Shane MacGowan

Shane MacGowan

Infobox musical artist
Name = Shane MacGowan

Img_capt = Shane MacGowan performing with The Pogues
Img_size = 300px
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Shane Patrick Lysaght MacGowan
Alias =
Born = birth date and age|1957|12|25|df=yes
Died =
Origin = Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England
Instrument = Vocals, Guitar, Banjo, Bodhrán
Genre = Folk, Rock, Punk, Celtic, Celtic rock, Celtic Punk
Occupation = Singer-songwriter, Musician
Years_active = 1977–Present
Label =
Associated_acts = The Pogues, Shane MacGowan and The Popes, The Nipple Erectors
URL = []

Shane Patrick Lysaght MacGowan (born 25 December 1957) is a musician and singer best known as the original singer and songwriter of The Pogues.


MacGowan was born in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England. His parents, both Irish [A Drink With Shane MacGowan.] , lived in many parts of the south-east of England, including Brighton and London. Soon after his birth MacGowan's mother returned to Ireland, where he spent the next six years of his life at his mother's family home in Carney, near Nenagh, County Tipperary. He returned to England where he attended Holmewood House Preparatory School at Langton Green, Tunbridge Wells. He was a moderately above average scholar but suffered from bullying, mainly implying a lack of social skills. Despite his early years in Ireland and private education, he acquired (and retains) a north London accent. Whilst in Ireland, he became completely immersed in the traditional music of Irish culture. His mother was a singer and traditional dancer and had worked as a model in Dublin. His father was very interested in literature and writing. In 1971, MacGowan earned a musical scholarship and was accepted into Westminster School, a renowned English public school close to the Houses of Parliament. He was found in possession of drugs and was expelled in his second year [cite news | first=Johny | last=Rogan | coauthors= | title=Rebel yell | date=1998-09-26 | publisher= | url = | work =The Irish Post | pages = | accessdate = 2007-02-13 | language = ] .

MacGowan got his first taste of fame in 1976 at a Clash concert, when his earlobe was bitten by a girl he had previously been kissing (Kate Korus, formerly of The Slits). A photographer snapped a picture of him covered in blood and it made the papers [cite news | first=Ian | last=Fortnum | coauthors= | title=It's a long way from Tipperary | date=1997-01 | publisher= | url = | work =VOX | pages = | accessdate = 2007-02-13 | language = ] , with the headline "Cannibalism At Clash Gig". Shortly after this, he formed his own punk rock band, The Nipple Erectors, later renamed "The Nips". He also tried busking at Covent Garden but had little success.


MacGowan drew on his Irish heritage when founding The Pogues. Many of his songs are influenced by Irish nationalism, Irish history, the experiences of the Irish in London and the U.S., and London life in general. MacGowan has often cited the 19th-century Irish poet James Clarence Mangan and playwright Brendan Behan as influences.

Between 1985 and 1987 he co-wrote what is perhaps his best-known song, "Fairytale of New York", which he performed with Kirsty MacColl. After The Pogues threw MacGowan out for unprofessional behaviour, he formed a new band, Shane MacGowan and The Popes. In 1997, MacGowan appeared on Lou Reed's "Perfect Day", covered by numerous artists in aid of Children in Need. The single entered the charts at number one.Fact|date=August 2008

The Pogues and MacGowan re-formed for a sell-out tour in 2001 and re-formed again in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 for further tours, including headline slots at Guilfest (UK) and the Azkena Rock Festival (Basque Country). In 2005, the Pogues re-released "Fairytale of New York" to raise funds for the Justice For Kirsty Campaign and Crisis At Christmas. The single was the best-selling festive-themed single of 2005, reaching #2 in the UK Charts.

In 2006, he was voted 50th in the "NME" Rock Heroes List. He has been seen many times with former Libertines and current Babyshambles singer Pete Doherty. The two are close friends; MacGowan has joined Babyshambles on stage. Other famous friends include Johnny Depp, who starred in the video for "That Woman's Got Me Drinking", and Joe Strummer, who referred to MacGowan as "one of the best writers of the century". Strummer occasionally joined MacGowan and the Pogues on stage (and brief replaced MacGowan as lead singer after his sacking from the band).

His sister is Siobhan MacGowan, a journalist, writer and songwriter, who released her own critically acclaimed album "Chariot" in 1998, and published a children's novel, "Etain's Dream". In early March 2007, MacGowan announced plans to marry his long-time girlfriend Victoria Mary Clarke.

In 2000 Tim Bradford used the title "Is Shane MacGowan still alive?" for a humorous book about Ireland and Irish culture. [ [ "Is Shane Macgowan still alive?: Travels in Irishry"] , London: Flamingo, 2001 (ISBN-978-0006551688; LCC-DA959.1)]

elf-destructive behaviour

MacGowan is an avid proponent of recreational drugs including alcohol. Irish singer Sinéad O'Connor reported him to the police in London for drug possession — in an attempt, she said, to discourage him from using heroin. [Stephen Lemons, [ "Shane MacGowan", article, 31 July 2001] ] He claims to have been introduced to alcohol and cigarettes by his aunt on the promise he would not worship the devil. In a 50th-birthday interview with the London "Daily Mirror" he told a reporter: "I was actually four when I started drinking. I just remember that Ribena turned into stout and I developed an immediate love for it." [ [ London "Daily Mail" article, 24 Dec. 2007] ] MacGowan says he tried whiskey when he was 10 and continued to drink heavily thereafter.

Speaking on BBC Four's "Folk Britannia" television programme (first broadcast February 2006), Robyn Hitchcock recalled: "I remember going to the Hope and Anchor (a pub where many folk punk acts played in London). The Pogues were all on stage and ready, it was a full house, but they hadn't started yet. Then this character shambled in through the door and shambled downstairs. I thought, 'Jesus, you're not letting that guy in are you?'. Then he walked on stage. That guy was Shane MacGowan."

