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Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah

“Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah” was a single by The Pogues. It stalled just outside the UK Top 40 at number 43, but became the band’s first single to chart in the USA, reaching number 17 in the Modern Rock Charts. The video was based on an episode of Top of the Pops from the 1960s, showing a differing of styles from the innocence of the early 1960s to the psychadelica of the late 1960s. An EP of the same name was released in September 1990 and contained some of The Pogues’ most rock-oriented material, including a cover of “Honky Tonk Women” by The Rolling Stones.[1]

Tuesday Morning (song)

“Tuesday Morning” is a song recorded by The Pogues. It was released in 1993 as a single from their first post-Shane Macgowan album, Waiting for Herb. It was the band’s last single to make the UK top 20, and the first single to feature Spider Stacy on vocals. The song itself was composed by Stacy. It reached Number 18 in the UK singles charts and also culminated in their last performance on Top of the Pops.

It is also their most successful single internationally and peaked at #11 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart [1]

The accompanying video featured clips from Pogues videos from down the years.

Thousands Are Sailing

“Thousands Are Sailing” is a song by The Pogues, released in 1988. The song is an Irish folk style ballad, written by Phil Chevron, and featured on The Pogues’ album If I Should Fall from Grace with God.

The song consists of two 16-line verses, and three occurrences of a chorus that varies each time.
The song opens in the third-person voice, setting the song’s place and tone: “The island, it is silent now….” The torch referred to is clearly that of the Statue of Liberty, and therefore “the island” is likely Ellis Island.[1] The Ellis Island federal immigration station opened on 1 January 1892 and was closed in 1954, with twelve million immigrants processed there by the US Bureau of Immigration. “…but the ghosts still haunt the waves…” ghosts are the Irish immigrants who did not survive the long ship crossing to America and whose souls now “haunt the waves.”

The first verse continues in the second-person voice, with a series of questions about post-immigration life, asked by a modern immigrant of an earlier one, first about employment (“upon the railroad”/as a police officer) and class (“the White House”/”the five and dime”), and then about homesickness. The older immigrant (a ghost, as his words reveal) answers that his voyage was on “a coffin ship,” and thus, having died on the journey, he has no answers. According to historical documentation, there was a 30% mortality rate on these coffin ships, and their reference is a recurring theme in many Irish folk songs. His response includes a reference to names being changed, another suggestion of Ellis Island, where Irish named were routinely anglicized.
The first chorus reverts to the third-person voice. It is the most optimistic of the three choruses, spoken from Ireland (the Atlantic is called “the western ocean”) and calling America “a land of opportunity,” where hunger and poverty are overcome. Even so, it includes a somber note, that “some of them will never see” America.

With the second verse, the voice moves to the first-person and remains so through the end of the song. The setting is contemporary, making references to Brendan Behan, George M. Cohan, ‘Dear old Time Square’s favourite bard.’, and “JFK” (John F. Kennedy). The speaker is in New York City with a companion, enjoying the relatively easier time of the modern immigrant. However, even here there is a dark note: “When I got back to my empty room, I suppose I must have cried.”
The second chorus reveals why: “the hand of opportunity draws tickets in a lottery.” The U.S.’s Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 imposed quotas on Irish immigrants, awarding “green cards” via a lottery system.[1] The chorus continues, to describe the furtive life of the illegal immigrant: “from rooms the daylight never sees, where lights don’t glow on Christmas trees.”
The final chorus summarizes the conflicted psychology of the Irish emigrant (“where’er we go, we celebrate the land that makes us refugees”) and takes a parting shot at the Irish Catholic church’s “from fear of priests with empty plates/ from guilt, and weeping effigies.”

Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six

“Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six” is a political song by the Irish folk punk band The Pogues, written by Terry Woods and Shane MacGowan and included on the band’s 1988 album If I Should Fall from Grace with God.

The song is divided into two parts, the first (“Streets of Sorrow”), written and sung by Woods, describes the pain and sadness on the streets of Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles. The song is told from the point of view of someone who is leaving the place due to the increasing violence and conflict and who vows never to return “to feel more sorrow, nor to see more young men slain”.

