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Shane MacGowan dead - latest: Pogues singer known for Fairytale of New York dies as tributes paid

His death comes one week after he was discharged from hospital

Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan dies aged 65

The Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan has died at the age of 65, just a week after he was discharged from hospital.

The news of his death was confirmed by his wife, Irish journalist and author Victoria Mary Clarke, who said in a statement: “Shane will always be the light that I hold before me and the measure of my dreams and the love of my life”.

Tributes have since flooded in, with Irish premier Leo Varadkar writing he had “beautifully captured the Irish experience”, while his former bandmate shared a black and white image of MacGowan smiling on stage.

Last week, it was announced he was being discharged from hospital ahead of his upcoming birthday on Christmas Day. In a post last Wednesday evening, his wife tweeted an image of him wearing a scarf and bobble hat, thanking the nursing staff for their support.

MacGowan revealed he was diagnosed with encephalitis last year in a video posted to social media on New Year’s Eve.

It is an uncommon but serious condition in which the brain becomes inflamed, according to the NHS website.

From the 1980s, he lead the Irish punk band The Pogues. The band are best known for their 1987 hit, the festive song “Fairytale Of New York”.


The Pogues bandmate shares picture and tribute

English musician and singer Peter “Spider” Stacy has paid tribute to his fellow bandmate Shane MacGowan, sharing an image of him performing on a stage.

Taking to X, formerly Twitter, Stacy wrote: “‘O Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done..’”

The line was accompanied by a black and white image of MacGowan smiling on stage.

Stacy co-founded The Pogues along with MacGowan, Jem Finer and James Fearnley and appeared on all of their recordings.

Holly Evans30 November 2023 13:01

Pictures of Shane MacGowan performing through the years

Shane MacGowan onstage in London’s Hyde Park in 2014 (Getty Images)
Pictured performing with The Pogues in 1985 (Alamy)
The Pogues' Shane MacGowan's last performance before his death (The Busk/Dublin Simon Community)
Holly Evans30 November 2023 12:58

Irish premier says MacGowan ‘beautifully captured the Irish experience’

Irish premier Leo Varadkar has expressed his condolences at the death of Shane MacGowan.

“He was an amazing musician and artist,” he said on X, formerly Twitter.

“His songs beautifully captured the Irish experience, especially the experience of being Irish abroad.”

Holly Evans30 November 2023 12:55

The Shane MacGowan I knew was so much more than a Christmas song

The last time I listened to the Pogues’ debut album, I thought I heard a ghost. In the fade-out on side one, a Corkman recites a Gaelic phrase that translates as “There’s no place like home”, and performs a brief, solo lilt.

This was my uncle, Tom O’Grady, whose voice I had not heard in the decade since he died – his contribution appears only on the vinyl LP, if you let the needle run out. Tom was no singer, much less a musician. His appearance on the record was down to his friendship with Shane MacGowan, the band’s frontman and chief songwriter, who has sadly died today aged 65.

The pair met in the early 1980s at Rocks Off, the record shop on Hanway Street, an alley off Tottenham Court Road in central London, where Tom shopped and Shane worked before The Pogues took off. They bonded over a mutual passion for music, film and general carousing, though their shared ethnicity was doubtless important to the friendship, too. As was the case with most migrants to Britain in this period, you gravitated to your own.

Read the full article from Robert Dineen here

Shane MacGowan was so much more than a Christmas song | Robert Dineen

The Pogues frontman was a witty, curious man with an affinity for Irish history and culture, writes journalist Robert Dineen

Holly Evans30 November 2023 12:50

Irish president says ‘particular poignancy’ in deaths of MacGowan and Sinead O’Connor

Irish President Michael D Higgins said there was “particular poignancy” that the death of Shane MacGowan had followed closely that of Sinead O’Connor.

He said: “Born on Christmas Day, there was perhaps some form of destiny which led Shane to writing Fairytale Of New York, the timeless quality of which will surely mean that it will be listened to every Christmas for the next century or more.

“Likewise songs like Rainy Night In Soho, A Pair Of Brown Eyes, If I Should Fall From Grace With God and so many others will live on far into the years and decades to come.

“I think too of Haunted, and the particular poignancy that both Shane and Sinead O’Connor have left us in such quick succession.”

He added: “It was a great honour for me, as President of Ireland, to present Shane with a lifetime achievement award in the National Concert Hall in January 2018 as we marked his 60th birthday. A richly deserved honour.”

Holly Evans30 November 2023 12:46

Derry Girls actress says MacGowan was ‘the voice of London for us Irish'

Derry Girls actor Siobhan McSweeney has said that Shane MacGowan “was the voice of London for us Irish”.

“When I was scared about moving here he lured me over with songs about chancers, drinkers, lovers, poets and scoundrels,” she said on the social media site X.

“That’s the place for me, I thought!

“He also taught me how to miss home, whatever that may be. Damn shame, Shane.”

Holly Evans30 November 2023 12:43

Singer died ‘peacefully’ with family at his side

The Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan died “peacefully” on the morning of November 30 with his wife Victoria and family at his side.

A statement shared on behalf of his wife, Victoria Mary Clarke, his sister Siobhan and father, Maurice, on The Pogues’ official Instagram said: “It is with the deepest sorrow and heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of SHANE MACGOWAN.

“Shane died peacefully at 3am this morning (30 November, 2023) with his wife Victoria and family by his side. Prayers and the last rites were read which gave comfort to his family.

“He is survived by his wife Victoria, his sister Siobhan and his father, Maurice, family and a large circle of friends. Further details will be announced shortly but the family ask for privacy at this very sad time”.

Shane MacGowan in hospital with his wife, Victoria Mary Clarke (Twitter/ Victoria Mary Clarke)
Holly Evans30 November 2023 12:40

Sinn Fein president describes MacGowan as a ‘poet'

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald has described Shane MacGowan as “a poet” who was unique in how he told “the Irish story”.

She said that Ireland “has lost one of its most beloved icons and the world one of its greatest songwriters”.

“Shane was a poet, a dreamer and a champion of social justice. He was a dedicated Republican and a proud Irishman.

Shane MacGowan was known as the frontman of The Pogues (Michael Walter/PA) (PA Archive)

“Nobody told the Irish story like Shane – stories of emigration, heartache, dislocation, redemption, love and joy.

“Shane brought his musical unique style to all corners of the world, and his music will continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.

“Today we mourn his passing. He was one of the best of us. Ni bheidh a leitheid aris ann.

“I want to extend my deepest condolences to his wife Victoria, his sister Siobhan, his extended family and very wide circle of friends.”

Holly Evans30 November 2023 12:39

Irish politician Gerry Adams pays tribute

Irish republican politican Gerry Adams has paid tribute to Shane MacGowan as “a great patriot, a poet and friend of the down trodden and marginalised”.

Kevin Perry30 November 2023 12:37

Fairytale of New York: How The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl made the Christmas classic

“Fairytale of New York” is a drunken hymn for people with broken dreams and abandoned hopes. It is, therefore, a perfect contrast to some of the perkier perennial favourites we wheel out each Christmas.

The song begins with its narrator, an Irish immigrant, being thrown into a drunk tank to sleep off his Christmas Eve binge.

Hearing an old man sing the Irish ballad “The Rare Old Mountain Dew”, he begins to dream about his memories of the female character in the song, and so begins the story of two people who fell in love in America, only to see their plans of a bright future dashed.

Read the full story here

The story behind ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl

A drunken hymn for those with broken dreams and abandoned hope

Holly Evans30 November 2023 12:26

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