Fairytale of New York – Merry Christmas from Rapalje

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Fairytale of New York – Merry Christmas from Rapalje

Fairytale of New York with lyrics played at a special video we recorded for the hardworking employees at UMC Utrecht to support them after this difficult year, we hope to be able to perfom again soon for all our essential workers. Gurgling the tune with whiskey started out as a joke when we first learned this song, if you really can’t play an instrument you can always use the drink, we kept it ever since. We extended the chorus melody at the end because we love playing this part of the song.

Background Info

Fairytale of New York from The Pogues was, again, voted the most popular Christmas song of the UK in 2019. We play it all year round and it’s been one of our most requested songs since we started playing it! “Fairytale of New York” is a song written by Jem Finer and Shane MacGowan and recorded by their band the Pogues, featuring singer-songwriter Kirsty MacColl on vocals. The song is an Irish folk-style ballad and was written as a duet, with the Pogues’ singer MacGowan taking the role of the male character and MacColl the female character.

Although there is agreement among the band that “Fairytale of New York” was first written in 1985, the origins of the song are disputed. MacGowan insisted that it arose as a result of a wager made by the Pogues’ producer at the time, Elvis Costello, that the band would not be able to write a Christmas hit single, while the Pogues’ manager Frank Murray has stated that it was originally his idea that the band should try and write a Christmas song as he thought it would be “interesting”.

Banjo player Finer came up with the melody and the original concept for the song, which was set in County Clare on Ireland’s west coast, involving a sailor in New York looking out over the ocean and reminiscing about being back home in Ireland. Finer’s wife Marcia did not like the original seafaring story, and suggested new lyrics regarding a conversation between a couple at Christmas. Finer told NME, “I had written two songs complete with tunes, one had a good tune and crap lyrics, the other had the idea for ‘Fairytale’ but the tune was poxy, I gave them both to Shane and he gave it a Broadway melody, and there it was.

Fairytale of New York – Lyrics

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 youI 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

Fairytale of New York is available on our CD Hearts

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