Nightly Song
Musings on Songs that Strike a Chord Tonight

Posts Tagged ‘The Pogues

A Fairy Tale of New York by the Pogues (with Kirsty MacColl)

May 13, 2010

Performed by the Pogues with help from Kirsty MacColl. You can hear the recorded version here. You can hear live versions here, here and here. Here’s a live version with Sinead O’Connor singing the female part (not a great recording).

A sad tale saved from pure sentimentality by some gritty lines and gutty singing, the song opens on a snowy Christmas Eve in the New York City drunk tank. A mournful piano plays in the background. An old man declares it will be his last (“won’t see another one”), then breaks into a version of “The Rare Old Mountain Dew,” an old time Irish ballad (click here for a version by the Dubliners). Here’s our Irish boy stuck in jail on Christmas Eve a long way from home. The combination of the drink, the old man’s singing and the Christmas holiday send the singer into reverie thinking about his love.