He has suffered physically from his years of binge drinking; he is notorious for performing while drunk, and was often impaired in interviews; on the BBC TV political magazine programme "This Week" MacGowan gave incoherent and slurred answers to questions from Janet Street-Porter about the public smoking ban in Ireland.

On 7 September 2002 MacGowan became so intoxicated before a performance at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin that he stopped singing and threw up over fans in the front row. Fiona Wynne wrote in the "Daily Mirror" that the consequent criticism of the behaviour of McGowan "who was in a wheelchair after breaking his leg" led Sinéad O'Connor to call Joe Duffy's RTÉ Liveline programme three days later to defend MacGowan, saying: "He is an angel near the end who needs support. He's too far gone to stop drinking; he has an illness that cannot be cured, and as far as I can see, the end is near for him". [Fiona Wynne, [ "Shane pukes on fans at gig", London "Daily Mirror" article, 11 September 2002] ]

Conversely, MacGowan's fiancee Victoria Mary Clarke claims that although his alcoholism was so bad that the two had to split up at one point, " [Shane] loves a drink and he probably always will. But he drinks less than people think and I haven’t seen him drunk for quite some time", suggesting that his enjoyment of alcohol is in moderation, and perhaps not as dire or life-threatening as most of his fans believe. According to Clarke, "it became difficult for us to get from A to B without being dragged into bars by well-wishers desperate to buy him a drink", and "Shane, essentially a shy person, hated seeing his picture on magazine covers and on billboards because he thought he was ugly. He loathed interviews and despised schmoozing. To cope with his social anxiety, he began drinking more and more".

Dental problems

MacGowan has, throughout his life, suffered from dental problems, caused by an imbalance of chemicals in his mouth. An article in The Mail writes: "Now he is 50, the singer said he at last planned to address the ever-present problem of his trademark teeth — or lack of them. With a mouthful of bloody stumps and only the odd tooth here and there, MacGowan said 2008 would be the year he sorted his mouth out. 'I'm going to get my teeth done,' he said. 'Emergency dentures to stop my face falling apart. I might get some dentures in and leave it at that, or I might get them done gradually'." [ [ "Fairytale of New York's Shane MacGowan" London "Sunday Mail" article, 24 Dec. 2007] ] The singer once protested when the American record company of the Pogues released a record with a cover bearing a picture of MacGowan with teeth airbrushed in, allegedly so as not to deter American buyers.

elected discography

The Nips/Nipple Erectors
*"Bops, Babes, Booze & Bovver" (2003 Archived Compilation)

The Pogues Singles
*"Poguetry In Motion E.P." (#29 UK)
*"The Irish Rover" (Featuring The Dubliners) (#8 UK)
*"Fairytale of New York" (Featuring Kirsty MacColl) - #2 UK; Reissued in 1991 (#24 UK), 2005 (#3 UK) and 2007 (#4 UK)
*"Fiesta" (#24 UK)

Solo singles
*"What a Wonderful World" (With Nick Cave, #69 UK)
*"The Church of The Holy Spook" (With The Popes, #74 UK)
*"That Woman's Got Me Drinking" (#34 UK)
*"Haunted" (With Sinéad O'Connor, #30 UK)
*"My Way" (#29 UK)

Guest appearances
*"Perfect Day" (Children in Need Single, #1 UK)
*"The Wild Rover" (with Sinéad O'Connor) - [ Soldat Louis] , album "Auprès de ma bande", 1993
*"The Wild Rover" and "Good Rats" (with Dropkick Murphys)
*"Ride On" and "Spancill Hill" (with Cruachan)
*"What a Wonderful World" (with Nick Cave, 1992)
*"God Help Me" (with The Jesus and Mary Chain, "Stoned & Dethroned", 1994)
*"Death Is Not The End" (on Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds "Murder Ballads" LP, 1996)
*"Dirty Old Town" Live - The Henry Rollins show on IFC
*"Lucy" (on Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds "No More Shall We Part" 2001)

*"Red Roses for Me" (With The Pogues, October 1984)
*"Rum Sodomy & the Lash" (With The Pogues, August 1985)
*"If I Should Fall from Grace with God" (With The Pogues, January 1988)
*"Peace and Love" (With The Pogues, 1989)
*"Hell's Ditch" (With The Pogues, 1990)
*"The Snake" (With Shane MacGowan and the Popes, June 1995)
*"The Crock of Gold" (With Shane MacGowan and the Popes, October 1997)
*"" (With Shane MacGowan and the Popes, February 2002)


*"The Punk Rock Movie" - 1979 (Archive footage appearance as himself)
*"Eat the Rich" - 1987
*"Straight to Hell" - 1987
*"The Pogues - Live at the Town & Country" - 1988
*"The Ghosts of Oxford Street" - 1991
*"" - 1995
*"The Filth and the Fury - 2000 (Archive footage appearance as himself) [cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=imdb | date=2002-12-09 | publisher= | url = | work = | pages = | accessdate = | language = ]
*"" - 2001
*"Westway to the World - 2002 (Archive footage appearance as himself)
*"The Libertine" - 2005
*"Harry Hill's TV Burp" - 2007


External links

*imdb name|id=0532287|name=Shane MacGowan
* [ Official Shane MacGowan Web Page]
* [ Shane MacGowan complete discography]
* [ Official Pogues Web Page] ------

NAME=MacGowan, Shane Patrick Lysaght
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Irish singer; lead singer of The Pogues
DATE OF BIRTH=1957-12-25
PLACE OF BIRTH=Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England

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