Shane MacGowan's sister says Fairytale Of New York "captured what Christmas was like"

1 December 2023, 15:16 | Updated: 5 December 2023, 11:00

Kirsty MacColl and Shane MacGowan performed together on the Christmas classic Fairytale Of New York in 1987.
Kirsty MacColl and Shane MacGowan performed together on the Christmas classic Fairytale Of New York in 1987. Picture: Brian Rasic/Getty Images

The Pogues frontman died on Thursday, and his sibling says she's "proud" of his most famous song.

Radio X

By Radio X

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Shane MacGowan "captured what Christmas was like for a lot of people" in his song Fairytale Of New York, according to his sister Siobhan.

The Pogues frontman died on Thursday (30th November) aged 65, after living with several health issues over the past few years. MacGowan had been diagnosed with viral encephalitis - an infection that can cause brain damage and life-threatening complications - last year, and had been receiving care at St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin, Ireland.

Now, his sibling Siobhan MacGowan has shared her thoughts on her brother's classic song, which The Pogues recorded with Kirsty MacColl and released in 1987... and why she believes it has endured for over 30 years.

The Pogues - Fairytale Of New York (Official Video)

Speaking to Hot Press magazine, she said: "I thought it was absolutely amazing. What a song: the orchestration, the pathos, the beauty, the anger.

"I thought it captured what Christmas was like for a lot of people, which we all understood but nobody ever put in Christmas songs. I was very impressed that, finally, there was a Christmas song that maybe portrayed real life more than the other Christmas songs did.

She added: “I was very proud of Shane for having done it - but not a bit surprised that he was the one who brought this to the fore.”

The news of Shane’s death was shared by his wife Victoria Mary Clarke in an emotional social media post.

Clarke wrote: "I don’t know how to say this so I am just going to say it. Shane who will always be the light that I hold before me and the measure of my dreams and the love of my life and the most beautiful soul and beautiful angel and the sun and the moon and the start and end of everything that I hold dear has gone to be with Jesus and Mary and his beautiful mother Therese."

"I am blessed beyond words to have met him and to have had the joy and fun and laughter and so many adventures.

"There’s no way to describe the loss that I am feeling and the longing for just one more of his smiles that lit up my world.

"Thank you thank you thank you thank you for your presence in this world you made it so very bright and you gave so much joy to so many people with your heart and soul and your music. You will live in my heart forever.

"Rave on in the garden all wet with rain that you loved so much. You meant the world to me."

The Daily Mail reports that bookmakers Ladbrokes have "slashed odds" on Fairytale Of New York making Christmas Number 1 in 2023, giving the track 1/4 odds.

Alex Apati of Ladbrokes told the Mail: "The Pogues were already clear favourites for this year's festive top spot, before this morning's tragic news.

"We'd be amazed - at this point - if Fairytale of New York wasn't top of the charts come Christmas Day."