The Libertines cover The Pogues’ ‘Fairy Tale Of New York’ in tribute to Shane MacGowan

The Libertines have covered The Pogues‘ ‘Fairy Tale Of New York’ in tribute to the band’s late frontman, Shane MacGowan.

The band – comprised of Pete Doherty, Carl Barât, John Hassall and Gary Powell – shared a video on their official Instagram page of Barât playing the famous Christmas tune on the piano with both him and Doherty singing along. The caption of the video read: “RIP Shane, this one’s for you matey x”.

Two days later, they posted another video of the whole band performing ‘Fairy Tale Of New York’ while on stage during one of their intimate shows.” Another one for Shane x,” read the caption.

MacGowan was laid to rest on December 8 after he died from pneumonia in hospital, aged 65, on November 30. Fans lined the streets of Dublin ahead of his funeral, which took place in Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland, and was attended by Johnny DeppNick CaveGlen Hansard and Irish President Michael D. Higgins.

Doherty was a friend of The Pogues frontman and previously paid tribute to him, calling him a “bulletproof” singer and recalled the years of memories they had together while appearing on BBC World Service’s Newshour

“I knew he was ill but I thought he was bulletproof,” The Libertines’ frontman told BBC World Service’s Newshour on November 30. He also added that he not only “loved and respected” MacGowan, he also considered him “up there in the top three or four lyricists in the last 30 or 40 years”.

“[He was] kind of an old romantic, who told tales, told stories in songs, strong characters. He painted a lot of pictures and fairytales,” Doherty added, also praising him for his “gift for melody”.

“For a long time I was sitting at his feet in awe… In certain difficult times of my life, I could speak to him. When I was in jail, he knew some people, who knew some people and he helped me out of a few spots and I just felt close to him.”

Elsewhere in the interview, the singer recalled meeting MacGowan during the time he was dating supermodel Kate Moss. His reflection of The Pogues frontman also arrives less than a year after Doherty appeared on The Last Leg to perform a section of The Pogues‘ ‘Dirty Old Town’ in Ukrainian.

The moment occurred to mark one year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and saw Doherty end the performance by exclaiming “Slava Ukraini!” which translates as “Glory to Ukraine!”

Prior to the appearance on the Channel 4 show, the two bands performed together numerous times during the 2010s.

This included MacGowan joining The Libertines on stage in Dublin back in 2015 for a rendition of ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’, and a slot supporting the indie veterans at Hyde Park that same year.

Barat also paid tribute to MacGowan by sharing his memories of the singer-songwriter on his Instagram account.

“So saddened to hear about Shane’s passing today. His storytelling enriched our worlds no end as did the nights we spent with him,” the caption read, also sharing a photo of the band with MacGowan. “As an artist, he was untouchable and will always be with us. Our hearts go out to all who knew him.”

In other Libertines news, the band are set to release their latest LP album ‘All Quiet On The Eastern Esplanade’ on March 8, 2024.

Ahead of the album’s release, Carl Barat and Pete Doherty spoke to NME about what shaped their long-awaited fourth album, including sobriety, a sense of togetherness and the desire “to write beautiful songs”.

When asked if the band still had any bucket list moments they wanted to achieve, Doherty said: “I’ve got a new batch of songs on the brew that I’d really like Carl to hear and see what he can do with them.”

Barat added: “I’m always striving for the perfect song myself. I don’t know if you ever find it. It’s a bit Sisyphean, isn’t it? We’ll get there, or not.”

Doherty also spoke about how his own personal journey with sobriety had motivated him to show up for the band, having previously shared that being drug-free and living a serene life in France helped shape the album ‘The Fantasy Life of Poetry & Crime’ with collaborator Frédéric Lo.

“It’s just an everyday scrap, really,” Doherty said. “It’s proper toe-to-toe with the demons, but because I believe so much in Carl, Gary, John and this record, it’s a pleasure. I just want to do my bit, be as professional as I can, let people hear the songs, and then go and play them. If not, we try again maybe or just crack on with the hotel and see if we can do anything with that.”

They also announced details of a new intimate club tour for 2024. Check out all the dates below.

The dates for the 2024 shows are:

JANUARY
23 – Stockton, ARC
24 – Liverpool, Cavern Club
25 – Milton Keynes, MK11
27 – Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach
28 – Derby, Hairy Dog

FEBRUARY
11 – Falmouth, Princess Pavilion
12 – Southampton, Engine Rooms
14 – Stoke, Underground
15 – Leeds, The Wardrobe
16 – Glasgow, Oran Mor


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