Pogues frontman Shane McGowan said that “Fairytale of New York” would have failed without the collaboration of English musician Kristy MacColl.
He admitted that he used to get depressed when he sang the song after she died in a tragic accident in Mexico on December 18 in 2000.
McGowan told the Irish Mirror, “I’m very grateful to Christ and his Holy Mother and Joseph and all the saints, including my family who have passed on, for the success of Fairytale.”
He continued, “And I was very grateful to Kristy MacColl- I don’t think it would have been such a hit without her contribution” and “And, of course, I was grateful to the group, it was a very happy time for us when the song came out.”
But MacColl’s death changed the song for him. He said, “But I can’t really get excited about it any more and for a while it used to depress me to sing it after Kristy died but now I think of it as a tribute to her.”
McGowan will earn more than $683,250 in royalties from Fairytale this year. He will appear on a special episode of British show Coronation Street on Friday, December 20, 2013. The episode is titled “Fairytale of Weatherfield,” after the location of the show.
The song was almost called “Christmas Day in the Drunk Tank.” McGowan explained, “The title came from the JP Donleavy novel A Fairytale of New York. Elvis Costello liked the lyrics, particularly the bit about Christmas Day in the drunk tank.”
After he suggested calling the song “Christmas Day in the Drunk Tank,” McGowan said, “I said, ‘What a ridiculous idea.’ Everybody just burst out laughing.”
McGowan believes that people can still relate to the story. “But the story could apply to any couple with big dreams who found themselves down on their luck.” He added, “I think the story is one that has not really changed for the new generation of Irish people emigrating to New York.”
Watch McGowan and MacColl sing “Fairytale of New York” here: