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Jon Bon Jovi releases unimaginably bad version of Fairytale Of New York

By | Published on Thursday 10 December 2020

Jon Bon Jovi

We’re all now used to the annual tradition of debating the controversial lyrics in The Pogues’ ‘Fairytale Of New York’ as a way of kicking off the festive season here in the UK. But with the focus on that, it can be easy to forget the other controversy this song sparks: the one when people try to cover it.

It’s really hard to capture the spirit of a song like ‘Fairytale Of New York’, although many have tried. For 20 years, Ronan Keating and Moya Brennan’s cover has been the undisputed worst ever cover version. As in, the worst ever cover of ‘Fairytale Of New York’, and a contender for worst ever cover version full stop.

The Keating version is so bad, I don’t think anyone ever believed it would be toppled in the ‘worst cover of ‘Fairytale Of New York’ stakes. But toppled it has been. Because Jon Bon Jovi has just turned in an absolute stinker.

There are so many reasons to dislike JBJ’s version, I’ve written you a list:

• He sings both halves of the duet himself, with no effort to distinguish the two parts. It’s not even clear that he’s aware there are two parts.

• The way he says ‘Galway’

• When we get to the offensive line in the song, he doesn’t just change it, he rewrites the whole verse.

• Oh, maybe he’s improved those controversial lyrics, you might be thinking. No, here they are: “You’re a bum, you’re a braggart, you’ve lost all your swagger. And the word around town is you ain’t much in bed. Called a squirrel cos you’re nuts, you’re a kick in the guts. Happy Christmas my ass, I pray to God it’s our last”.

• He sings “my ass” like it’s a term of endearment.

• I’m not even 100% sure he says “my ass”. It could also be “my azza” or “my eyesight”.

• There are points where his diction is worse than Shane MacGowan’s.

• He sings the whole thing like it’s a happy, chirpy song, despite his amended lyrics still recognising that the two protagonists hate each other.

• Although, again, there don’t seem to be two protagonists in this version.

• “Called a squirrel cos you’re nuts”.

• Is there an Irish theme pub inside Disneyland? Because that’s where it sounds like this was recorded.

• Did I mention that he sings both parts himself?

Somehow this feels apt for 2020. Merry Christmas! You can listen to this absolute monstrosity here: