Universally revered for one of the greatest Christmas records ever - Fairytale Of New York - the Pogues burst out of the ashes of punk to take Irish folk music by the scruff of the neck and launch a new generation of wild and frenzied dancing. Their focal point, the hard-drinking, tooth-challenged singer Shane MacGowan, decided to update the Irish folk songs he'd learned growing up in Co. Tipperary after his punk band The Nips split. Originally called Pogue Mahone (famously translated from Irish as "kiss my arse") they released their first single Dark Streets Of London in 1984 and quickly built an avid following with their ramshackle, good-time gigs. Amid stories of alcohol-fuelled mayhem, however, MacGowan emerged as an inspired songwriter, writing richly evocative songs like A Pair Of Brown Eyes, Sally MacLennane and Rainy Night In Soho, culminating in Fairytale Of New York in 1987. They also had a hit, Irish Rover, with their heroes The Dubliners. MacGowan was sacked when his drinking got out of hand in 1991 but the band fizzled out without him. Reuniting with MacGowan in 2001, their annual Christmas tours have since become a national institution.