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The Pogues

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Biography

London, United Kingdom (1982 – 1996, 2001 – present)

The Pogues is a Celtic punk band from London, formed in 1982 and fronted by Shane MacGowan. The band reached international prominence in the 19 and early 19. MacGowan left the band in 1991 due to drinking problems but the band continued first with Joe Strummer and then with Spider Stacy on vocals before breaking up in 1996. The band, including MacGowan, reformed in 2001 and has been playing regularly ever since. While the band has not released an album since 1996, they are credited with inventing and have had a large influence on the larger scene. The band was awarded the life-time achievement award at the annual Meteor Ireland Music Awards in February 2006.

The Pogues were founded in King’s Cross, a district in north London, in 1982 as Pogue Mahone - “pogue mahone” being the Anglicisation of the Irish póg mo thóin, meaning “kiss my arse”. The band specialised in Irish music, often playing with the energy of the scene from which several of the members had their roots.

Their politically-tinged music was reminiscent of The Clash, with whom they played (Joe Strummer produced one of their albums and even joined the group briefly), and used traditional Irish instruments such as the tin whistle, banjo, cittern, mandolin, accordion, and more. In the later incarnations of the band, after the departure of Shane MacGowan, electronic instruments such as the electric guitar would become more prominent. The first of The Pogues’ albums, Red Roses For Me, borrows much from the punk tradition of MacGowan’s previous band The Nipple Erectors (later dubbed The Nips).

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