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new lyrics BBC's decision to censor Fairytale of New York 'destroys the song', says Nick Cave

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Nick Cave (Aaron Chown/PA)

Nick Cave (Aaron Chown/PA)

Nick Cave (Aaron Chown/PA)

SINGER Nick Cave has said the BBC’s decision to censor Fairytale of New York "destroys the song."

The Pogues’ gritty festive hit with Kirsty MacColl is a Christmas staple, though in recent years it has been the focus of debate over its lyrics.

This year, Radio 1 will play an alternative version of the track, with the record label providing different lyrics sung by MacColl.

It is understood Radio 1 bosses were wary of offending listeners with the derogatory terms.

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Singer-songwriter Kirsty MacColl performed Fairytale Of New York with the Pogues, but the Christmas staple has attracted controversy for its lyrics (James Arnold/PA)

Singer-songwriter Kirsty MacColl performed Fairytale Of New York with the Pogues, but the Christmas staple has attracted controversy for its lyrics (James Arnold/PA)

Singer-songwriter Kirsty MacColl performed Fairytale Of New York with the Pogues, but the Christmas staple has attracted controversy for its lyrics (James Arnold/PA)

Radio 2 will play the original song, but said it will continue to monitor listeners’ views.

In a post for his Red Hand Files newsletter, Cave describes the collaboration as the “greatest Christmas song ever written”.

Cave, who is a close friend of McGowan's and even attended his 60th birthday bash in Dublin, insists that the new edited version “destroys the song”.

“One of the many reasons this song is so loved is that, beyond almost any other song I can think of, it speaks with such profound compassion to the marginalised and the dispossessed,” he wrote.

“With one of the greatest opening lines ever written, the lyrics and the vocal performance emanate from deep inside the lived experience itself, existing within the very bones of the song.

“It never looks down on its protagonists. It does not patronise, but speaks its truth, clear and unadorned.

“It is a magnificent gift to the outcast, the unlucky and the brokenhearted. It is as real a piece of lyric writing as I have ever heard.

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'Fairytale of New York' singer Shane MacGowan

'Fairytale of New York' singer Shane MacGowan

'Fairytale of New York' singer Shane MacGowan

“The BBC, that gatekeeper of our brittle sensibilities, forever acting in our best interests, continue to mutilate an artefact of immense cultural value and in doing so takes something from us this Christmas

He added: “I am in no position to comment on how offensive the word ‘f****t’ is to some people, particularly to the young – it may be deeply offensive, I don’t know, in which case Radio 1 should have made the decision to simply ban the song, and allow it to retain its outlaw spirit and its dignity."

In a statement, the BBC defended the decision saying: “We know the song is considered a Christmas classic and we will continue to play it this year, with our radio stations choosing the version of the song most relevant for their audience.”

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