The second part of the song (“Birmingham Six”), written and sung by MacGowan, is a demonstration of support to the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four and the view that they were the victims of a miscarriage of justice and that their confessions had been extracted by torture at the hands of the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad, claiming “there were six men in Birmingham, in Guildford there’s four, who were picked up and tortured and framed by the law, and the filth got promotion, but they’re still doing time, for being Irish in the wrong place and at the wrong time”. Although this was later proven to be the case, at the time the people involved were still convicted and imprisoned for carrying out the Birmingham pub bombings and the Guildford pub bombing during the 1970s.

The last couplet of the song reads, “While over in Ireland eight more men lie dead/ Kicked down and shot in the back of the head”. This is presumably a reference to the Loughgall ambush of the previous year, in which eight members of the Provisional IRA were killed by the British Army’s Special Air Service, after a failed attack on a base of the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

Sally MacLennane

“Sally MacLennane” was the second single by The Pogues to make the UK Top 100, reaching number 54. The song was composed by Shane MacGowan and featured on the band’s second album, Rum, Sodomy And The Lash. It is one of the best known Pogues songs and has been included in all set lists by the reformed Pogues.[citation needed]

Sally MacLennane is a type of stout.[1]

A Rainy Night in Soho

“A Rainy Night in Soho” is a song by The Pogues. Originally included on their Poguetry in Motion EP, which has been reissued as bonus tracks on the group’s 2004 expanded edition of Rum, Sodomy and the Lash. The song is commonly performed at Pogues concerts and has been included in their recent setlists since their reformation in 2001.[1]

Two recordings and various mixes of the song were made in the studio. Songwriter Shane MacGowan and producer Elvis Costello clashed over the final mix of the song, with MacGowan preferring a mix featuring a cornet, and Costello preferring a version with oboe.[2] The cornet version was used, except for Canadian editions of the EP, which used the oboe version.[3] A third version combining elements of both mixes was issued on the 1991 Poguetry In Motion re-issue, and is also available on the remastered and expanded Hell’s Ditch CD. Other mixes have surfaced on various compilations and bootlegs, and according to guitarist Philip Chevron there are “something like 13 versions… with different edits of the two recordings”.[2]

A video was filmed for the song. It shows Shane MacGowan with short beard, cool shades and leather jacket singing into a 1950s styled mic; the black-and-white footage is mixed with flicks from the protagonist’s childhood and frames from nighttime London. Finally Shane dances the waltz with his girlfriend before a burning fire.

The song has been included on every Greatest Hits album the band has released, and is the first track on their 2001 disc, Ultimate Collection. It has also been covered by numerous artists, one cover being performed by Nick Cave and his band The Bad Seeds, who performed it on an EP in which MacGowan performed a Cave song, “Lucy”.[4]

On 30 May 2008, Damien Dempsey released a cover version of “Rainy Night in Soho”. It was taken from his fifth studio album, The Rocky Road, a collection of traditional ballads released on 6 June 2008.[5]

The song has also been covered by Paddy Reilly and Ronnie Drew, who recorded it on his final album The Last Session: A Fond Farewell as a duet with Damien Dempsey.

A Pair of Brown Eyes

“A Pair of Brown Eyes” is a single by The Pogues, released on 18 March 1985.[1] The single was their first to make the UK Top 100, peaking at Number 72.[2] It featured on the band’s second album, Rum Sodomy & the Lash, and was composed by Pogues front man Shane MacGowan, on the melody of “Wild Mountain Thyme”, also known as “Will Ye Go Lassie Go,” a song by Francis McPeake in a traditional Irish folk style.

The song references the Johnny Cash version of the song ‘A Thing Called Love’: “And on the jukebox Johnny sang / About a thing called love”.

