Shane MacGowan, the legendary frontman of The Pogues, is remembered for his musical legacy, particularly as the festive season approaches. His iconic Christmas song, “Fairytale of New York,” remains a classic, resonating with audiences each year. Following his passing last month, the song has taken on an even more poignant significance.

Ed Sheeran and Anne-Marie’s Tribute

Ed Sheeran, along with Anne-Marie, paid tribute to MacGowan’s masterpiece with a cover of “Fairytale of New York.” Performed in the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge, their rendition provided a fresh take on the Christmas ballad, accumulating 9.7 million views. Sheeran, known for his unique style, brought a softer and more romantic vibe to the song, while Anne-Marie added a contemporary touch to the vocal lines originally sung by Kirsty MacColl. The cover also featured the Irish traditional band Beoga, contributing to the song’s authentic feel.

Controversy Over Lyric Changes

The decision by Sheeran and Anne-Marie to change some of the original lyrics, particularly to remove slurs from the song’s fifth verse, sparked controversy. This “sanitized version” was met with mixed reactions, with some netizens expressing displeasure, as reported by the Irish Mirror. The criticisms highlighted the delicate balance artists must strike when covering iconic songs, especially those with deep cultural roots and historical significance.

Celebrating MacGowan’s Legacy

Despite the mixed reception, Sheeran and Anne-Marie’s cover serves as a tribute to Shane MacGowan’s enduring impact on music. “Fairytale of New York” continues to be a quintessential Christmas song, and such covers contribute to its ongoing legacy, introducing the song to new audiences and keeping MacGowan’s spirit alive in the world of music.

Watch video below.