Several more musicians have paid tribute to Shane MacGowan, including Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen, Nick Cave, and Bono.
Waits addressed McGowan’s passing in a rare public statement issued with his wife, Kathleen Brennan. “Ah, the blessings of the cursed. Shane McGowan’s torrid and mighty voice is mud and roses punched out with swaggering stagger, ancient longing that is blasted all to hell. A Bard’s bard, may he cast his spell upon us all forevermore.”
Waits and Brennan closed their statement by quoting a lyric from The Pogues’ “If I Should Fall from Grace with God”: “Let him go boys, let him go down in the mud where the rivers all run dry…”
Bruce Springsteen and Nick Cave also shared new tributes to MacGowan.
“The passion and deep intensity of his music and lyrics is unmatched by all but the very best in the rock & roll canon,” Springsteen wrote in a statement. “I was fortunate to spend a little time with Shane and his lovely wife Victoria the last time we were in Dublin. He was very ill, but still beautifully present in his heart and spirit. His music is timeless and eternal. I don’t know about the rest of us, but they’ll be singing Shane’s songs 100 years from now.”
In his Red Hand Files newsletter, Nick Cave recounted MacGowan’s 60th birthday concert, where he performed as part of a lineup that also included Sinead O’Connor.
“Shane was not revered just for his manifold talents but also loved for himself alone. A beautiful and damaged man, who embodied a kind of purity and innocence and generosity and spiritual intelligence unlike any other,” Cave wrote.
“Sinéad once said of Shane, ‘He is an angel. An actual angel’. Whether or not this is the case, who’s to say? But Shane was blessed with an uncommon spirit of goodness and a deep sense of what is true, which was strangely amplified in his brokenness, his humanness. We can say of him most certainly, ‘he was beloved on the earth,’ and Sinéad too — truly beloved and greatly missed, both.”
Meanwhile, Bono paid tribute with a picture he drew of MacGowan featuring the lyrics from the Pogues‘ “A Rainy Night in Soho.” “Shane MacGowan’s songs were perfect so he or we, his fans, didn’t have to be,” the U2 frontman wrote.
Read Jonah Krueger’s new essay on”Fairytale of New York,” the quintessential Christmas song for punks, drunks, and everyone else whose rough around the edges.
MacGowan died on November 30th at the age of 65.
“Let him go boys, let him go down in the mud where the rivers all run dry…”
Love and condolences to Pogues, Victoria, family and all who loved Shane,
Tom and Kathleen
Photo: Andrew Catlin
— Tom Waits (ANTI-) (@tomwaits) December 1, 2023
Shane MacGowan’s songs were perfect so he or we his fans didn’t have to be… pic.twitter.com/DZAHqOcAER
— U2 (@U2) November 30, 2023