Bon Jovi’s version, which appears on his new A Bon Jovi Christmas EP, sees the singer handle all the vocal parts himself, despite it being originally a call-and-response duet between the band’s Shane MacGowan and singer-songwriter Kirsty MacColl. He also very clearly tries his hand at emulating MacGowan’s thick Irish accent… to fairly appalling results.
On YouTube, the song has 1400 “thumbs down” reacts compared to around 500 “thumbs up”, and the comment section is filled with viewers slamming Bon Jovi’s rendition. On Twitter, the reaction’s not much better.
Even Steve Lillywhite, who produced the Pogues’ original version, took to social media to share his thoughts, declaring Bon Jovi’s interpretation “the worst ever version of this song” and calling it an “embarrassing and pointless” endeavour.
I have heard Bon Jovi’s cover of Fairytale Of New York.
It’s the worst thing to ever happen music, and I am including both the murder of John Lennon and Brian McFadden’s solo career in there.
This is worse!
Thanks a lot, Jon. Kid’s crying now saying “Christmas is ruined”.
— Rob Smith (@robsmithireland) December 9, 2020
I've listened to Jon Bon Jovi's Fairytale of New York—- its an actual war crime – up there with Gal Gadot (and friends) Imagine …….this will not go unpunished……
— Tom Dunne (@tomhappens) December 9, 2020
The worst ever version of this song . Sorry Jon … embarrassing and pointless https://t.co/PgJ5VcKywP
— Steve Lillywhite CBE (@Sillywhite) December 8, 2020
While a shoddy cover version is nothing too out of the ordinary, the reverence with which listeners hold the Pogues’ original version may go some of the way in explaining the passionate response.
Should you feel particularly brave, have a listen and decide for yourself below.