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From left to right, actor Woody Harrelson, Shane MacGowan, and musician Paul Simon
Paul Simon

Music icon Paul Simon got on the phone to Liveline to pay tribute to his friend Shane MacGowan

The acclaimed singer-songwriter today remembered his ‘charismatic friend’ Shane MacGowan.

LEGENDARY MUSICIAN PAUL Simon has paid tribute to his friend Shane MacGowan after his death yesterday at the age of 65.

The Pogues issued a statement on X, formerly Twitter, confirming their former singer died at 3am yesterday morning with his wife and family by his side.

Paul Simon spoke to RTÉ’s Liveline over the phone from Manhattan about his relationship with MacGowan, revealing how they met in Dublin after a concert Simon performed at.

Simon had invited him to the concert and afterwards asked if MacGowan would like to meet him.

“I already liked what I heard of him,” said Simon. “It was a very striking day in my life when I met him.”

Simon said that MacGowan was often “insightful” during their conversations and spoke about the letters they would send to each other.

Simon read from one letter, which he had since framed, which was penned after Simon gifted MacGowan a set of speakers.

“Thanks for the friendly visit, it was great, and thanks for the lovely speaker, it has made a great difference to our listening pleasure,” wrote MacGowan.

Simon said the pair had been friends for over a decade and he introduced MacGowan to his children the last time he was in Dublin.

Simon said they would speak about the poet Seamus Heaney, the Nobel Prize awardee for literature, but that most of their conversations revolved around music.

“He liked to laugh,” added Simon of MacGowan.

He told Liveline that Shane’s wife Victoria had been keeping him up to date on MacGowan’s health and revealed that the pair were due to perform a duet, but a health-related incident meant MacGowan wasn’t able for this.

Simon said he “wished he had known” MacGowan for longer and described him as “charismatic” and as his “vision of what Ireland was at a certain point”.

Simon added that he feels he has a “strong connection” with Ireland and that he’s “sorry” he’s never lived here.

Reflecting on MacGowan’s passing, Simon said MacGowan was the type of “artist who needed to burn very, very brightly and intensely”.

“They produce work that we treasure, but they pay for it with their health, and that was Shane.”

Simon also spoke about his own future in music, saying he “has no plans to perform anywhere” and that he just takes it “one step at a time”.

He added that he might do half-hour gigs for philanthropic reasons in the future.

Simon spoke about his experience of Long-Covid and said he has “taste issues” and has been “beat up and battered around in the last year and a half”.

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