St. Patrick’s Day with The Pogues

In the spirit of a belated St. Patty’s Day, I’m jumping a few years ahead to 1982, when The Pogues banded together. By meshing the spirit of punk with the traditional sound of Irish folk music, The Pogues attracted a fan base from their London hometown.

After playing in punk band, The Nips, Shane MacGowan teamed up with tin whistle player Spider Stacy and recruited former Nips member, Jim Fearnley, to play guitar. These three initially formed The Pogues. Over time, they added bassist Cait O’ Riordan, drummer Andrew David Ranken and Jim Finer on banjo.

Although they released their first album, Red Roses for Me in 1984, The Pogues gained attention in the U.S. after their second album came out a year later. With help from producer Elvis Costello, Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash became an international success with notable songs like “Dirty Old Town” and “The Band Played Waltzing Matilda.”

The Pogues became recognized as a radically political band, as MacGowan’s use of poetic lyrics often depicted working-class liberalism. Although MacGowan’s drunken stupor showmanship and humor earned a large fan base, it led to the band’s downfall. Because his drug use and alcoholism had gotten out of control, MacGowan left The Pogues in 1991 and was replaced by band member- Spider Stacy- on vocals. After five years, they broke up but regrouped in 2001, before officially retiring in 2014.

From the album, If I Should Fall From Grace With God,  this is a video of”Fairytale of New York” which became one of The Pogues’ greatest hits.

On another side note, here is a video of “Tuesday Morning” from the album, Waiting for Herb. This is after Shane MacGowan left the band.


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