19/5/16 – The Pogues And Kirsty MacColl – Fairy Tale Of New York – 1987

Video Of The Day

Song Of The Day

The Pogues Fairytale Of NewYork - Single Cover - 1987It looks like we may have stumbled upon a new theme? Songs that deserved to be No.1 that were held off the No.1 spot by songs that weren’t as good (although sometimes great songs were beaten to No.1 by other great songs). Since yesterday’s post about Elvis Costello and Oliver’s Army stalling at No.2 in the UK charts there have been some responses on the In Deep Music Archive site with notable examples.

Thanks to DPC for noting that in the US Andy Gibb’s Shadow Dancing kept Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street at No.2 in 1978 for 6 consecutive weeks! Can you imagine? But I’ve already written about Baker Street in another post about songwriting credits. Go here to read it and see the video:


Simone came up with a long list that I will investigate further but Selwyn reminded me that Fairy Tale Of New York by The Pogues was kept off the No.1 spot at Christmas 1987 by Pet Shop Boys’, Always On My Mind, stalling at No.2 for 2 weeks before dropping back down the chart.

Always On My Mind was originally a country song written by Johnny Christopher, Mark James and Wayne Carson most famously recorded by Willie Nelson and Elvis Presley. I’ll leave you to judge whether the Pet Shop Boys version did justice to the song but it seems unfortunate that Fairy Tale Of New York didn’t make it to the top spot that December with its Christmas setting and memorable performance. The song featuring the late Kirsty MacColl duetting with Shane MacGowan and was written by MacGowan and fellow Pogue, Jem Finer appearing on the album, If I Should Fall from Grace With God released in 1988. The Pogues were originally known as  Pogue Mahone (póg mo thóin) meaning kiss my arse.

Fairy Tale Of New York was that most difficult of things, a fantastic Christmas song. As I arrive tonight in North Carolina, I have managed that other most difficult of things, that is finding a reason to post a Christmas song in May, a song so widely known and only associated with the silly season, a song that despite its seasonal content stands as an example of passionate story telling and powerful songwriting.

It was Christmas Eve babe
In the drunk tank
An old man said to me, won’t see another one
And then he sang a song
The Rare Old Mountain Dew
I turned my face away
And dreamed about you

Got on a lucky one
Came in eighteen to one
I’ve got a feeling
This year’s for me and you
So happy Christmas
I love you baby
I can see a better time
When all our dreams come true

They’ve got cars big as bars
They’ve got rivers of gold
But the wind goes right through you
It’s no place for the old
When you first took my hand
On a cold Christmas Eve
You promised me
Broadway was waiting for me

You were handsome
You were pretty
Queen of New York City
When the band finished playing
They howled out for more
Sinatra was swinging,
All the drunks they were singing
We kissed on a corner
Then danced through the night

The boys of the NYPD choir
Were singing “Galway Bay”
And the bells were ringing out
For Christmas day

You’re a bum
You’re a punk
You’re an old slut on junk
Lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed
You scumbag, you maggot
You cheap lousy faggot
Happy Christmas your arse
I pray God it’s our last

The boys of the NYPD choir
Still singing “Galway Bay”
And the bells were ringing out
For Christmas day

I could have been someone
Well so could anyone
You took my dreams from me
When I first found you
I kept them with me babe
I put them with my own
Can’t make it all alone
I’ve built my dreams around you

The boys of the NYPD choir
Still singing “Galway Bay”
And the bells are ringing out
For Christmas day






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