track

Fairytale of New York (feat. Kirsty MacColl)

1988Released
4:32

Did You Know?

Interesting facts and trivia about Fairytale of New York (feat. Kirsty MacColl). By Songfacts®.

This song tells the story of an Irish couple who immigrate to America in hopes of making it as entertainers in New York. The song takes place on Christmas Eve, and with the title "Fairytale of New York," you'd expect a happy ending, but these two end up destitute, their dreams in disrepair. It's in the same universe as sad songs for the holiday like "Blue Christmas," but with the pithy dialogue sung in an Irish brogue ("You're a bum!... You're a punk!") it's bawdy fun offering an amusing alternative to Christmas cheer.

If you're sick of Christmas and Christmas music, this is the song for you. The couple in the song bicker the whole way through and there's no Christmas miracle. It's a reminder that Christmas doesn't just erase our problems. Why would someone write such a song? On a bet. According to Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan, it originated when Elvis Costello bet that he and the band's banjo player Jem Finer couldn't come up with a slushy Christmas duet. Costello produced The Pogues' 1985 album Rum, Sodomy & The Lash and the following year married their bass player, Cait O'Riordan.

The lead singers on "Fairytale of New York" are Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan and guest vocalist Kirsty MacColl, an English pop singer well known in the UK, where her hits include "A New England" and "There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis." When Shane MacGowan and Jem Finer wrote the song in 1986, they envisioned it as a duet between MacGowan and Cait O'Riordan. They didn't have the song ready in time to release it as a Christmas single in 1986, so they didn't record it until 1987. By this time, O'Riordan had left the group and they were being produced by Steve Lillywhite, who was married to Kirsty MacColl. He had her record a scratch vocal that was so good the band decided to keep it instead of going after a more famous singer like Chrissie Hynde. The song was released as a single in time for Christmas 1987, and in January 1988 was included on the third Pogues album, If I Should Fall From Grace With God.

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Song Analysis

Key, BPM (tempo) and time signature of Fairytale of New York (feat. Kirsty MacColl).
DKey
MajorMode
4/4Time Signature
78BPM

Album

The album Fairytale of New York (feat. Kirsty MacColl) is released on.

Released By

The record label that has released Fairytale of New York (feat. Kirsty MacColl).
WM UK
© 2004 Warner Music UK Ltd.
℗ 2006 Warner Music UK Ltd., Manufactured & Marketed by Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company

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