When former Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan passed away on November 30 at the age of 65, more than a few news outlets – including, it must be said, Q – observed that the chances of “Fairytale of New York,” the Pogues’ beloved collaboration with Kirsty MacColl, finally making it to the top spot on the UK Singles chart had just gotten considerably more realistic.
That suggestion has now been taken to heart: on December 19, “Fairytale of New York” is being reissued as a charity 7” vinyl single, with all profits from the vinyl sales going to benefit Dublin Simon Community, a charity supported by Shane and his widow, Victoria Mary Clarke.
When “Fairytale of New York” was originally released in 1987, it climbed to No. 2, only to soar back up to the No. 3 spot in 2005. All told, the song has made its way into the UK top 20 on 21 different occasions, but despite hovering so close to the top spot on two separate occasions, however, it’s never actually claimed the No. 1 position.
During a recent interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, the idea of the song finally making it to the top was posed to Clarke. “It would be nice, wouldn’t it?” she replied. “It should be the Christmas number one. It absolutely should."
Perhaps this time it finally will.
The 7’ single will come with ‘Fairytale of New York’ on the A-side with an instrumental version of the track on the B-side. The vinyl can be pre-ordered from here. £6 / €6.90 from the sale of each product will be donated to Dublin Simon Community.
"We would like to say a huge thank you to The Pogues and Shane McGowan's family for their generosity in creating such a special legacy for Dublin Simon Community with this release," said Emma Kilkenny, Head of Fundraising & Communications at Dublin Simon Community. "Music is an emotional and visceral gift that can lift spirits and bring hope to people at their lowest point. We share the truly magical memory of Shane’s performance at the very special Christmas Busk recorded in St Patrick’s Cathedral during Covid lockdown. The Christmas Eve Busk is a beating heart at the core of Dublin Simon’s fundraising and Shane was always a very welcome and truly amazing addition to this special event.”
In closing, it's worth mentioning - just in case you haven't already seen and wept openly over this clip - that "Fairytale of New York" was actually performed during MacGowan's funeral, resulting in dancing in the church aisles and a river of tears, both of which were perfectly appropriate reactions in the moment.