Steve Garrigan never intended to launch a tradition.
The Kodaline singer said it happened by accident, when he returned, exhausted, from a tour last year backing the group’s 2013 debut “In a Perfect World” and realized he didn’t get his best friend a gift for his wedding.
“I decided that the best thing I could do was write a song for him,” says the composer, who came up with the sweeping “The One” after staying up late, drinking beer. “And then I played it at his wedding the next night, ” says Garrigan, who brings the Irish band to town this week.
The group’s new second CD “Coming Up for Air” includes a stadium-sized version of “The One.” But when he wrote it, Garrigan had no idea how universal his touching tribute – with lyrics “You make my heart feel like it’s summer/ When the rain is pouring down/ You make my whole world feel so right when it’s wrong” – would become.
The crowd on the night he debuted the song was tough. He says, “An Irish wedding involves a lot of alcohol, so everybody was heckling me. There was party music on before, and then I sat down at a piano and took the mood completely down. Everybody was going ‘Where’s the music?’”
Afterward, he mothballed the track, satisfied that he pleased the bride and groom.
But two weeks later, back on tour, a fan approached Kodaline in Toronto, asking if he could propose to his wife at that evening’s concert. “We said OK, and hoped that she said yes, because it could have been quite awkward,” says Garrigan. “It was the first time that I ever wrote a song and then put it aside. But ‘The One’ was still fresh in my mind, so I figured it would be appropriate to play it for them.”
Then things got surreal. An audience member from that Canadian gig, a singer-songwriter himself, was so taken with the Kodaline cut, he post his own version to rousing acclaim on YouTube.
“It was a really good cover, too,” says Garrigan. “So it was only after watching that rendition that we figured we should put it on the album. Because, seriously, we weren’t going to.”
The tune – along with three others from “Air” – was produced by textural-minded Snow Patrol overseer Garrett “Jacknife” Lee, who pushed Kodaline to experiment with its folk-pop sound.
Now betrothed fans are starting to include Garrigan’s song in their nuptials, as well. “It’s quite bizarre,” he says. “I guess all songs are like that. Once they’re out in the world, they take on lives of their own.”
IF YOU GO
Where: The Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. May 6
Contact: (415) 346-6000, www.livenation.com