Jon Bon Jovi’s ‘Fairytale of New York’ Cover Slammed by Listeners
Jon Bon Jovi's new cover of the classic Christmas song “Fairytale of New York” has resulted in a flurry of negative comments from listeners.
He performs the 1987 duet - originally sung by Kirsty MacColl and the Pogues' Shane MacGowan - all by himself, with apparent attempts at an Irish accent in some lines. He also replaced the controversial line “you cheap lousy faggot” with “you’ve lost all your swagger.”
The performance, taken from a three-track release titled A Jon Bon Jovi Christmas, is available below for those who wish to listen.
The song currently has more thumbs-down than thumbs-up votes on YouTube, with a number of people not happy with Bon Jovi's take. Comments include “You give Christmas songs a bad name,” “If 2020 was a Christmas song … ,” “Graffiti on a Van Gogh” and “Everybody involved in the production of this should be tried at the Hague for crimes against humanity. This is a reprehensible and unjustified attack on music, Christmas, the Irish and all that is right with the world.”
Even Steve Lillywhite, who produced the Pogues' version of the song and was married to MacColl at the time, is not a fan of Bon Jovi's new version. "The worst ever version of this song," he tweeted. "Sorry Jon ... embarrassing and pointless."
While less well-known in the U.S., “Fairytale of New York” has returned to the U.K. Top 20 on 17 different occasions, including every December since 2005. Written in the style of a traditional Irish ballad, the song is often noted by British critics as the best-ever Christmas single. A public TV poll ranked it the most popular seasonal track of all time.
Rumors persist that "Fairytale of New York" was written as the result of a wager between MacGowan and Elvis Costello, who had produced the Pogues and asserted the band could never make a Christmas hit. The band rejected Costello's suggestion that the track should be titled “Christmas Eve in the Drunk Tank” because the members thought it would certainly flop under that name.
“I sat down, opened the sherry, got the peanuts out and pretended it was Christmas,” MacGowan told Melody Maker in 1985. “It's quite sloppy … but there's also a ceilidh bit in the middle which you can definitely dance to. ... But the song itself is quite depressing in the end.”