Just when we thought 2020 had turned a corner, a new horror has surfaced, in the form of Jon Bon Jovi covering The Pogues’ Fairytale Of New York. JBJ apparently recorded the song as a seasonal treat for members of his The JBJ Experience fan club, but rarely has the word ‘treat’ had to do such heavy lifting.
The original version of Fairytale…, a duet between Pogues frontman Shane McGowan and Kirsty McColl, was released as a single in November 1987 and featured on The Pogues’ third album If I Should Fall From Grace With God. Nick Cave recently hailed it as “the greatest Christmas song ever written”, writing, “It is a magnificent gift to the outcast, the unlucky and the broken-hearted.”
Sounds rather lovely, doesn’t it? Now have a listen to what Mr Bon Jovi has done with the song. We’re not going to be too unkind here, ’tis the season of goodwill to all men and all that, but we have three immediate questions: 1) why is JBJ arguing with himself? 2) What’s going on with his accent at 1 minute 28 seconds? and 3) Lyric change aside, WHAT ON EARTH IS HAPPENING BETWEEN 2:16 and 2:30?
In brighter news, there’s a new film about The Pogues frontman Shane McGowan in cinemas this week, and simultaneously available to stream. Directed by Julian Temple (The Filth And The Fury), Crock Of Gold: A Few Rounds With Shane McGowan, is a brilliant insight into the history of The Pogues, and will almost help you forget that this catastrophic JBJ cover ever existed. Almost…