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02 December 2023

Shane MacGowan: Tributes Paid By Bruce Springsteen, Nick Cave

Shane MacGowan
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Bruce Springsteen and Nick Cave are among the artists who have paid tribute to Shane MacGowan. Shane MacGowan of The Pogues singer died on 30 November aged 65, following ill-health and a recent hospital stay after being diagnosed with encephalitis.

In an Instagram post, Springsteen wrote, “Over here on E Street, we are heartbroken over the death of Shane MacGowan. 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. I was fortunate to spend a little time with Shane and his lovely wife Victoria the last time we were in Dublin. He was very ill, but still beautifully present in his heart and spirit. His music is timeless and eternal. I don’t know about the rest of us, but they’ll be singing Shane’s songs 100 years from now.”


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Meanwhile, Nick Cave wrote an essay paying tribute to both MacGowan and Sinéad O’Connor on his The Red Hand Files site. Cave reflected on performing with the two singers at MacGowan’s 60th birthday tribute, held in Dublin in 2018. “I know I should be talking about the pure unbridled genius of Shane MacGowan,” Cave wrote. “And how he was the greatest songwriter of his generation, with the most terrifyingly beautiful of voices — all of which is true — but what struck me at that moment was the extraordinary display of love for this man, so powerful and deep, that poured forth from the audience. It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced

“Shane was not revered just for his manifold talents but also loved for himself alone,” Cave continued. “A beautiful and damaged man, who embodied a kind of purity and innocence and generosity and spiritual intelligence unlike any other.

“Sinéad once said of Shane, ‘He is an angel. An actual angel’. Whether or not this is the case, who’s to say? But Shane was blessed with an uncommon spirit of goodness and a deep sense of what is true, which was strangely amplified in his brokenness, his humanness.

“We can say of him most certainly, ‘he was beloved on the earth,’ and Sinéad too — truly beloved and greatly missed, both.”

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