The Pogues

The Pogues were an English post-punk Celtic folk-rock band that released the 1984–85 albums Red Roses for Me and Rum Sodomy & the Lash on Stiff Records.

In 1987, they scored a UK–Irish hit with “The Irish Rover” and teamed with singer Kirsty MacColl on the international hit “Fairytale of New York.” Their 1988 third album If I Should Fall From Grace With God charted worldwide with “Fiesta” and the title track.

After the 1989–90 albums Peace and Love and Hell’s Ditch, singer Shane MacGowan left the band, which continued for two more albums. In 2001, The Pogues reunited for thirteen years of live work.

Members: Spider Stacy (tin whistle, harmonica, vocals), Jem Finer (banjo, hurdy-gurdy, mandola, saxophone, guitar), James Fearnley (accordion, piano, guitar, mandolin, clarinet, 1982-94, 2001-14), Shane MacGowan (vocals, guitar, 1982-91, 2001-14), Cait O’Riordan (bass, vocals, 1982-86), Andrew Ranken (drums, percussion, harmonica, vocals, 1983-96, 2001-14), Terry Woods (cittern, concertina, mandolin, banjo, vocals, 1985-93, 2001-14), Philip Chevron (guitar, banjo, mandolin, vocals, 1985-96, 2001-13), Darryl Hunt (bass, percussion, vocals, 1986-96, 2001-14), Joe Strummer (vocals, 1991), James McNally (accordion, 1993-96), Jamie Clarke (guitar, vocals, 1994-96), David Coulter (mandolin, percussion, 1994-96)


The Pogues formed in 1982 around the nucleus of singer Shane MacGowan, banjoist Jem Finer, and tin whistler Peter “Spider” Stacy, who first grouped in the Millwall Chainsaws, a folk-based side project of MacGowan’s main band, The Nips.

MacGowan was born on December 25, 1957, in Pembury, Kent, to Irish parents Therese and Maurice. His mother was a former singer, model, and Irish trad dancer. Shane’s younger sister, Siobhan MacGowan, became a journalist and songwriter. He was raised in Tipperary, Ireland, until age six, when the MacGowan’s settled in southeast England.

MacGowan first received press coverage after an October 23, 1976, Clash show at London’s Contemporary Institute of Arts, where fellow attendee (and future Mo-dettes bassist) Jane Crockford allegedly bit his ear in an incident dubbed “CANNIBALISM AT CLASH GIG.”>

The Nips

In late 1976, MacGowan formed the punk band Nipple Erectors with bassist Shanne Bradley, drummer Gerry Macilduff, and guitarist Roger Towndrow. In 1977, they played the Roxy Club on double-bills with Bazoomis (9/17) and The Outsiders (10/27). Bradley (aka Shanne Hasler) became one of the earliest Sex Pistols converts when she caught their December 1975 show at St. Alban’s Hertfordshire College of Art & Design.

The debut Nipple Erectors single, “King of the Bop” (b/w “Nervous Wreck”), appeared in June 1978 as the inaugural release on SOHO Records. In September, they shortened their name to The Nips for their second single “All the Time in the World” (b/w “Private Eye”), recorded with ex-Eater drummer Phil Rowland.

Towndrow cleared for guitarist Gavin “Fritz” Douglas on the May 1979 third Nips single “Gabrielle” (b/w “Vengeance”), recorded with ex-Screwdriver drummer John “Grinny” Grinton.

In 1980, Jam frontman Paul Weller produced a Nips demo for Polydor comprised of four songs: “Happy Song,” “Nobody to Love,” “Ghost Town,” and “Love to Make You Cry.” MacGowan and Douglass recorded the songs with Bradley and (ex-Bernie Tormé) drummer Mark Harrison. “Happy Song” appeared as the fourth Nips single (b/w “Nobody to Love”) in October 1981 on Test Pressing Records. Meanwhile, the Nips played their final show in December 1980 at London’s Music Machine with a lineup comprised of MacGowan, Bradley, guitarist James Fearnley, and ex-Edge drummer Jon Moss (who subsequently formed Culture Club).

In 1981, Shanne Bradley sought to revive the band in a Celt trad mold. With MacGowan, she formed a new band with her partner, standup snare player (and Madness co-founder) John Hasler. They rehearsed with fiddler David Rattray. That autumn, however, she stepped out of the music scene. (In 1984, she resurfaced as co-founder of The Men They Couldn’t Hang.)

Pogue Mahone

In 1982, MacGowan and Hasler formed Pogue Mahone (Celt for “kiss my arse”) with Shane’s Millwall Chainsaws mates, Jem Finer and “Spider” Stacy. MacGowan and Stacy first met at the Roundhouse restroom during a 1977 Ramones concert.

Stacy (b. December 14, 1958) worked as a car salesman for two years after leaving school at sixteen. When punk hit, he joined his first band, The Bastards. In 1979, he formed Millwall Chainsaws, which MacGowan joined during off-time from The Nips. In the months before Pogue Mahone, Millwall operated as The New Republicans.

Pogue Mahone made their live debut on October 2, 1982, at The Pindar of Wakefield. Within three weeks, their lineup (minus Hasler) consolidated around MacGowan, Finer, Stacy, Fearnley, bassist Cait O’Riordan and drummer Andrew Ranken. The new sextet premiered on Friday October 29 at London’s 100 Club.

  • Red Roses for Me (1984)
  • Rum Sodomy & the Lash (1985)
  • Poguetry in Motion (EP, 1986)
  • If I Should Fall From Grace With God (1988)
  • Peace and Love (1989)
  • Hell’s Ditch (1990)
  • Waiting for Herb (1993)
  • Pogue Mahone (1995)


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