Shane MacGowan’s sister on how ‘Fairytale of New York’ “captured what Christmas was like”

Shane MacGowan’s sister Siobhan has said that ‘Fairytale of New York’ “captured what Christmas was like for a lot of people”. 

Siobhan MacGowan was speaking about the song to Hot Press Magazine, where she said, “I thought it was absolutely amazing. What a song: the orchestration, the pathos, the beauty, the anger.” 

Yesterday (November 30), the frontman of The Pogues died aged 65, as was confirmed in a joint statement by his wife, Victoria Mary Clarke, his sister and his father. 


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The statement read: “It is with the deepest sorrow and heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of Shane MacGowan. Shane died peacefully at 3am this morning (30 November, 2023) with his wife Victoria and family by his side.” 

Siobhan continued in her comments about her brother’s festive classic: “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.” 

“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.” 

Since his death was announced, fans have been rallying to get ‘Fairytale of New York’ to the Christmas Number One spot. The song, which features Kirsty MacColl, peaked at Number Two on its original release in 1987. 

Though it has yet to score the Christmas Number One, ‘Fairytale of New York’ has reached the UK Top 20 on 19 different occasions since its release, including every year during Christmastime since 2005. It is also the most played Christmas song of the 21st century in the UK (per The Telegraph). 


Today, the 2020 documentary Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan, directed by Julien Temple, returned to BBC iPlayer

Elsewhere, tributes have come flooding in to the poetic after the news of his death

MacGowan’s close friend Nick Cave, described him as “the greatest songwriter of his generation”, and said he was “a true friend and the greatest songwriter of his generation. A very sad day.”