Misty Morning, Albert Bridge

“Misty Morning, Albert Bridge” is a 1989 single by the British-Irish folk rock band The Pogues. It was composed by banjo player Jem Finer and featured on the band’s fourth album, Peace and Love. It was the Pogues’ last single to chart in the UK Top 50 before frontman Shane MacGowan left the group in 1991, stalling just outside the top 40 at number 41. It was the only single from the album to chart. The song is about the famous Albert Bridge, London.

Jack’s Heroes

“Jack’s Heroes” was a single released by The Pogues & The Dubliners in 1990, composed by tin whistle player Spider Stacy about the Republic of Ireland football squad, then managed by Jack Charlton. The song is to the tune of “The Wild Colonial Boy”, a traditional Irish-Australian ballad.[1] The video featured the two bands playing against each other in a football match. The single charted in Ireland at Number 4 and in the UK Top 100 at Number 63.

The b-side on the 7 inch single was the traditional song “Whiskey in the Jar”, again featuring both bands. 12 inch, CD and DAT releases also included an extended mix of “Whiskey in the Jar”.[2]

I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Every Day

“I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Every Day”(Roud 975) is a traditional Scottish or Irish Music Hallsong[1] written from the point of view of a rich landowner telling the story of his day while buying drinks at a public house. The song is an Irish narrative ballad that has been shortened to an Aberdeenshire drinking song.

It is also known under the titles Jock Stuart, Jock Stewart or Jock Steward.

Various versions of the song exist. An “boastful Irish ditty” of that title is recorded as early as the 1880s.[2] A recent popular version was recorded in 1985 by the Pogues, with bass player Cait O’Riordan on vocals.

One of the earliest recordings is from the mid-1970s when Chris Foster received a cassette recording he had made of Mrs Amy Ford from Low Ham, Somerset, UK, singing this song. Amy learnt the song from her grandfather, Frederick “Cauliflower” Crossman, who was one of Cecil Sharp’s singers.[1]

If I Should Fall from Grace with God (song)

“If I Should Fall from Grace with God” was a single released by The Pogues in February 1988, from the album of the same name If I Should Fall from Grace with God (released in January 1988). It followed the band’s Christmas classic, “Fairytale of New York”, but did not enjoy the same widespread success, stalling at Number 58 in the UK singles Chart.[citation needed] The video for the single was filmed at a live show.[citation needed]

An earlier recording of the song, performed at a slower tempo, appeared on the Straight to Hell soundtrack in 1987.

The faster-paced 1988 recording found on the subsequent single release was heard beginning October, 2010 on U.S. commercials for the Subaru Forester, featuring a woman shuttling around hockey-playing children,[1] while the lyrics of the first two verses[2] (which constitute the song’s main chorus) are heard prominently for the duration of the advertisement.

Haunted (The Pogues song)

“Haunted” is a 1986 single by the Irish band The Pogues. It was featured on the Sid and Nancy Soundtrack, the original soundtrack for the movie Sid and Nancy. It reached chart position #42 in the UK. Originally sung by Cait O’Riordan, in 1995 the song was re-recorded as a duet between former Pogues vocalist Shane MacGowan and Sinéad O’Connor, this time reaching #30 in the UK. The original version was included on disc 1 of the 2008 compilation “Just Look Them In The Eye And Say… POGUE MAHONE!!”

Greenland Whale Fisheries

“Greenland Whale Fisheries” is a traditional sea song. In most of the versions collected from oral sources, the song opens up giving a date for the events that it describes (usually between 1823 and 1853). However, the song is actually older than this and a form of it was published as a ballad before 1725.[1]

The song tells of a whaling expedition that leaves for Greenland. The lookout spots a “whalefish”, and harpoon boats are launched. However, the whale strikes the boat with its tail, capsizing it, and several men are killed. The captain grieves over losing his prey, but especially for having lost his men. He then orders the ship to sail for home, calling Greenland a “dreadful place.”

Like most traditional songs, “Greenland Whale Fisheries” exists in different versions.[2] Some change details (such as the date of the expedition), and others add or remove verses. Some modern versions, including the ones recorded by Theodore Bikel, The Chad Mitchell Trio, and later by The Pogues, flip the captain’s expression of grief to make him regret losing his catch even more than losing his crew.

