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Fairytale of New York

Fairytale of New York

The Pogues
If I Should Fall from Grace with God

Song meaning of Fairytale of New York by The Pogues, and what it is about

The song is about an Irish immigrant who, while sleeping off a hangover in a New York City drunk tank, spends Christmas Eve daydreaming about prior holidays. The narrator (MacGowan) starts to dream of a past sweetheart when an inebriated old guy in the cell sings a line from the Irish ballad "The Rare Old Mountain Dew".

The rest of the song, which could be an internal monologue, is a call and forth between the couple as they argue and remember their early years, their hopes dashed by drinking and drug use on Christmas Eve. The lyrics "cars big as bars" and "Sinatra was swinging" seem to set the song in the late 1940s.

"Fairytale of New York" is the 21st-century Christmas music that is played the most in the UK. Kirsty MacColl and Shane MacGowan, the lead singer of The Pogues, sing this duet.

Song lyrics of Fairytale of New York by The Pogues

It was Christmas Eve, babe

In the drunk tank

An old man said to me

"Won't see another one"

And then he sang a song

The Rare Old Mountain Dew

I turned my face away

And dreamed about you


Got on a lucky one

Came in eighteen to one

I've got a feeling

This year's for me and you

So, Happy Christmas

I love you, baby

I can see a better time

When all our dreams come true


They've got cars big as bars, they've got rivers of gold

But the wind goes right through you, it's no place for the old

When you first took my hand on a cold Christmas Eve

You promised me Broadway was waiting for me


You were handsome

You were pretty, Queen of New York City

When the band finished playing

They howled out for more

Sinatra was swinging

All the drunks, they were singing

We kissed on a corner

Then danced through the night


The boys of the NYPD choir

Were singing "Galway Bay"

And the bells were ringing out

For Christmas day


You're a bum, you're a punk

You're an old slut on junk

Lying there almost dead

On a drip in that bed

You scumbag, you maggot

You cheap, lousy faggot

Happy Christmas, your arse

I pray God it's our last


The boys of the NYPD choir

Still singing "Galway Bay"

And the bells are ringing out

For Christmas day


"I could have been someone"

Well, so could anyone

You took my dreams from me

When I first found you

I kept them with me, babe

I put them with my own

Can't make it all alone

I've built my dreams around you


The boys of the NYPD choir

Still singing "Galway Bay"

And the bells are ringing out

For Christmas day

Release Date



Jem Finer, Shane MacGowan


Steve Lillywhite


Pogue Mahone

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