Today we celebrate 31 years since the release of The Pogues' all-time best-selling album If I Should Fall from Grace with God, released on Warner Music Group following their most famous single Fairytale of New York featuring Kirsty MacColl.
Recorded at RAK Studios, London, If I Should Fall from Grace with God was produced by the renowned Steve Lillywhite, who was Kirsty MacColl's husband at the time and had previously worked with the likes of U2 and The Rolling Stones. It was a stark departure from the Irish folk-punk aesthetic of their previous work as they started to approach more international sounds.
It came three years after their nautical-inspired second album Rum Sodomy & the Lash, and ended up becoming their highest-charting album in the UK, reaching number three - despite it following the departure of previous producer Elvis Costello and bassist Cait O'Riordan.
Named after J.P. Donleavy's 1973 novel, Fairytale of New York went on to be an iconic (and now somewhat controversial) Christmas anthem and is probably what most people associate The Pogues with. It's an all-time favourite, though it came under fire towards the end of last year for its use of a homophobic slur in the lyrics.
Frontman Shane MacGowan defended the inclusion of the slur as it "fitted with the way [the character in the song] would speak", insisting that the use did not reflect his views and was simply used to intensify the belligerence of the character. "She is not supposed to be a nice person, or even a wholesome person", he said.
Other singles from the record included the title track and Fiesta, and while their track Thousands Are Sailing was never released as a single, it became another popular tune from The Pogues repertoire and even inspired Derek McCullough's 2012 graphic novel Gone to Amerikay.