The Pogues Frontman Shane MacGowan Dead at 65

Shane MacGowan, founder and frontman for The Pogues, is dead … according to his wife, Victoria Mary Clarke.

Victoria announced Shane’s death early Thursday morning. Although she hasn’t mentioned a cause of death, Shane had reportedly been recently diagnosed with encephalitis and discharged from a Dublin hospital.

Shane MacGowan and band

Shane formed The Pogues in 1982, amid London’s punk scene, with fellow members Peter “Spider” Stacy, Jem Finer and James Fearnley. The original band name was Pogue Mahone, a Celtic phrase that translates to “kiss my arse” — as the name portends, they played Celtic folk music, but with a punk attitude.

Shane MacGowan

The band first gained popularity opening for The Clash in 1984, and eventually worked with Elvis Costello … who produced some of their early records. The Pogues’ biggest mainstream success came with their hit, “Fairytale of New York” in 1987.

The Christmas-themed track has become a holiday staple — especially in the UK — so, there’s something poetic about Shane passing at this time of year.

He was actually kicked out of the band in 1991, following a legendarily chaotic live performance at a festival in Japan — and, after recording one more album, The Pogues broke up.

Shane eventually got the band back together for a successful reunion tour in 2001.

the pogues performing onstage

Victoria said of Shane, “I am blessed beyond words to have met him and to have loved him and to have been so endlessly and unconditionally loved by him.โ€

Shane was 65.


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