Philip Chevron, longtime guitarist and occasional songwriter for Celtic rock outfit the Pogues, died Oct. 8 in Dublin after a battle with head and neck cancer. He was 56.
Born Philip Ryan in Dublin, Chevron founded punk group the Radiators From Space – often considered the first Irish punk band – in the late ’70s. Moving to London after the band’s 1981 breakup, he joined the Pogues as a temporary guitarist shortly after the release of the group’s 1984 debut, becoming a full-fledged member in time for sophomore LP “Rum, Sodomy and the Lash,” which established the brash yet literate outfit as a high-charting act in the U.K. and a prominent cult band Stateside.
Though frontman Shane MacGowan wrote the majority of the group’s songs, Chevron composed the deeply lyrical Irish immigrant ballad “Thousands Are Sailing” for the Pogues’ third and highest-charting album, 1988’s “If I Should Fall From Grace With God.” He also wrote “Blue Heaven” and “Lorelei” for follow-up “Peace and Love.”
Leaving the group in 1994, Chevron reformed the Radiators (with fellow ex-Pogue Cait O’Riordan) for a spell, then joined the reunited Pogues in 2001. He oversaw the remastering of the group’s 1980s albums, and continued to tour with the Pogues throughout the decade as his health permitted.