Fairytale of New York named best Christmas song by Irish public

A new RTÉ documentary reveals that the Pogues' frontman Shane MacGowan ‘really fancied’ his 'Fairytale of New York' co-star Kirsty MacColl

The Irish public have named their favourite Christmas song of all time and, perhaps, it is no surprise to see rockers the Pogues come out on top.

Fairytale of New York, The Celtic punk Irish legends’ 1987 duet with the late, great Kirsty MacColl, finished in top spot.

It is a testament to the timelessness of the song – about a troubled relationship that still has a bit of hope thanks to a lasting love that exists between the couple – that it is still so well loved and resonates with people over a third of a century after it’s release.

MacColl and Shane MacGowan both perform their characters with the perfect blend of tenderness and aggression, and of passion and subtlety.

The survey was conducted by Irish petrol company Applegreen.

The Pogues classic which was written by MacGowan and multi-instrumentalist Jem Finer was a clear winner with 41% of the vote.

The second favourite Christmas song in Ireland was Driving Home for Christmas by Chris Rea, which scooped 28% of the vote.

While the song was a huge hit at the time and has been highly lucrative ever wince – it is worth £250,000 per year in royalties – the song has often come under fire.

A regular complaint about the song is the use of a derogatory term that is used as the couple are arguing.

British DJ Alex Dyke vowed not to play the hit and insisted it is a ‘nasty song’.

However, MacGowan has always maintained that the term was used to demonstrate that the characters are not nice people rather than intended as an attack on the gay community.

Of course, the point of the song was to show how people could put their bitterness to the side and enjoy each other’s company.

MacGowan said: “Her dialogue is as accurate as I could make it but she is not intended to offend. She is just supposed to be an authentic character and not all characters in songs and stories are angels or even decent and respectable, sometimes characters in songs and stories have to be evil or nasty in order to tell the story effectively.”

Take a look at the classic video below.

Why is Fairytale of New York so popular?

Categorized as Blog

By Michael Kehoe

Michael Kehoe is a writer for Irish Music Daily and Ireland Calling. His favourite Irish Music bands are Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys.