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One summer evening, drunk to hell...
"On the first day of March it is raining
It is raining worse than anything that I have ever seen
Stay on the other side of the road 'cause you can never tell
We've a thirst like a gang of devils, we're the boys from the county Hell"
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The Pogues were, and occasionally still are, a Celtic Punk Rock band from London, formed as Pogue Mahone in 1982. After landing several hits in The '80s and early Nineties, they lost lead singer/songwriter Shane MacGowan to personal issues in 1991, and after two more albums the band called it quits in 1996. The band reformed in 2001 and has gone on several tours, but have no plans to record any new material.

They're often noted for awesome songwriting, their mix of traditional folk music with punkish energy, and sadly, the horrible death of guest vocalist Kirsty MacColl and the very public self destruction (and poor dental hygiene) of Shane MacGowan.

Their biggest hit, "Fairytale of New York", has been voted Ireland's and Britain's favourite Christmas song or thereabouts on several occasions, and reliably returns to the charts every December. It was certified a million seller in 2012, 25 years after its original release.

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Discography:

  • Red Roses for Me (1984)
  • Rum, Sodomy & the Lash (1985)
  • If I Should Fall from Grace with God (1988)
  • Peace and Love (1989)
  • Hell's Ditch (1990)
  • Waiting for Herb (1993)
  • Pogue Mahone (1996)


This band provides examples of:

  • Age-Progression Song: "Poor Paddy", though nothing much changes for the protagonist except that he becomes more and more exhausted.
  • The Alcoholic: Shane. Though in one interview he denied being an alcoholic, arguing that an alcoholic is someone who thinks he can stop drinking anytime, and he didn't have any delusions about that.
  • Anti-Christmas Song:
    • "Fairytale of New York" is one of the most famous examples—so common on the radio during the holiday season that most people don't even pick up on the massive Lyrical Dissonance.
    You scumbag, you maggot
    You cheap, lousy faggot
    Happy Christmas your arse
    I pray God it's our last
    • Yet at the same time, it's probably much less of an Anti Christmas Song than it's generally painted, on the basis that the quote above is pretty much the only bit most people actually know, but importantly, it's not the end of the song. The end of the song implies a reconciliation, and ends on one of the most realistically sweet and romantic notes of any Christmas song.
    I kept them with me, babe
    I put them with my own
    Can't make it out alone
    I built my dreams around you.
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  • Badass Boast: "Boys From The County Hell", as in the page quote.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Kitty" refers to the title character as "mo mhuirnín" and "a stór", both Irish terms of endearment.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: One led to the creation of the song "Turkish Song Of The Damned" - The band had acquired a German magazine with an article about The Damned while on an international tour, and noticed that it referred to the Damned B-Side "Turkey Song" as "Turkish Song Of The Damned" note  - They thought it was too cool a title not to use, so they came up with music and lyrics to fit it.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: "A Pair of Brown Eyes"
    Some prayed, some cursed
    Some prayed,
    then cursed
    Then prayed, then bled some more
  • Cluster F-Bomb:
    • "Bottle of Smoke"
    • Happens twice in "The Sick Bed of of Cuchulainn"
  • Cover Version: Usually at least one per album.
  • Draft Dodging: "The Recruiting Sergeant"
    There's fighting in Dublin to be done
    Let your sergeants and your commanders go
    Let Englishmen fight English wars
    It's nearly time they started-oh...
  • Dual-Meaning Chorus: "Sally Maclennane" uses the same chorus to describe a farewell party for a friend leaving town and, later, that same friend's wake.
  • Epic Rocking: "Body of an American" and "Turkish Song of the Damned"
  • Foreign Cuss Word: The band name started as one - Pogue Mahone (póg mo thóin) is anglicised Irish for "Kiss my arse." Amusingly, the póg part means "kiss", so the band name is sort of "The Kisses".
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: All the insults in "Fairytale of New York" usually go uncensored. In 2007 BBC Radio 1 played a version that censored some of the more coarse insults. It lasted less than a day before they backed down and restored the uncensored version.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: "Fiesta"
  • The Masochism Tango: "Fairytale of New York"
  • Manly Tears: "Thousands Are Sailing"
    Then we raised a glass to JFK and a dozen more besides
    When I got back to my empty room I suppose I must have cried
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Fairytale of New York"
  • Ode to Intoxication: Pretty much every other song.
  • Protest Song: "Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six" about The Troubles, and the imprisonment of the Birmingham Six, who were later found to have been, indeed, innocent.
  • Red Light District: "The Old Main Drag" is an unusually brutal depiction.
    And now I am lying here, I've had too much booze
    I've been spat on and shat on and raped and abused
    I know that I am dying and I wish I could beg
    For some money to take me from the old main drag -
  • Sentenced to Down Under: "Kitty"
  • Shout-Out:
    • In "Fiesta", to "Costello el Rey del America" and his (then-)wife, former Pogues bassist and occasional female singer "suntuosa Cait O'Riordan". (The lyrics of the song describe the festivities surrounding their wedding.)
    • The instrumental "Cats of Kilkenny" sounds suspiciously like an acoustic and Hibernised cover of the Doctor Who theme.
    • "Fairytale of New York" is named after the novel by J.P. Donleavy. The song has nothing to do with the book, but Elvis Costello convinced them that it needed a better title than "Christmas Eve in the Drunk Tank", and the song is set in New York.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: "Sit Down By The Fire"
    Good night and God bless
    Now fuck off to bed
  • Soiled City on a Hill: "London You're A Lady"
    Your architects were madmen
    Your builders sane but drunk
    Among your faded jewels
    Shine acid house and punk
  • Solo Duet: "Gentleman Soldier" has Shane putting on three distinct voices as narrator, a soldier, and the soldier's girlfriend.
  • Special Guest: For a while after Shane left the band, the lead singer was Joe Strummer.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Spider Stacy usually sang at least one song on each album (or in concert when Shane was too drunk to perform) and took over lead vocalist duties after Shane left. Caitlin O'Riordan also sang lead on "A Man You Don't Meet Every Day".
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Shane MacGowan's backing band during his solo career was called The Popes.
  • Token Minority: The guitarist, Philip Chevron, was very much openly gay, and once described himself as "[a] homosexual in a heterosexual band". He even had a crush on James Fearnley, the accordionist.
  • Trope Codifier: Or possibly even the Trope Maker for Celtic punk, and, within a larger context, folk punk.
  • Uncommon Time: "Rocky Road To Dublin" is a slip jig in 9/8.

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