Shane Patrick Lysaght MacGowan (b. 25 December 1957, Pembury, Kent, England) is an Irish musician and singer.
MacGowan spent his early childhood in County Tipperary, Ireland, before his family moved back to England when he was six and a half. He lived in many parts of the south-east, including Brighton and London. In 1971, after attending Holmewood House School at Langton Green, Tunbridge Wells, MacGowan earned a literature scholarship and was accepted into Westminster School.
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".
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.
Between 1985 and 1987, he co-wrote what is perhaps his best-known song, Fairytale of New York, which he performed with Kirsty MacColl. In the coming years MacGowan and The Pogues released several albums.
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.
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. In May 2005, MacGowan rejoined The Pogues permanently.
In 2006, he was voted 50th in the NME Rock Heroes List.
Works for Winds
- Fairytale of New York (arr. O'Loughlin) (1987)