World

Shane MacGowan, best known for Christmas hit Fairytale Of New York, dies

Musician and singer Shane MacGowan, best known as the frontman of The Pogues, has died at the age of 65.

His wife Victoria Mary Clarke said in a post on Instagram: “Shane will always be the light that I hold before me and the measure of my dreams and the love of my life.”

The Irish star had suffered from several health issues in recent years.

Born in Kent on Christmas Day in 1957, MacGowan will forever be associated with the festive period thanks to The Pogues’ 1987 hit, Fairytale Of New York, featuring the late Kirsty MacColl.

Throughout the 1980s and early ’90s, the band also had hits including Dirty Old Town, The Irish Rover, A Pair Of Brown Eyes and A Rainy Night In Soho.

MacGowan was a punk rebel, almost as famous for his drinking and drug taking – and for the toll it took on his teeth – as he was for his music. But he was a gifted storyteller from a young age, winning a Daily Mirror literary prize when he was 13, and a scholarship to Westminster School for his essays.

“I didn’t last there very long,” he told the Guardian in a 2013 interview. “I got nicked for smoking a joint and was kicked out.”

The Pogues in 1985: Shane MacGowan, Andrew Ranken, Jem Finer, Terry Woods, James Fearley, Philip Chevron, Spider Stacy and Cait O'Riordan. Pic: Everett/Shutterstock
Image:
The Pogues in 1985: Shane MacGowan, Andrew Ranken, Jem Finer, Terry Woods, James Fearley, Philip Chevron, Spider Stacy and Cait O’Riordan. Pic: Everett/Shutterstock

He had been unwell in recent years, receiving treatment in hospital for encephalitis in December 2022, and spending time in intensive care in the summer. He was back in hospital in November, with former bandmates Spider Stacy and Terry Woods among those who visisted him.

MacGowan had also used a wheelchair since 2015 following several falls, breaking his pelvis and then his right knee.

The singer married his long-term partner, journalist Victoria Mary Clarke, at a ceremony in Copenhagen in 2018, with his friend Johnny Depp playing guitar at their wedding.

Depp performed bass guitar for the Pogues during their performance on 'Top of the Pops'.
Image:
MacGowan (right) and Johnny Depp pictured in 1994

Writing for the Irish Independent ahead of their nuptials, about the first time she met MacGowan at the age of 16, Clarke said she was “awe-struck”, before going on to detail a complicated relationship that “makes the Fairytale Of New York couple from Shane’s Christmas song seem tame and orderly”.

She said: “When you meet ‘The One’, you have a choice. You can dive in, marry them while you are infatuated with each other and hope for the best. Or you can wait until you are sure that the honeymoon phase has worn off and you are seeing each other in the light of having lived, no longer young, beautiful and indestructible.”

Articles You May Like

‘Welcome to the moon’: Spacecraft Odysseus touches down after ‘nail-biter’ first mission ever by private company
Daytona 500 is never fair but Byron’s victory is no fluke
Speaker says MPs face ‘frightening’ threats as he defends prioritising safety
Two men charged with murder over shooting at Super Bowl victory celebrations
Government Eases Approval Process for Foreign Direct Investment in Space Sector