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Bookies slash odds of Pogues’ Christmas number one after Shane MacGowan’s death

Shane McGowan has died aged 65 (Andy Butterton/PA)
Shane McGowan has died aged 65 (Andy Butterton/PA)

Bookmakers have slashed the odds of The Pogues’ Fairytale Of New York going to number one this Christmas following the death of Shane MacGowan.

The band’s frontman died “peacefully” on Thursday at the age of 65, with his wife and family by his side, a statement from his family said.

Coral said it has seen interest in the band’s festive single, featuring singer Kirsty MacColl, following the news of MacGowan’s death.

British Summertime Festival – London
The late Shane MacGowan, lead singer of The Pogues (Laura Lean/PA)

The bookmaker has cut the odds of the track landing at number one this Christmas to 1-4 from 5-4.

Coral’s John Hill said: “Punters think there is going to be a wave of support behind The Pogues landing the Christmas number one single this year following the sad passing of Shane MacGowan.

“We make Fairytale Of New York odds-on to top the official singles charts on Christmas Day, 36 years after it was released.”

Fairytale Of New York often re-enters the UK singles charts over the festive period and regularly tops polls for the best Christmas song.

MacGowan was born on Christmas Day in Pembury, Kent, in 1957 to Irish parents and later moved to rural Tipperary where he was immersed in an Irish culture of ceili bands and showbands.

He became involved with the burgeoning punk movement in 1970s England and formed his own punk band before a revival in ethnic musical influences led him to form The Pogues in 1982.

The Irish singer died at 3am on Thursday after being discharged last week from St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin, where he had been receiving care for an infection.

A statement posted on behalf of his wife, Victoria Mary Clarke, his sister, Siobhan, and father, Maurice, on The Pogues’ official Instagram account said: “It is with the deepest sorrow and heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of Shane MacGowan.

“Shane died peacefully at 3am this morning (30 November, 2023) with his wife Victoria and family by his side.

“Prayers and the last rites were read which gave comfort to his family.”