From grade school dropout to Academy Award-winning musician, Glen Hansard has one of the most impressive and unlikely success stories in professional music. Here are the top Glen Hansard songs ranked in order including The Frames, The Swell Season, the soundtrack to Once and his solo work.
If Glen Hansard has a lucky star, then it has to be his song “Falling Slowly”. The tender ballad can easily be credited with propelling Hansard to international stardom.
Between 2006-2007, three versions of the song “Falling Slowly” were all released featuring Glen Hansard and a variety of other performers. On April 22, 2006, Hansard released his first album without his band The Frames, called The Swell Season. The self-titled album contained a stripped down version of “Falling Slowly” in a collaboration between himself and Marketa Irglova. Later that year, The Frames released a version of “Falling Slowly” for their album The Cost (2006). A year later, Hansard and Irglova starred in the film Once (2007), directed by John Carney, ex-bassist from The Frames. Hansard and Irglova performed most of the songs for the soundtrack, including another version of “Falling Slowly”. All three versions of the song have individually made major accomplishments.
- Academy Award for Best Original Song (February 2008); Once (Soundtrack)
- 2008 Grammy Award nomination; Once (Soundtrack)
- Billboard: #57 (July 2009); The Frames, The Cost
- Billboard Hot 100: #61 (March 2008); The Swell Season
- Billboard Rock Digital Song Sales: #8 (May 2010), The Swell Season. 1+ million digital downloads in the United States
- Billboard Digital Song Sales: #20 (March 2008), The Swell Season
- Billboard Canadian Hot 100: #8 (March 2008), The Swell Season
- Hot Canadian Digital Song Sales: #12 (July 2009); The Frames, The Cost
- Irish Singles Chart: #2 (October 2008); The Swell Season
- Irish Singles Chart: #16 (Sept 2006); The Frames, The Cost
- Hot Canadian Digital Song Sales: #3 (March 2008); The Swell Season
- Brazil (ABPD): #51 (April 2008); The Swell Season
- Shazam: ~500,000 searches
- iTunes: #1 most downloaded song by The Swell Season
- iTunes: #1 most downloaded song by The Frames
- iTunes: #1 most downloaded song; Once (Music From The Motion Picture)
- Amazon: #3 highest user rated song; Once (Music From The Motion Picture)
NERD NOTE: “Falling Slowly” is a popular choice for contestants on musical performance shows like American Idol, The X Factor, and The Voice. In the US, covers of the song by Kris Allen and Addison Agen have broken the Top 50 most downloaded songs on iTunes. A video of a contestant singing “Falling Slowly” on The Voice Thailand has over 77 million views on YouTube.
“The Moon” was only a modest hit when it was first released by The Swell Season on their self-titled album in 2006. The song wouldn’t peak in popularity until 2010 when it was included on the soundtrack for the romantic war-drama Dear John starring Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum.
- Shazam: 300,000+ searches; Dear John (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
- iTunes: #2 most downloaded song by The Swell Season; Dear John (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
- iTunes: #4 most downloaded song by Glen Hansard
- Amazon: #1 highest user rated song by The Swell Season; Dear John (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
3Seven Day Mile
“Seven Day Mile” from the album Dance The Devil (1999) is the 3rd most popular song by The Frames on iTunes. It is also their most searched song by The Frames on Shazam.
- Shazam: 160,000+ searches
- iTunes: #4 most downloaded song; Dance the Devil (1999)
- Amazon: #17 highest user rated song; Longitude (2015)
NERD NOTE: Hansard got his first big break in 1991 when he was cast as the guitarist in Alan Parker film The Commitments. The popularity of the film helped bring extra attention to Hansard and his band The Frames in the early 1990s.
5Into The Mystic
As a young musician, one of Hansard’s major influences was fellow Irish musician Van Morrison. One of Hansard’s favorite songs by Van Morrison is “Into The Mystic”. The 2012 film, The Five-Year Engagement starring Jason Segel and Emily Blunt, features a cover of “Into The Mystic” by The Swell Season.
The song “This Gift” is from Hansard’s 2012 solo album Rhythm and Repose. The song gained considerable attention after being included in the Disney film The Odd Life Of Timothy Green starring
8Mind’s Made Up / When Your Mind’s Made Up
Similar to “Falling Slowly”, Hansard recorded the song “When Your Mind’s Made Up” separately with The Frames, The Swell Season and for the Once soundtrack. All three versions are uniquely different: The Frames version features a full band, The Swell Season more piano-focused and Once has a stronger acoustic guitar mix.
- Shazam: 45,000+ searches; Once (Music From The Motion Picture)
- Shazam: #17 most Shazamed song by The Frames
- iTunes: #6 most downloaded song by The Frames
- iTunes: #6 most downloaded song from Once (Music From The Motion Picture)
- iTunes: #7 most downloaded song by The Swell Season
- Amazon: #5 highest user ratings
11Lay Me Down
The song “Lay Me Down” is about loving someone so much that you want to be buried next to them. When Glen Hansard was a teenager, he bought a grave plot for his girlfriend. He was so in love with her that he wanted to be buried next to her. He presented the “gift” to her on Christmas Eve and she was understandably freaked out.
12Roll On Slow
13People Get Ready
After “Falling Slowly”, the second most popular song by The Frames on iTunes, is “Sad Songs” from the album The Cost (2007). Although the halo effect of “Falling Slowly” boosts the popularity of all of the songs on The Cost, “Sad Songs” is still clearly a strong fan favorite.
16Song For Someone
17Drive All Night
19Love Don’t Leave Me Waiting
21Say It To Me Now
The song “Say It To Me Know” was first introduced to audiences as part of the 1996 album Fitzcarraldo by The Frames. The song was also included on the soundtrack for Once.
24Perfect Opening Line
25What Happens When The Heart Just Stops
On the album Set List (2001), Hansard tells a touching but humorous story about a stay neighborhood dog named “Dfor” (D for Dog). Hansard and his friends built a kennel for the dog on a street corner near his home. After several years, the dog passed away. Hansard and his friends buried Dfor on the same corner. During the story, Hansard tells the audience that the song “What Happens When The Heart Just Stops” was written from Dfor’s point of view.
26The Side You Never Get To See
- Amazon: #10 The Frames; Another Love Song (1991)
Top Glen Hansard Songs
In 1983, at the age of 13, Hansard dropped out of school and started earning money by repairing bicycles and busking on Grafton Street in Dublin, Ireland. After 25 years of hard work, later he accepted the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2008. It’s an impressive rise from the bottom to the top of the music industry.
Throughout his career, Hansard has performed and collaborated with a variety of incredible musicians. His extensive catalog of close to 100 songs has touched and inspired millions of people around the world. What did you think of this list? Did we leave any of your favorite Glen Hansard songs out? Please let us know in the comments or on Twitter.