LONDON (AP) — Thousands of people lined the streets of Dublin on Friday to say goodbye to The Pogues front man Shane MacGowan as his funeral procession wound through the Irish capital.
MacGowan died Nov. 30 at the age of 65 after a lifetime of drinking, carousing and writing songs that fused Irish tradition with the spirit of punk.
Crowds applauded as a horse-drawn glass-sided carriage bore MacGowan’s coffin, draped in an Irish tricolor, through the streets, and some people sang the folk song “Dirty Old Town,” recorded by The Pogues in the 1980s. A marching band struck up “Fairytale of New York,” The Pogues’ most famous song.
Many mourners said they had vivid memories of the band’s rowdy performances.
“I remember the first time I saw The Pogues in the Hammersmith Odeon in 1985,” said Aidan Grimes, 60. “It is imprinted in my mind forever, just the madness and mayhem, the raucous nature of his singing and the music they were playing.
“Through the years he evolved into a great poet and he will be sadly missed.”
Born in England to Irish parents, MacGowan emerged from London’s punk scene to found The Pogues, who melded Irish folk and rock ’n’ roll into a unique, intoxicating blend. MacGowan became as famous for his sozzled, slurred performances as for his powerful songwriting, which captured the pain and joy of hardscrabble lives and the Irish emigrant experience.
Several of his songs have become classics, including “Streams of Whisky,” “A Pair of Brown Eyes,” “If I Should Fall from Grace with God” and the bittersweet Christmas ballad “Fairytale of New York.”
MacGowan’s funeral mass is due to be held later in Nenagh, County Tipperary, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of Dublin.
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