The Pogues singer has leaped to the defense of Ed Sheeran after the English singer covered Christmas classic, "The Fairytale of New York." Sheeran performed his version of the song in an appearance on The Late Late Show on December 15. Sheeran had already performed the song on an edition of BBC's Live Lounge.
MacGowan 'Loves' Sheeran's Cover of the Song
Speaking to the Irish Sun, MacGowan's longterm girlfriend, Victoria Mary Clarke said, "Shane loves when people cover his material and Ed's version is really good. He loves it. I don't understand a lot of the criticism. Some people were even suggesting Ed shouldn't have covered it because he's English... well, Shane was actually born in England!"
Clarke added, "We'll both be watching tonight obviously... we love the Late Late as well and can't wait to see the performance. We love Ed, in fact he's more than welcome to call around while he's over in Dublin. We'd love to see him for a sing-song."
Sheeran went on to tell Ryan Tubridy, "My grandfather is a Protestant from Belfast and my grandmother is a Catholic from Wexford and when they got married it was like a real thing. But they went against people, got married and ended up being married for 66 years before my grandfather passed away."
Nothing will ever be as bad as Ronan Keating's take on the song
The Sheeran cover will never be considered as bad as Ronan Keating's version. The former boy band star had sought to create a family friendly version of the song. Music blog Louder Than War picked Keating's version as being the number one worst cover version of all time. The piece reads, "[Keating] took the dark, brooding Pogues classic and turned into boring pop mulch which drained all the feeling, intensity, color and story telling genius out of the original."
While a comment on a Guardian article about the song read, "I don't get angry about rubbish covers, but Ronan Keating and Maire Brennan's sanitised version of Fairytale is the exception. The rewrite is far more offensive than the original. Apparently Ronan was surprised to hear people hate his version, he just wanted to make it suitable for all the family or some such nonsense."
In an upcoming RTE documentary, <Em>Fairytale of New York</em>, Clarke discussed how jealous she was of Kirsty MacColl, who duetted with MacGowan on the song, "I guess I was jealous of Kirsty with good reason because Shane really fancied her as well, didn't you?" To which the Pogues responds, "Yeah. Cait [O'Riordain, The Pogues original bass player] originally did the female part and she was very good but Kirsty was better."
In a new documentary, MacGowan admitted to having a crush on Kirsty MacColl
While MacColl's son, Louis Lillywhite, says in the doc, "My dad is Steve Lillywhite who was married to my mum Kirsty MacColl and he produced "Fairytale of New York." She was very involved. She was a great mum. I think music was in her DNA from her dad, Ewan MacColl, a famously socialist songwriter. I think the character she played in the song was very representative of the kind of person she was. She was incredibly feisty, quite brutal at times but in a very honest, very good way. She didn't let people walk all over her. I think my mum and Shane did gel well together. I don’t think to be honest she would have worked with anyone for so long if they didn’t gel well." MacColl was killed in a scuba diving accident in Cozumel, Mexico, in December 2000.
The history of the song is the stuff of legend, the Scottish Daily Record reports that the song was first performed live at Glasgow's Barrowlands Ballroom in 1987. While it's also been widely reported that MacGowan penned the song after fellow punk-God Elvis Costello challenged him to write an authentic Christmas ballad.