Pogues star is inspired by Bible John

Publication: The Herald

Author: Phil Miller

Date: January 14, 2005

Original Location: Link

SHANE MacGowan, the former lead singer of The Pogues, has found musical inspiration in one of Scotland's most infamous serial killers.

The singer, who is in Glasgow this weekend to perform at the Celtic Connections music festival, is writing a song about Bible John, the killer of three women in the late 1960s whose identity has eluded detectives.

MacGowan is currently writing the song, which will be called Bible John, so that it can appear on his next album after being told details of the case by his manager.

The singer and songwriter, whose most famous song is the Christmas hit, A Fairytale of New York, is a regular visitor to the city and has previously penned songs about his admiration for Glasgow and Celtic Football Club.

He could give the song its first public performance to-night at the Barrowland , the dancehall where Bible John preyed on his victims, although the co-writer, Joey Cashman, said it is far from complete.

Cashman, the former tour manager of The Pogues and MacGowan's personal manager, suggested the subject after being told about the details of the killings on a recent visit to the city.

The song will appear on the singer's next album with his new band, The Popes, with whom he is playing tonight.

Police believe the murders of Patricia Docker, 25, Jemima McDonald, 32, and Helen Puttock, 29, in Glasgow between 1968 and 1969 were committed by one man. The bodies were found after the women had been at the Barrowland ballroom, in the Gallowgate area. The case is still considered to be active by police.

The continuing search for the killer, named because he was said to quote from the Bible, was highlighted at Christmas when it was revealed a number of suspects from the original inquiry had been approached to give DNA samples.

Cashman said: "The song is still at the early development stage, and if it is good enough it will probably be on his next album and maybe part of the (live) set in the next couple of months.

"I came across the story by accident and researched it a bit and that's when I got Shane involved.

"I've worked with him for 19 years and it's the first song we've worked on together.

"Shane was interested be-cause of the killer's name, because the killer used to pick up his victims from the Barrowlands, and the fact that it all remains unsolved."

It will complete a loose trilogy of Glasgow-inspired songs. In April last year, MacGowan recorded Road To Paradise for Jimmy Johnstone, the ex-Celtic player who is suffering from motor neurone disease, and filmed the video for the single around pubs in the east end of the city.

The follow-up single, Tomorrow Belongs To Me, was also inspired by Glasgow.

John McLaughlin, another songwriter and collaborator with MacGowan, recently said: "I was amazed at Shane's knowledge of Glasgow. He even knew about the old gangs like the Tongs."

Cashman added that the singer knew about the killer. "I don't know how Shane will tell the story of Bible John, but I can say one thing I think by his appearance and manner people think Shane is dim, but you look at many of his lyrics and he is obviously not."

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