Shane MacGowan, the adored, chain-smoking, hard-drinking leader of The Pogues for a long time, passed away on Thursday at the age of 65, according to a post on his wife Victoria Mary Clarke’s Instagram page.
Shane, who will always be the light in my life, the yardstick by which I measure my dreams, the love of my life, the most exquisite soul, a stunning angel, the sun, the moon, and the beginning and end of everything I cherish, has gone to be with Jesus, Mary, and his lovely mother Therese.
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Shane MacGowan: How Irish Folk Roots Shaped The Pogues’ Distinctive Music
While he was “surrounded by folk and traditional music” in Tipperary, Ireland, where his mother’s family lived, the singer was born in southern England. This music would later become the foundation of his band’s signature sound.
We announce the passing of our most beautiful, darling, and dearly beloved Shane MacGowan with the deepest sorrow and heaviest of hearts,” said Clarke in a statement released in tandem with the singer’s father Maurice and sister Siobhan. They said that he passed away quietly, surrounded by his loved ones.
After receiving therapy for several months, MacGowan was allowed to leave a Dublin hospital on November 22 in order to spend more time with his friends and family at home.Despite his health issues, Johnny was able to rejoin The Pogues in 2001 following a ten-year hiatus brought on by his alcoholism. His last performance with the band was in 2014 when his health worsened to the point where he could no longer play, about ten years later.
Shane MacGowan: The Pogues’ Trailblazing Fusion of Punk and Irish Folk
As a young man, MacGowan became deeply involved in the counterculture punk music scene of London in the 1970s. He initially joined a band named The Nipple Erectors, or just the Nips, and then formed The Pogues with a few mates. In a way that few others had at the time, the band was able to cross genres with their distinctive fusion of the intense energy of punk rock with the poignant laments and instruments traditionally associated with Irish folk music, as well as MacGowan’s poetic lyrics.
Many in Britain and Ireland will find his passing especially heartbreaking as The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York” is an irreverent and tormented homage to love between Irish immigrants trying to make it in the new world. has been a season-long favorite and chart-topper for several years. According to RTE, the song came about as a consequence of a 1987 wager that MacGowan, who was born on Christmas Day, couldn’t compose a Christmas song.
In a memorial to MacGowan, Irish President Michael Higgins was described by RTE as calling him “one of music’s greatest lyricists”.”It never occurred to me that you could play Irish music to a rock audience,” MacGowan joked in his co-authored biography “A Drink with Shane MacGowan,” published in 2001. However, he claimed that “it finally clicked” when he realized he could “found a London Irish band that plays rock and roll-influenced Irish music.” I merely intended to rock up the old ones at first, but then I got into writing.”
Clarke acknowledged MacGowan’s songwriting prowess in her homage to her late spouse by referring to him as the “measure of my dreams,” a reference to the last line of his song “A Rainy Night in Soho”:The song is almost ended, and we might never know its meaning. I still have a light in front of me. My dreams are measured by you. The extent of my aspirations.”