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Legendary Pogues Frontman Shane MacGowan Has Passed Away 

Legendary Pogues Frontman Shane MacGowan Has Passed Away 

A statement shared on social media from The Pogues confirmed the sad news, it read “It is with deepest of sorrow and heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of Shane Macgowan. Shane died peacefully at 3am this morning with his wife Victoria and family by his side.”

MacGowan had many battles with his health and had spent several months receiving treatment in St Vincents Hospital. He was discharged on 22 November and went home to spend time with his family.

Although born in Kent, MacGowan was definitely an Irishman. Both of his parents were Irish and he spent much of his childhood in Tipperary, where he fell in love with traditional Irish folk music.

As a teenager he excelled at English literature and won a scholarship to Westminster school, although he would fail to complete his education with the school after his expulsion for drug possession. He then considered joining the priesthood, that was until he found his true passion, punk.

MacGowan found his place in the 1970’s London punk scene under the name Shane O’Hooligan. He began to taste success with his band The Nipple Erectors, later known as the Nips. But it wasn’t till he joined forces with Jem Finer and Spider Stacey and formed Pogue Mahone, who would eventually be known as The Pogues, that his career really took off.

Their debut album, Red Roses for Me, was released in 1984 to great acclaim and they followed that up with 1985’s Rum Sodomy and the Lash. MacGowan’s love of traditional Irish folk music and his deep-rooted punk spirit had given the Pogues an entirely unique sound which set them apart from other bands of that era.

That success did come at a cost. The constant pressures of touring, releasing new music and the hectic lifestyle of a musician was weighing heavily with his addiction to drugs and alcohol. He left the band in 1991 and continued to perform as both a solo artist and with his new band The Popes. He reunited with The Pogues in 2001 and played with them till 2014 when his ill-health left him unable to perform.

In 2018 a celebration was held at the National Concert Hall in his honour to mark his 60th birthday. Sinéad O’Connor, Bono, Glen Hansard, Imelda May and Nick Cave were all in attendance to pay tribute to the legendary songwriter. President Michael D Higgins was also there to award MacGowan with a lifetime achievement award. 2018 proved to be a big year for MacGowan as he married his long-time partner Victoria Mary Clarke that November.

Without doubt the Pogues biggest commercial success was Fairytale of New York. A timeless song that has become a Christmas classic. Despite continued debates about its lyrics, it is often voted as one of the best Christmas songs of all time. It seems fitting that as we move into the festive period it will be streamed and played on radio stations throughout the world in his honour.

Ireland has lost a true music icon, R.I.P Shane MacGowan.


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