Bharat Express

Shane MacGowan, the Pogue’s’ lead singer, passed away at age 65

On Thursday, Shane MacGowan, the Irish punk from London who helped The Pogues revolutionize Irish traditional music, passed away. He was sixty-five.

MacGowan brought Irish traditional music to a huge new audience in the late 1980s by splicing it with punk.

MacGowan brought Irish traditional music to a huge new audience in the late 1980s by splicing it with punk.

Before succumbing to alcohol and drug addiction, Shane MacGowan, the London-born Irish punk who co-founded The Pogues and revolutionized Irish traditional music, wrote some of the most eerie ballads of the 1980s. He passed away on Thursday. He was sixty-five.

By fusing Irish traditional music with punk in the late 1980s, MacGowan opened up a whole new audience. His bittersweet, profanity-filled 1987 Christmas anthem “Fairytale of New York” also became a hit song.

At the height of the Pogues’ success in 1991, he was fired due to drug and alcohol abuse, but he was also well-known for his slurred speech, missing teeth, and on-stage meltdowns.

Also Read: Telengana assembly election: 20.64% voter turnout recorded till 11 am

Few at the time believed he would live into old age because his health was on the verge of collapsing in his 30s.

According to a statement posted on Instagram by MacGowan’s wife Victoria Mary Clarke, the singer has moved on to be with “Jesus and Mary, and his beautiful mother Therese”.

“Thank you for your presence in this world, you made it so very bright and you gave so much joy to so many people with your heart and soul and your music.”

In his autobiography, MacGowan, who was born on Christmas Day 1957 to Irish parents in the English county of Kent, recalled spending his early summers drinking, smoking, and singing traditional songs at an Irish farmhouse with his extended family.

In 2013, he compared it to living in a bar and told the Guardian. MacGowan struggled to fit in at the elite Westminster School in London after receiving a scholarship there. Two years later, he was expelled for drug use and began hanging out in bars in the city with other musicians. His drug and alcohol abuse at the age of 17 contributed to a mental collapse, for which he spent six months in a psychiatric hospital.

Also Read: Equity markets continue to rise on third day despite extremely tumultuous trading

After getting better, he welcomed the punk movement that erupted in London in the late 1970s and early 1980s. MacGowan started belting out Irish ballads over distorted guitars, forming a band called Pogue Mahone (Gaelic for “kiss my ass”), in line with the global trend of fusing traditional music styles.


With their debut album released in 1984, the band—which eventually abbreviated its name to The Pogue’s—attracted the attention of the British music press with its irreverent lyrics about drinking and fighting with impoverished Irish immigrants on London’s streets.

However, MacGowan’s enormous songwriter skills were on full display in “A Pair of Brown Eyes” from their 1985 follow-up album, the Elvis Costello-produced “Rum Sodomy & the Lash.” This song set the stage for later hits like “A Rainy Night in Soho” and “Summer in Siam.”

At the time, MacGowan was hailed as a visionary, a poet, and “one of the finest writers of the century” by Joe Strummer of the Clash, who would go on to play with the Pogues and briefly replace MacGowan as lead singer.

Also Read: Top EU diplomat: Russia needs to hear why it is condemned, isolated

Despite the radio-unfriendly lyrics, which feature an insulting exchange between an estranged couple, MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl created an instant Christmas classic with their duet of “Fairytale of New York” in 1987, marking the pinnacle of the Pogues’ success.

During a 1991 tour of Japan, MacGowan was fired by the Pogues after a string of hallucinogenic benders, which included an incident where he painted himself blue and stripped naked in New Zealand.

After ten years together with a new group, the Popes, MacGowan, and the Pogues got back together and went on frequent tours until 2014.

Entertainer Johnny Depp, bassist Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols, singers Bono, Nick Cave, and Sinead O’Connor, as well as actor Johnny Depp, joined MacGowan on stage in Dublin’s National Concert Hall in 2018 to commemorate his 60th birthday.

Also Read: Not New York but this is the most expensive city in world: Report

While giving MacGowan the Lifetime Achievement Award from the venue, Irish President Michael D. Higgins bowed his head in admiration.

Not long after the show, Cave, who is also close friends with MacGowan, told the Guardian, “I regard Shane as easily the best lyric writer of our generation.”

“He uses language in a very organic, simple, and clear way. His words always have a tender, sometimes harsh, and wholly authentic compassion.”