A Rainy Night in Soho

"A Rainy Night in Soho"
Single by The Pogues
from the album Poguetry in Motion
Released 1986
Genre Celtic rock
Writer(s) Shane MacGowan
The Pogues singles chronology
"Sunny Side of the Street"
"Rainy Night in Soho"
"Fairytale of New York" (re-issue)

"A Rainy Night in Soho" is a song by The Pogues. Originally included on their Poguetry in Motion EP, which has been reissued as bonus tracks on the group's 2004 expanded edition of Rum, Sodomy and the Lash. The song is commonly performed at Pogues concerts and has been included in their recent setlists since their reformation in 2001.[1]

Two recordings and various mixes of the song were made in the studio. Songwriter Shane MacGowan and producer Elvis Costello clashed over the final mix of the song, with MacGowan preferring a mix featuring a cornet, and Costello preferring a version with oboe.[2] The cornet version was used, except for Canadian editions of the EP, which used the oboe version.[3] A third version combining elements of both mixes was issued on the 1991 Poguetry In Motion re-issue, and is also available on the remastered and expanded Hell's Ditch CD. Other mixes have surfaced on various compilations and bootlegs, and according to guitarist Philip Chevron there are "something like 13 versions... with different edits of the two recordings".[2]

A video was filmed for the song. It shows Shane MacGowan with short beard, cool shades and leather jacket singing into a 1950s styled mic; the black-and-white footage is mixed with flicks from the protagonist's childhood and frames from nighttime London. Finally Shane dances the waltz with his girlfriend before a burning fire.

The song has been included on every Greatest Hits album the band has released, and is the first track on their 2001 disc, Ultimate Collection. It has also been covered by numerous artists, one cover being performed by Nick Cave and his band The Bad Seeds, who performed it on an EP in which MacGowan performed a Cave song, "Lucy".[4]

On 30 May 2008, Damien Dempsey released a cover version of "Rainy Night in Soho". It was taken from his fifth studio album, The Rocky Road, a collection of traditional ballads released on 6 June 2008.[5]

The song has also been covered by Paddy Reilly and Ronnie Drew, who recorded it on his final album The Last Session: A Fond Farewell as a duet with Damien Dempsey.


  1. "Pogues Singles". Pogues.com. 1988-03-17. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  2. 1 2 Carol Clerk: "The Story of the Pogues" Chapter 16
  3. "Philip Chevron, writing on The Pogues online forum, May 12, 2008". Pogues.com. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  4. "Nick Cave Online - Discography - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds". Nick-cave.com. 2006-08-10. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  5. "New Damien Dempsey Album". Sputnikmusic. 2008-05-28. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
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