The Pogues are a band of mixed Irish and English background, playing traditional Irish folk with influences from the English punk rock movement. They reached international prominence in the 1980s and 1990s before breaking up in 1996. The band began performing together again in 2001, though they have yet to record new music. They merged traditional Irish music with the energy of contemporary punk, essentially inventing Celtic punk. They were also highly influential on the larger Celtic Fusion scene. Frontman Shane MacGowan described their style as "playing Irish music to a young rock audience". The music press at the time dubbed their style as "Punk Céilidh" due to the energy of the frontman and the prevalence of pogo dancing at their earlier gigs.
The Pogues were founded in King's Cross, a district of North London, in 1982 as Pogue Mahone—"pogue mahone" being the Anglicisation of the Irish póg mo thóin, meaning "kiss my arse". The band specialised in Irish folk music, often playing with the energy of the punk rock scene from which several of the members had their roots.
Their politically-tinged music was reminiscent of The Clash, with whom they played (Joe Strummer produced one of their albums and even joined the group briefly), and used traditional Irish instruments such as the tin whistle, banjo, cittern, mandolin, accordion, and more. In the later incarnations of the band, after the departure of Shane MacGowan, rock instruments such as the electric guitar would become more prominent. The first of The Pogues' albums, Red Roses for Me, borrows much from the punk tradition of MacGowan's previous band The Nipple Erectors (later dubbed The Nips).