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Passings: Phil Chevron of the Pogues (1957 - 2013)

Phil Chevron, the singer, songwriter and guitarist for the Pogues, died on Tuesday in his hometown of Dublin after a lengthy battle with throat cancer. He was 56.

Chevron was born Philip Ryan in Santry, near to Dublin.  His first foray into professional music was as a co-founder of The Radiators From Space, one of the earliest punk bands in Ireland. The group released two albums, 1977's TV Tube Heart and 1979's Ghostown, the latter of which was lauded by the critics but was not a commercial success.

The band disbanded in 1981 but reformed for a one-off show in 1987, premiering a new Chevron song. They reformed in 2004 without Phil; however, his part of the group's history has always been remembered, with the current lineup posting "It is with great sadness we announce the passing of our dear friend and colleague Philip Chevron."
Chevron joined the Pogues in 1985 as their new guitarist in time to record their now classic Rum Sodomy & the Lash. He stayed with the group until 1994 when poor health due to drugs and alcohol forced him to leave.  During his tenure, the Pogues had their greatest successes with albums like If I Should Fall From Grace With God (1988) and Peace and Love (1989) and the hits Irish Rover (with the Dubliners) (1987 / #8 U.K. / #1 Ireland) and Fairtale of New York (featuring Kirsty MacColl) (1987 / #2 U.K. / #1 Ireland).  The latter has become a Christmas classic, making the British singles chart every holiday season.

The Pogues broke up in 1996 with each member moving on to solo projects, including Chevron who reformed the Radiators, including Pogues member Cait O'Riorden.  They released the album Trouble Pilgrim in 2006, once again to critical but not commercial success.

At the same time, the Pogues reformed in 2001 for a Christmas tour and again in 2004. Since that time, the group has regularly toured, especially during the holiday seasons, but did not record any new music which, according to Chevron, was to make sure that they kept enjoying what they were doing.

Chevron first stated that he had esophageal cancer in June of 2007 but, six months later, said that he had recovered. This past May, it was announced that the cancer had returned and was "lethal."

The Pogues' official site carries the following tribute:
Philip Chevron
June 17 1957 - October 8 2013

After a long illness Philip passed away peacefully this morning. We all send our sincere condolences to his family. - The Pogues

Those of us on are at a loss for words. Rather than inadequately fumbling we're instead adapting the words Philip once penned for another great musician's passing:

We'd like to add our voices of sorrow to the many others in Irish and international music and theatre on the death of our friend, Philip Chevron, who died in Dublin today, aged 56. As was well known, Philip had been living with cancer for some time.

He was unique. We'll miss him terribly. Dublin town, and the world, just got smaller.

His loved ones are in our thoughts.


Anonymous said…
Rock on phil!
Anonymous said…