Shane MacGowan was born in Pembury, Kent, to Irish parents. MacGowan spent his early childhood in Tipperary before his family moved back to England when he was six and a half. He lived in many parts of the south-east, including Brighton and London. Drawn to the punk music scene, he formed the folk-punk band the Pogues in 1982. The band gained fame by touring with the Clash. MacGowan brought a deeply emotional, Irish folk sensibility to the band.
After Shane MacGowan and the Pogues toured with The Clash in the early ’80s, the radical and often political band, released its debut album, Red Roses for Me, to critical acclaim. Their sophomore effort, Rum Sodomy and the Lash, was produced by Elvis Costello and widely praised.
In 1988, the Pogues released their most successful album, ‘If I Should Fall From Grace With God’, featuring the hit single ‘Fairytale of New York’, with Kirsty MacColl.
Soon after the release of the album, Shane MacGowan succumbed to alcoholism and drug addiction. The band was forced to dismiss MacGowan in 1991. In 1994, Shane MacGowan staged a comeback by founding a new band, The Popes, which released a well-reviewed debut album, The Snake. Follow-up albums include 1997’s Crock of Gold and 2002’s The Rare Oul’ Stuff. MacGowan reunited with the Pogues and the band tours yearly.