Formed in 1982 and fronted by the now legendary Shane MacGowan, The Pogues were a mish-mash of Irish and English band members specialising in Irish folk music with a punk rock twist. The punk rock Clash-inspired element became even more prominent in the 90s when MacGowan left the band due to drinking problems and the tin whistle, accordian, mandolin and banjo were replaced by electric guitars and Joe Strummer!
The Pogues first single was called 'Dark Streets Of London' and their first album 'Red Roses For Me'. In 1985, they released another album, this time named after a famous quote by Winston Churchill: 'Rum, Sodomy And The Lash', which was a gem in their backlog, with MacGowan coming into his own and writing some rather poetic lyrics. But none of the songs would touch such a chord with the general public as The Pogues' festive duet with Kirsty MacColl, 'Fairytale Of New York'. It has since topped a number of all-time festive favourites polls. It even reached number 2 in the charts when it was re-released in 1987.
In 2002, just a year after The Pogues had reformed to tour, they were named in the '50 bands to see before you die' poll by Q magazine. And for anyone out there wondering, the current line-up is: Shane MacGowan (vocals, guitar, banjo, bodhran); Spider Stacy (vocals, tin whistle); Philip Chevron (guitar); James Fearnley (accordian, mandolin, piano, guitar); Terry Woods (mandolin, cittern, concertina, guitar); Jem Finer (banjo, mandola, saxophone, hurdy-gurdy, guitar); Andrew Ranken (drums, percussion); and Darryl Hunt (bass guitar).