The Pogues’ fourth album, Peace and Love was released in 1989.
It saw the band continue their exploration into jazz music and featured songs from other band members, Phil Chevron, Darryl Hunt and Terry Woods, rather than just MacGowan and Jem Finer. It was another hit for the band, reaching number 5 in the UK charts.
Their fifth album, Hell’s Ditch was MacGowan’s last with the band. It was produced by Joe Strummer and had a more rock sound than their previous albums. It was released in 1990 and reached number 12 in the UK.
MacGowan was sacked in 1991 after his alcohol abuse had made him too unreliable. He often failed to appear when needed and didn’t always fulfill his commitments in promoting the album.
He later claimed that he hadn’t spent a day sober since he was 14.
Joe Strummer takes over
The Clash vocalist, Joe Strummer, took MacGowan’s place temporarily.
When Strummer left, Peter ‘Spider’ Stacy (tin whistle player) became the bands permanent lead singer.
They recorded their sixth album, Waiting for Herb, in 1993. It was a success and contained the song Tuesday Morning, which was the best selling single of their career.
However after the album, Fearnely, Woods and Chevron left the band and were replaced by David Coulter and James McNally and Jamie Clarke.
The Pogues’ lifetime achievement award
Stacy and Jem Finer were the only original members left and the new line up recorded the band’s seventh album, Pogue Mahone, which was released in 1996. It included the song, Love You Till the End, which was featured in the 2007 Hilary Swank movie, P.S. I Love You.
However, it failed to achieve the success of previous albums and the band split up soon afterwards.
The Pogues reformed in 2001, with MacGowan back on lead vocals, and completed a Christmas tour showing that they could still fill major venues. Their performances since have generally gone down well with both fans and critics.
A review in the Washington Post in 2008 referred to MacGowan looking “puffy and paunchy” but that his “abrasive growl is all a band this marvelous needs to give its amphetamine-spiked take on Irish folk a focal point”.
In 2006, they were honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the Meteor Ireland Music Awards.
In 2012, The Pogues set off on a European tour to celebrate their thirtieth anniversary.
The band continue to perform live occasionally but have said that they have no plans to record a new album.