Pete Doherty has paid tribute to Shane MacGowan, remembering him as one of the best lyricists of “the last 30 or 40 years”.
The Pogues frontman died yesterday (November 30) following several months receiving hospital treatment. He was aged 65. The news was confirmed in a joint statement by his wife, Victoria Mary Clarke, as well as his sister Siobhan and father Maurice.
MacGowan had been ill for some time and had been discharged from hospital last week, where he had been staying since June after being admitted to intensive care for an unspecified health issue. He was hospitalised in early December 2022 with encephalitis.
Now, following news of his passing fellow musician and friend Pete Doherty has paid tribute to the “bulletproof” singer, and recalled the years of memories they had together.
“I knew he was ill but I thought he was bulletproof,” The Libertines’ frontman told BBC World Service’s Newshour last night (November 30). He also added that he not only “loved and respected” MacGowan, he also considered him “up there in the top three or four lyricists in the last 30 or 40 years”.
“[He was] kind of an old romantic, who told tales, told stories in songs, strong characters. He painted a lot of pictures and fairytales,” Doherty added, also praising him for his “gift for melody”.
“For a long time I was sitting at his feet in awe… In certain difficult times of my life, I could speak to him. When I was in jail, he knew some people, who knew some people and he helped me out of a few spots and I just felt close to him.”
Elsewhere in the interview, the singer recalled meeting MacGowan during the time he was dating supermodel Kate Moss. His reflection of The Pogues frontman also arrives less than a year after Doherty appeared on The Last Leg to perform a section of The Pogues‘ ‘Dirty Old Town’ in Ukrainian.
The moment occurred to mark one year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and saw Doherty end the performance by exclaiming “Slava Ukraini!” which translates as “Glory to Ukraine!”
Prior to the appearance on the Channel 4 show, the two bands performed together numerous times during the 2010s.
This included MacGowan joining The Libertines on stage in Dublin back in 2015 for a rendition of ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’, and a slot supporting the indie veterans at Hyde Park that same year. Find footage of the former below.
Doherty isn’t the only member of the Libertines line-up to share his condolences at the loss of MacGowan. Taking to Instagram yesterday, Carl Barat also shared his memories of the singer-songwriter.
“So saddened to hear about Shane’s passing today. His storytelling enriched our worlds no end as did the nights we spent with him,” the caption read, also sharing a photo of the band with MacGowan. “As an artist, he was untouchable and will always be with us. Our hearts go out to all who knew him.”
Other famous faces to have paid tribute to MacGowan included songwriter and close friend Nick Cave, who yesterday described the artist as “a true friend and the greatest songwriter of his generation”.
MacGowan was also close with Johnny Depp, and recalling how he immediately “fell in love” with the singer (Per The Irish Mirror), Depp said: “When I met Shane he was negotiating a pool table. There was a drink in this hand, a pint, and in this hand, there was a guitar and he was teetering, balancing back and forth trying to negotiate which way to fall. I watched him do that for about 15 minutes.”
Other tributes have poured in from the likes of Tim Burgess, Bobby Gillespie, Frank Turner. You can read more of those here.
Fans have since been rallying to get The Pogues’ ‘Fairytale Of New York’ to Christmas Number One after the news of his death broke. Footage of his final concerts with The Pogues as a solo artist have also been shared.
One of his final interviews has also resurfaced, in which Shane MacGowan discussed his love of life and the legacy of The Pogues.