- “Transmetropolitan” (MacGowan)
- “The Battle of Brisbane” (MacGowan)
- “The Auld Triangle” (Brendan Behan)
- “Waxie’s Dargle” (Traditional)
- “Boys from the County Hell” (MacGowan)
- “Sea Shanty” (MacGowan)
- “Dark Streets of London” (MacGowan)
- “Whiskey You’re the Devil” (Traditional)
- “Streams of Whiskey” (MacGowan)
- “Poor Paddy” (Traditional)
- “Dingle Regatta” (Traditional)
- “Greenland Whale Fisheries” (Traditional)
- “Down in the Ground Where the Dead Men Go” (MacGowan)
- “Kitty” (Traditional)
Shane MacGowan nacque il giorno di Natale del 1957 in Inghilterra, da genitori irlandesi provenienti da Puckhaun, vicino Nenagh, nella Contea di Tipperary. La madre è una cantante e ballerina di musica tradizionale irlandese, mentre il padre lavorava per la diocesi. Shane visse in una fattoria irlandese fino all’età di sei anni, quando la famiglia si trasferì a Londra. Nel 1976 Shane assistette a un concerto dei Sex Pistols a Londra ed iniziò a far parte del movimento punk. In quel periodo formò il suo primo gruppo, i The Nipple Erectors (più tardi accorciato in The Nips) che si fecero conoscere a Londra come gruppo di supporto dei Clash e dei Jam.
Nel 1981 conobbe Spider Stacy e Jem Finer e insieme decisero di formare il prototipo di quello che più avanti saranno i Pogues. Prima di chiamarsi Pogues, passando per diversi cambi di formazione, il gruppo si chiamò inizialmente Millwall Chainsaw, poi The New Republicans e infine Pogue Mahone. Tale nome (storpiatura dell’espressione gaelica póg mo thóin che significa “baciami il sedere”) venne censurato e da qui nacque il nome definitivo del gruppo. Shane rimane nei Pogues fino al novembre 1991, quando ufficialmente viene licenziato a causa dei problemi di alcol e dei continui ritardi alle prove e ai concerti.
Dopo alcune collaborazioni, nel 1992 forma il gruppo dei Popes. Recentemente ha lasciato i Popes, che continuano però a pubblicare album, per rientrare nei Pogues con cui effettua reunion annuali. Ciò che caratterizza il personaggio di Shane MacGowan è quello di impersonare la figura dell’irlandese ubriacone: la sua dipendenza dall’alcol, come la sua dipendenza dal fumo, è infatti proverbiale, e in numerose interviste egli ha contribuito ad alimentare questa fama.
Shane è noto per la sua dipendenza dall’alcol che ha pesantemente minato il suo fisico: famosa a proposito è la sua dentatura inesistente (Shane si lava raramente i denti[senza fonte], e una carenza di vitamina C ne ha causato il decadimento[senza fonte]). Nel 2006, dopo una notte di bevute in Irlanda, si fermò per urinare, inciampò e cadde contro un muro, distruggendo i pochi denti rimasti.
Shane ha avuto inoltre problemi con l’eroina, culminati in un arresto. A farlo incarcerare, per cercare di metterlo in riga, fu la sua collega e amica Sinead O’Connor. Dopo un disastroso concerto all’Olympya Theatre nel 2002 Shane addirittura vomitò sul palco. Sinead disse: “È un angelo vicino alla fine che ha bisogno di aiuto. È andato troppo lontano, ha raggiunto lo stadio in cui fisicamente non riesce a fermarsi per smettere di bere, si è provocato troppi danni“.
Shane Patrick Lysaght MacGowan (born 25 December 1957) is an Irish-British musician and singer, best known as the lead singer and songwriter of Celtic trad punk band the Pogues. He was also a member of the Nipple Erectors and Shane MacGowan and the Popes, as well as producing his own solo material and working on collaborations with artists such as Kirsty MacColl, Joe Strummer, Nick Cave, Steve Earle, and Sinéad O’Connor.
MacGowan was born on Christmas Day in Pembury, Kent, England, in 1957,to Irish parents. MacGowan spent his early childhood in County Tipperary, Ireland, before his family moved back to England when he was six and a half. He has lived in many parts of the south-east, including Brighton and London.
MacGowan’s father, Maurice, worked for a department store. MacGowan’s mother, Therese, was a singer and traditional Irish dancer, and had worked as a model in Dublin. In 1971, after attending Holmewood House School at Langton Green, Tunbridge Wells, MacGowan earned a literature scholarship and was accepted into Westminster School. He was found in possession of drugs and was expelled in his second year.
MacGowan got his first taste of fame in 1976 at a concert by British punk band The Clash, when his earlobe was damaged by Jane Crockford, later to be a member of Mo-dettes. A photographer snapped a picture of him covered in blood and it made the papers, with the headline “Cannibalism at Clash Gig”. Shortly after this, he formed his own punk rock band, The Nipple Erectors, later renamed “The Nips”.
1982–1991: Leading The Pogues
MacGowan drew upon his Irish heritage when founding The Pogues and changed his early “punk” voice for a more authentic sound with tutoring from his extended family. Many of his songs are influenced by Irish nationalism, Irish history, the experiences of the Irish in London and the United States, and London life in general. These influences are documented in the biography, Rake at the Gates of Hell: Shane MacGowan in Context. MacGowan has often cited the 19th-century Irish poet James Clarence Mangan and playwright Brendan Behan as influences.
