Listen to A Rainy Night In Soho, especially performed for Ireland's Favourite Folk Song by Steo Wall, above, and read all about the song below.
A Rainy Night in Soho was written by Shane Mac Gowan and was originally included on The Pogues’ 1986 EP ‘Poguetry in Motion’, produced by Elvis Costello. It has been described as ‘a love song in the purest sense’ and ‘a most beautiful declaration of scarred love’.
The lyrics describe a close, loving relationship that lasted ‘down all the years’ and even though circumstances have now changed, he still hears her talking in his head and she remains, as he so poetically describes it, – ‘the measure of my dreams’. The song is usually interpreted as a love song to musician and one-time bandmate Shanne Bradley with whom Shane had an on-off relationship from the late seventies to the mid eighties. Pogue guitarist, the late Philip Chevron, described how ‘Shane was still getting over Shanne when he wrote’ the song and believed ‘it was part of the process of coping with his torch for Shanne’.
Pogues biographer Carol Clerk describes the song as ‘a triumph of mood and atmosphere’ and says it ‘is a genuinely moving tribute, delivered with a dignified acceptance that something has passed yet still matters’. The song is widely held to be one of MacGowan’s finest compositions and has been covered by many artists. U2 appeared on stage to A Rainy Night In Soho every night on their 2017 Joshua Tree tour.