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Tom Waits pays tribute to Shane MacGowan: “May he cast his spell upon us all forevermore”

Tom Waits has made a rare public comment by paying his own tribute to the life and work of Shane MacGowan. 

On November 30, it was announced that MacGowan, lead singer of The Pogues, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family and friends.   

Writing on social media, Waits and his wife and co-writer Kathleen Brennan wrote: “Ah, the blessings of the cursed.” 

“Shane MacGowan’s torrid and mighty voice is mud and roses punched out with swaggering stagger, ancient longing that is blasted all to hell. A Bard’s bard, may he cast his spell upon us all forevermore.” 

Waits and Brennan added: “Let him go boys, let him go down in the mud where the rivers all run dry…”, quoting from The Pogues’ song ‘If I Should Fall From Grace With God’. 

“Love and condolences to Pogues, Victoria, family and all who loved Shane, Tom and Kathleen,” they concluded. 

Since the news of MacGowan’s passing broke, a number of high-profile artists have been paying tribute to his influence on their work. 

Bruce Springsteen wrote on social media: “Shane was one of my all-time favorite writers. The passion and deep intensity of his music and lyrics is unmatched by all but the very best in the rock and roll canon.” 

Nick Cave, meanwhile, described him as the “best songwriter of his generation”, adding: “Shane was not revered just for his manifold talents but also loved for himself alone. A beautiful and damaged man, who embodied a kind of purity and innocence and generosity and spiritual intelligence unlike any other.” 

Pete Doherty called MacGowan “up there in the top three or four lyricists in the last 30 or 40 years,” describing him as “an old romantic who told tales, told stories in songs, strong characters. He painted a lot of pictures and fairytales” and had a “gift for melody”. 

A number of other tributes from the entertainment world can be found here. 

Fans of MacGowan have been rallying to get The Pogues’ festive classic ‘Fairytale of New York’ to the Christmas Number One spot this year, and this week, the song re-entered the Top 20. 

MacGowan’s sister Siobhan has also shared how the song “captured what Christmas was like” for a lot of people, adding: “I was very impressed that, finally, there was a Christmas song that portrayed real life more than the other Christmas songs did.” 

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