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Frank Murray, Former Manager of the Pogues, Dies

Theo Wargo, Getty Images
Theo Wargo, Getty Images

Frank Murray, who managed the Pogues from the mid-‘80s until 1990, has died. He was 66.

It is believed, but not confirmed, that Murray suffered a heart attack. He had a history of heart problems, undergoing surgery a few years ago.

“It does really feel like the end of something,” Spider Stacy, the band’s tin whistle player, told Billboard. “I’m very sorry to see him go. He was brilliant really. I loved him deeply.”

Although he worked behind the scenes, Murray, according to Stacy, was responsible for one of the Pogues’ most famous pieces of music, In 1987, wanting a song for the holidays, Murray suggested they cover the Band’s “Christmas Must Be Tonight.” But when it was rejected, he issued a challenge to write something better to frontman Shane MacGowan. The result, “Fairytale of New York,” a duet with Kirsty MacColl, became their most successful song, reaching No. 2 in the U.K and No. 1 in Ireland. It has regularly appeared on lists of the greatest rock Christmas songs of all time.

Before working with the Pogues, Murray had served as a tour manager with Thin Lizzy, Elton John and the Specials. But upon seeing the Pogues perform at London’s Hope & Anchor pub, the Dublin native was struck by their sound. “Being Irish, he totally understood what the band was about and what it was really Shane was doing,” Stacy continued. “I think he really got the importance of the band in regard to Ireland and what Shane was doing with Irish music.”

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