Listen to Jon Bon Jovi ruin Christmas with the worst version of The Pogues’ Fairytale Of New York ever recorded

(Image credit: ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Just when we thought 2020 had turned a corner, a new horror has surfaced, in the form of Jon Bon Jovi covering The Pogues’ Fairytale Of New York. JBJ apparently recorded the song as a seasonal gift for members of his The JBJ Experience fan club, but rarely has the word ‘gift’ had to do such heavy lifting.

The original version of Fairytale…, a duet between Pogues frontman Shane McGowan and Kirsty McColl, was released as a single in November 1987 and featured on The Pogues’ third album If I Should Fall From Grace With God. Nick Cave recently hailed it as “the greatest Christmas song ever written”, writing, “It is a magnificent gift to the outcast, the unlucky and the broken-hearted.”

Sounds rather lovely, doesn’t it? Now have a listen to what Mr Bon Jovi has done with the song. We’re not going to be too unkind here, ’tis the season of goodwill to all men and all that, but we have three immediate questions: 1) why is JBJ arguing with himself? 2) What’s going on with his accent at 1 minute 28 seconds? and 3) Lyric change aside, WHAT ON EARTH IS HAPPENING BETWEEN 2:16 and 2:30?

Frankly, this whole thing has upset us so much that we couldn’t even bring ourselves to listen to the new Tom Petty and Elvis Presley covers JBJ has also recorded. 

In brighter news, there’s a new film about The Pogues frontman Shane McGowan in cinemas this week, and simultaneously available to stream. Directed by Julian Temple (The Filth And The Fury), Crock Of Gold: A Few Rounds With Shane McGowan, is a brilliant insight into the history of The Pogues, and will almost help you forget that this catastrophic JBJ cover ever existed. Almost…

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.