The Pogues’ Shane MacGowan Has Died

A legend passes...

The Pogues’ frontman and lyricist Shane MacGowan has died.

The singer had suffered numerous health issues in recent years. Taken to hospital earlier this month, he was discharged a week ago. News of Shane’s passing was confirmed by his wife, Victoria Mary Clarke, who said:

“Shane will always be the light that I hold before me and the measure of my dreams and the love of my life”.

Born on Christmas Day, 1957, Shane MacGowan first came to prominence as a ‘face’ during the punk era. A notable figure at seminal shows by The Sex Pistols and the Clash, his own band – the Nips – found a degree of cult fame before collapsing.

Digging into his Irish roots, the Pogues began as Pogue Mahone – literally, ‘kiss my arse’ in Irish – melding together rebel songs, traditional favourites, and raucous, newly penned drinking songs. Quickly gaining prominence in London during an era marked by anti-Irish sentiment in this country, the Pogues were an electrifying live band, whose songwriting quickly blossomed.

Informed by some of the great Irish writers of the 20th century in addition to the country’s deep and abiding well of traditional song, The Pogues were simply one of the finest bands produced by these lands in the 1980s. A run of glorious albums framed their evolutionary arc, with some exceptional singles to boot.

Highlights would include ‘The Irish Rover’ – which took the Pogues and the Dubliners to Top Of The Pops for a joint performance – and, of course, Christmas classic ‘The Fairytale Of New York’.

The Pogues fell apart at the 80s ended, with Shane MacGowan then forming a new group, the Popes. The band reformed in 2001, proving to still have plenty of fire in their bellies; they went on indefinite hiatus in 2014.

The death of Shane MacGowan ends a singular career, his music and lyrics touching many at a time when they were most needed. He joins ‘Fairytale Of New York’ collaborator Kirsty MacColl, who passed away in 2000.

The Pogues have posted an official statement:

Band mate Spider Stacy adds:

Shane MacGowan was 65 years old. He is survived by his wife, Victoria Mary Clarke.

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