As I noted on Twitter/Facebook earlier today, if there’s a better opening lyric than,
“It was Christmas Eve, babe, in the drunk tank…”
I don’t know what it would be. That’s a line that tells you a) there’s a story coming and b) this ain’t your momma’s Christmas song. And both of those are true of the Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York.”
I posted that comment in reference to this great article from the Guardian about the origins of the song, which is one of my all time favorites. (It’s tied with Dar Williams’ “The Christians and the Pagans.” What can I say, I like me a non-traditional Christmas tune.) I had no idea, though, that the song had gone through such a laborious creation process. I think it’s easy to think that musicians toss off a Christmas song in haste to make a quick buck, but “Fairytale” apparently took the Pogues years to get just right.
Personally, I’m glad they took the time. And if you love this song like I do, take a moment to read that story — it’s an interesting look at the creative process and the many things that inspired and influenced the creation of a single piece of music.
Funny enough, until I saw this article, I had never seen the video for this song before. In fact I had no idea there even was a video — despite the fact that it came out in the 80s, when everything had a video.
Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank my friend Chris for posting the article on Facebook this morning. So, thanks!