Even The Pogues‘ biggest fans would have held their breath when the group’s frontman and chief songwriter, Shane MacGowan, left the band in 1991, following the release of their Hell’s Ditch album. If The Pogues’ very survival was thrown into doubt, their ability to return with a hit record seemed far from assured – yet both transpired when the band released their sixth album, Waiting For Herb, in the autumn of 1993.
Listen to ‘Waiting For Herb’ here.
“People thought we were history”
With hindsight, The Pogues were arguably more surprised than their audience, not least when the record’s lead single, Tuesday Morning, rewarded them with their first UK Top 20 hit since Fairytale Of New York. The adulation didn’t stop there, however, for the song also saw heavy rotation on US radio stations and helped introduce The Pogues to a whole new market.
Finding stateside success was “a frightening thought”, tin whistler and vocalist Spider Stacy told the Boston Irish Reporter in a 1993 interview. “That’d just be too weird after 11 years with this band. Especially considering that when we parted with Shane, people thought we were history.”