In 1997, MacGowan appeared on Lou Reed‘s “Perfect Day“, covered by numerous artists in aid of Children in Need. It was the UK’s number one single for three weeks, in two separate spells. Selling over a million copies, the record contributed £2,125,000 to the charity’s highest fundraising total in six years.
1992–2005: Shane MacGowan and The Popes
After The Pogues threw MacGowan out for unprofessional behaviour, he formed a new band, Shane MacGowan and The Popes, recording two studio albums, a live album, three tracks on The Popes Outlaw Heaven (2010) and a live DVD, and touring internationally.
From December 2003 up to May 2005, Shane MacGowan & The Popes toured extensively in UK/Ireland/Europe.
In 2010, MacGowan offered a piece of unusual art to the ISPCC (Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) to auction off to support their services to children. It ended up fetching €1,602 for the charity.
2001–2014: Return to The Pogues
The Pogues and MacGowan reformed for a sell-out tour in 2001 and each year from 2004 to 2009 for further tours, including headline slots at Guilfest in England and the Azkena Rock Festival in Basque Country,Spain.
In May 2005, MacGowan rejoined The Pogues permanently.
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 number 2 in the UK Charts.
In 2006, he was voted 50th in the NME Rock Heroes List. He has been seen many times with The Libertines and Babyshambles singer Pete Doherty. 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” in an interview featured on the videogram release “Live at the Town And Country Club” from 1988. Strummer occasionally joined MacGowan and The Pogues on stage (and briefly replaced MacGowan as lead singer after his sacking from the band).
MacGowan is the subject of several books and paintings. In 2000, Tim Bradford used the title Is Shane MacGowan Still Alive? for a humorous book about Ireland and Irish culture. Shaman Shane — The Wounded Healer by Stephan Martin brands Shane as a latter-day London-Irish spirit-raiser and exorcist. This commentary is found in the book Myth of Return — The Paintings of Brian Whelan and Collected Commentaries. London Irish artist Brian Whelan paints Shane (for example Boy From The County Hell), his works are featured on Shane’s official website, and is also the illustrator of The Popes Outlaw Heaven cover.
About his future with The Pogues, in a 24 December 2015 interview with Vice Magazine, when the interviewer asked whether the band were still active, Shane MacGowan said: “We’re not, no,” saying that, since their 2001 reunion happened, “I went back with [The] Pogues and we grew to hate each other all over again,” adding: “I don’t hate the band at all — they’re friends. I like them a lot. We were friends for years before we joined the band. We just got a bit sick of each other. We’re friends as long as we don’t tour together. I’ve done a hell of a lot of touring. I’ve had enough of it.»
2010–present: The Shane Gang
In 2010, MacGowan played impromptu shows in Dublin with a new five-piece backing band named The Shane Gang, including In Tua Nua rhythm section Paul Byrne (drums) and Jack Dublin (bass), with manager Joey Cashman on whistle. In November 2010, this line up fled from Ireland to the Spanish island of Lanzarote to record a new album.
When not touring with The Pogues, MacGowan plays with his new band, Shane MacGowan and The Shane Gang. The band currently features John Daly (guitar), Joey Cashman (whistle), John “Sarge” O’Hara (keys), Jack Dublin (bass) and Paul Byrne (drums).
MacGowan also worked as a lyricist on How to Train Your Dragon 2 for the song For the Dancing and the Dreaming.
MacGowan has long been known for having very bad teeth. He lost the last of his natural teeth in about 2008. In 2015, he had 28 new dentures — with one gold tooth that he insisted on — on a titanium frame fitted in a nine-hour procedure which was the subject of an hour-long television programme. Dr. Darragh Mulrooney, the dental surgeon who carried out the procedure, commented that MacGowan had recorded most of his great works while he still had some teeth: “We’ve effectively re-tuned his instrument and that will be an ongoing process.”
Family and relationships
MacGowan is the older brother of Siobhan MacGowan, a journalist, writer and songwriter, who released her album Chariot in 1998, and published a children’s novel, Etain’s Dream.
In 2001, Sinéad O’Connor reported MacGowan to the police in London for drug possession – in what she said was an attempt to discourage him from using heroin. At first furious, MacGowan later expressed gratitude towards O’Connor and claimed that the incident helped him kick his heroin habit.
Speaking on BBC Four‘s Folk Britannia television programme in early 2006, Robyn Hitchcock recalled: “I remember going to the Hope and Anchor [a punk venue 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.”
MacGowan has suffered physically from years of binge drinking. He often performs while intoxicated and has been impaired in interviews. In 2004, on the BBC TV political magazine programme This Week he gave incoherent and slurred answers to questions from Janet Street-Porter about the public smoking ban in Ireland.
In 2001, MacGowan coauthored the autobiographical book A Drink with Shane MacGowan with Victoria Mary Clarke.
In 2008, MacGowan appeared in an episode of Fair City which was shown on 28 December 2008. In 2009, he starred in the RTÉ reality show Victoria and Shane Grow Their Own, as he and Victoria Mary Clarke endeavoured to grow their own food in their own garden.
In the summer of 2015, MacGowan fell as he was leaving a Dublin studio, fracturing his pelvis. He was seen in public with crutches by December 2015, and continues to experience difficulty with general mobility.
“It was a fall and I fell the wrong way,” he stated in an interview with Vice’s Leonie Cooper. “I broke my pelvis, which is the worst thing you can do. I’m lame in one leg, I can’t walk around the room without a crutch. I am getting better, but it’s taking a very long time. It’s the longest I’ve ever taken to recover from an injury. And I’ve had a lot of injuries.” 
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