Irish music icon and Pogues songwriter Shane MacGowan passed away at the age of 65. President Pays Homage to “one of the greatest lyricists”

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Shane MacGowan

The 65-year-old legendary musician Shane MacGowan passed away.
The former leader of The Pogues and composer had been undergoing treatment for an infection at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin for a number of months.

On November 22, he was allowed to leave the hospital and went back to his house to spend time with his wife, Victoria Mary Clarke.

The Pogues released the following statement on behalf of Shane MacGowan’s father Maurice, sister Siobhan, and wife Victoria Mary Clarke: “We announce Shane MacGowan’s passing with the heaviest of hearts and the deepest sorrow.”

“This morning, November 30, 2023, at 3 a.m., Shane passed away quietly with his wife Victoria and family at his side.

His family found solace in the reading of the final rites and prayers.

“His wife Victoria, sister Siobhan, father Maurice, relatives, and a wide range of friends survive him.”

President Michael D. Higgins paid tribute, stating that Shane MacGowan will go down in history as “one of music’s greatest lyricists.”

“Like so many others around the world, I learned of Shane MacGowan’s passing this morning with the utmost sadness,” Mr. Higgins stated.

One of the best lyricists in music, Shane will always be cherished. If only that we could have heard him sing so many of his songs, which would have been masterfully composed poems.

“The genius of Shane’s contribution lies in the fact that his songs, as Shane would say, capture the measure of our dreams – of so many worlds, especially those of love, of the emigrant experience and how to bravely and authentically face the challenges it presents, and of living and witnessing the sides of life that so many choose to ignore.”

“Particular poignancy that both Shane and Sinéad O’Connor have left us in such quick succession,” Mr. Higgins observed.

In January 2018, Mr. Higgins said it was a privilege to give Shane MacGowan a lifetime achievement award in the National Concert Hall.

At 1:13 pm, the Dáil observed a minute of silence in remembrance of Shane MacGowan and the recent demise of Treas Honan, a former Seanad Cathaoirleach.

In the Dáil, Tánaiste Micheál Martin also honoured a legendary artist.

In his capacity as Gaeilge, Mr. Martin expressed his condolences to Victoria Mary Clarke, the wife of Shane MacGowan, and acknowledged that her husband was a very gifted musician.

“My deepest sympathies go out to the wife and family of the late Shane MacGowan,” he added. “I think Shane blended many different musical disciplines and genres, and his time in Tipperary was particularly influential.”

“Having grown up in Tipperary, he was acutely aware of the region’s rich musical history. He woven that with a lot of other things, and I believe that right now, with the song Fairytale of New York featuring Kirsty MacColl, his passing is really heartbreaking.

“I believe it was composed as a bet that he couldn’t write a Christmas song. Fortunately, he succeeded, and it’s now one of the most enduring, resonating with all among us.

“In the name of Dé, raibh an h-anam dílis.”

One of the greatest bandleaders of all time, Shane MacGowan was the main vocalist and lyricist of the Pogues, a groundbreaking Celtic punk band. He passed away at the age of 65 after a protracted illness. He passed away on November 30 at 3.30 am, according to a family statement. He was referred to as “our most beautiful, darling and dearly beloved.”

Shane will always be the light in my life, the yardstick by which I measure my dreams, and the love of my marriage, according to a statement posted on social media by his wife Victoria Mary Clarke. I feel incredibly fortunate to have met him, loved him, and experienced his unending, unconditional love.

MacGowan was admitted to the hospital in December 2022 due to viral encephalitis, which resulted in his spending several months in critical care during 2023.

MacGowan’s writing, which drew inspiration from literature, mythology, and the Bible, aimed to introduce the rock world to the power of Irish folk music. As the Pogues were first starting out, he told the NME in 1983 that “it became obvious that everything that could be done with a standard rock format had been done, usually quite badly.” “We just wanted to force music down the throats of a completely pap-oriented pop audience—music with roots, that is just generally stronger, and that has more real anger and emotion.”

The prejudiced “Paddy” label was either reclaimed or reinforced by him in his many writings about Irish culture, nationalism, and the realities of the Irish diaspora, depending on who you asked. In the 2020 documentary Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds With Shane MacGowan, Julien Temple addressed his early habit of performing in union jack suits. He stated, “I was ashamed I didn’t have the guts to join the IRA – and the Pogues was my way of overcoming that.”

After five Pogues albums and numerous solo recordings, he was recognised in 2018 with the Ivor Novello songwriting inspiration award for his dedication to his profession. Fairytale of New York, a duet by The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl, peaked at No. 2 in 1987 and went on to become a Christmas classic. It was their highest charting single.

Among those expressing respect was Irish President Michael Higgins, who wrote: “His writings have connected Irish people all over the globe to their culture and heritage… The brilliance of Shane’s contribution is in the way his songs, as he would say, catch the measure of our dreams: of a multitude of worlds, especially romantic ones; of the experience of being an immigrant and of meeting its obstacles head-on with bravery and authenticity; and of experiencing life and witnessing the aspects of it that so many choose to ignore.”

Among the artists praising MacGowan’s skill was Billy Bragg, who referred to him as “one of the greatest songwriters of my generation.” The Pogues gave folk music a fresh start in the early 1980s, and his compositions prioritised lyric writing, which paved the way for musicians like me and others.

MacGowan was born on December 25, 1957, which is appropriately close to Tunbridge Wells. His parents were immigrants from Ireland who lived in Kent and travelled around the southeast of England. His mother’s side of the family taught him a song every day, and at the age of three, MacGowan delivered his first performance. His entire family was involved in music. “They got me up to sing at the kitchen table.”

and the song was really well received,” he said to the Guardian. “After that, I performed in public on a regular basis.”
The youthful MacGowan was given a scholarship to Westminster School and was well-known for his literary abilities. However, in his second year, he was expelled for drug possession. He thought about becoming a priest when he was a teenager, but then he discovered punk. “I had fun during the punk era. Extremely joyful,” MacGowan said to Vox. “You refer to it as pandemonium. It’s not chaos in my opinion. That seems natural to me.

He suffered from the affects of drug and alcohol abuse and started drinking as a child after his family gave him Guinness to help him fall asleep. However, in 1990, he made the claim that “Self-abuse, or whatever you wanna call it, is also incredibly creative.”

He originally became well-known in 1976 after an NME article titled “Cannibalism at Clash gig” featured a picture of him during a performance at the ICA in London, showing him with an injured ear. Afterwards going as Shane O’Hooligan, MacGowan started his own punk band, the Nipple Erectors (later renamed the Nips), and recorded a demo for Paul Weller’s Polydor.

In the early 1980s, MacGowan and John Hasler, a latecomer to Nips who had previously been with Madness, split off from the group to form Pogue Mahone, a corruption of the Gaelic phrase “kiss my arse,” along with members of the Millwall Chainsaws. Due in part to BBC censorship, they renamed themselves the Pogues and acquired a reputation for fierce live performances.

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