Fairytale of New York: Shane MacGowan defends Jon Bon Jovi's unpopular cover

Fairytale Of New York: Shane Macgowan Defends Jon Bon Jovi's Unpopular Cover
The American rock singer released his version of the Christmas hit on A Jon Bon Jovi Christmas, a three-track EP. Photo: Hannah McKay/Getty Images
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Shane MacGowan has defended Jon Bon Jovi’s much-criticised cover of the Christmas classic, Fairytale of New York.

The American rock singer released his version of The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl’s hit on A Jon Bon Jovi Christmas, a three-track EP.


To make the song more radio-friendly, Bon Jovi changed some of the lyrics. The original song’s most controversial verse now appears as: “You’re a squirrel ’cause you’re nuts/You’re a kick in the gut”.

The Pogues responded to the song by retweeting the dismayed reaction of the Irish musician and DJ Rob Smith: “It’s the worst thing to ever happen [to] music... Thanks a lot, Jon. Kid’s crying now, saying ‘Christmas is ruined’.”

Steve Lillywhite, who produced the original, and was married to the late MacColl when the song was first released in 1987, tweeted: “The worst ever version of this song. Sorry Jon... embarrassing and pointless”.


Despite the backlash, MacGowan, the former lead singer of The Pogues, sought to defend Bon Jovi’s efforts.

Shane’s wife Victoria Mary Clarke wrote on Twitter: “Shane says @BonJovi is a talented guy and he likes the version, and he thinks it’s interesting and soulful.”

Clarke then posted a video message of MacGowan praising the track.

“Jon B, well done,” he said. “I really liked that version you did of Fairytale of New York.”

The YouTube video of the new recording has more than three times as many thumbs-downs as thumbs-ups, plus more than 1,000 mostly negative comments.

Listeners pointed out that it is odd for Bon Jovi to sing both parts of the duet himself.

The version sung by MacColl and MacGowan spent 109 weeks on the official Irish singles chart, appearing in 17 separate years.

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