Phil Chevron of The Pogues Dead from Cancer

Phil Chevron.jpg

Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Phil Chevron, of the legendary Anglo-Irish folk-punk band the Pogues died on October 8, 2013 after a long battle with cancer with his family by his side. He was 56 years old.

The Pogues became a successful Celtic punk band formed in 1982 and fronted by Shane MacGowan. The band reached international prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Their politically tinged music combined punk music with traditional Irish instruments such as the tin whistle, cittern, mandolin and accordion. The Pogues were founded in Kings Cross, a district of Central London, in 1982 as Pogue Mahone—pogue mahone being an Irish translation of the Irish word póg mo thóin, meaning "kiss my arse".

Chevron joined the Pogues in 1984 and became a core member as the group made its name internationally with several albums including "Rum, Sodomy and The Lash" (album title is a famous comment falsely attributed to Winston Churchill who was supposedly describing the "true" traditions of the British Royal Navy) and "If I Should Fall From Grace With God".

Chevron, whose real name was Philip Ryan, wrote the band's popular ballad "Thousands Are Sailing". Originally featured on the 1988 Pogues album If I Should Fall From Grace With God, the song’s heartfelt lyric, soaring tune and compelling chorus on the theme of emigration from Ireland to America struck such a potent chord of authenticity with Irish audiences that it has already passed into folklore. Featuring regularly in informal Irish pub sessions, it is often performed by singers who often wrongly assume the song is traditional. It even served as inspiration for the 2012 Derek McCulloch graphic novel Gone To Amerikay.

"He was unique. We'll miss him terribly. Dublin town, and the world, just got smaller," the Pogues said in a statement on their website. "His loved ones are in our thoughts."

Chevron, who was born in Dublin, started out with the first Irish punk bandThe Radiators From Space, which has been described as Ireland's first punk band, but he moved to London where he joined the Pogues fronted by fellow Irishman Shane MacGowan. As well as playing guitar for the Pogues, he turned his hand to banjo and mandolin and occasionally took lead vocals.

Chevron stayed with the Pogues after MacGowan left in 1991 and was replaced by Joe Strummer, former frontman of The Clash, who quit three years later due to poor health spurred by drug and alcohol abuse. (the band broke up in 1996)

He later reformed the Radiators with ex-Pogues bassist Cait O'Riordan. When the Pogues reformed in 2001 and interest in their music revived, Chevron remastered the band's back catalogue on CD and took a big role in their annual reunion tours.

Phil Chevron was originally diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2007. He was given a clean bill of health in April 2012 but the cancer recently returned. His last appearance was at a testimonial concert in his honor in Dublin, Ireland this past summer.