same name in 1969 with his brother Eddie who according to Finbar “penned the few chords for it. Sham!”
Morricone recalls meeting Finbar at the 75th Academy Awards in 2002 where the movie in which Finbar Furey asks Santy for a New York girl for Christmas. “Gangs of New York” won a number of awards including best picture and Ennio, who at that time, had not heard Finbar’s recording of the tune ,was introduced to Finbar Furey as one of Irelands leading exponents of irish music.
He claims that Furey then punched his dog in the ribs but Finbar also denies this saying he hadn’t got his dog with him at that particular time or it might have been Eddie or someone who looked a bit like himself. Morricone is 87 after all. Piper Mikey Smyth will be representing Finbar in court on February 17th.