A Christmas countdown in songs: 5 – Fairytale of New York
Fairytale of New York – The Pogues
The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York is definitely not one of the cheery, merry Christmas songs, but every year it appears on the holiday charts as one of the finest ones. Released in the UK and Ireland in November 1987, it became a hit right away, keeping the top spot in the Irish charts for five weeks. Fairytale of New York tells the story of an Irish immigrant spending Christmas Eve sleeping in a drunk tank. When a man from his cell sings a passage from the Irish ballad The Rare Old Mountain, the character of Shane MacGowan begins an inner dialogue between himself and a girl (Kirsty MacColl) about lost dreams crushed by alcoholism and the reality of New York City, contrasting against the bright Broadway lights. Sad, yet beautiful and Christmassy.