In the version popularized by The Weavers and Peter, Paul and Mary, a shanty recorded by Alan Lomax from a Barbadian fisherman is appended, which begins, “When the whale gets strike, and the line run down, and the whale makes a flounder with her tail…”[3]

Folk singer Paul Kaplan recorded a song with the same tune under the title “Call Me the Whale.” Following a similar chronology, it tells the story from the whales perspective.[4]

Covered by The Dubliners on their 1969 album At Home with The Dubliners.

Covered by Ryan’s Fancy on their 1971 album Dark Island.

The Greenland Whalefishers, a Celtic punk band from Norway, is named after the song.

Fiesta (The Pogues song)

“Fiesta” is a single by The Pogues, featured on their 1988 album If I Should Fall from Grace with God.

It was written by Jem Finer and Shane MacGowan, based on a Spanish fairground melody Finer had picked up (this melody is an appeal or lure from a sausages kiosk named “salchichas Uranga (sausages Uranga)” in the feasts of the city of Almería -Feria de Almería-, in southern Spain). The refrain quotes “Liechtensteiner Polka” by Edmund Kotscher and Rudi Lindt.

The lyrics refer to the Spanish city of Almería, as well as former bassist Cait O’Riordan’s departure from the group, and subsequent marriage to Elvis Costello. The music video was directed by popular British comedian and actor Adrian Edmondson, and filmed on the roof of Casa Milà in Barcelona.

“Fiesta” was the last Pogues singles to make the United Kingdom Top 30, while MacGowan was with the band. The song is an live highlight, and has been included in most setlists since its release, often as the closer with whistle player Spider Stacy adding percussion by beating a beer tray against his head.

Fairytale of New York

“Fairytale of New York” is a Christmas song written by Jem Finer and Shane MacGowan and first released as a single on 23 November 1987[1] by their band The Pogues, featuring singer-songwriter Kirsty MacColl on vocals. The song was written as a duet, with the Pogues’ singer MacGowan taking the role of the male character and MacColl the female character. It is an Irish folk-style ballad, and featured on The Pogues’ 1988 album If I Should Fall from Grace with God.

Originally begun in 1985, the song had a troubled two year development history, undergoing rewrites and aborted attempts at recording, and losing its original female vocalist along the way, before finally being completed in summer 1987. Although the single never reached number one in the UK Singles Chart, being kept at number two on its original release in 1987 by the Pet Shop Boys’ cover version of “Always on My Mind”, it has since proved enduringly popular with both music critics and the public: to date the song has reached the UK top twenty on twelve separate occasions since its original release in 1987, including every year since 2005, and was certified platinum in the UK in 2013.[2] The song has sold 1.18 million copies in the UK as of November 2015.[3] In the UK it is the most-played Christmas song of the 21st century.[4] “Fairytale of New York” has been cited as the best Christmas song of all time in various television, radio and magazine related polls in the UK and Ireland.[5]

Dark Streets of London

“Dark Streets of London” is the debut single by the London-based Celtic punk band The Pogues, released in 1984.[1] The song was written by Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan and is featured on the band’s 1984 debut album Red Roses for Me. The B-side is “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda” (which clocks in at 4:50 and is different from the version which appears on their second album).

Red Roses for Me

Red Roses for Me is the debut studio album by the London-based band The Pogues and was released in October 1984. It is filled with traditional Irish music performed with punk influences. The band’s approach of mixing traditional songs and ballads with frontman Shane MacGowan’s “gutter hymns” about drinking, fighting and sex was innovative at the time. The title “Red Roses for Me” is the name of a play by Seán O’Casey, though his works do not show any direct influence upon the band. The album reached number 89 in the UK album charts.

The front of the album shows the band with the exception of drummer Andrew Ranken (pictured in inset) sitting in front of a picture of United States president John F. Kennedy. The back features Shane MacGowan pictured with his foot in a cast. Accordion player James Fearnley has a bottle sticking out of his coat, while bass player Cait O’Riordan is seen holding a can of beer.

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