. . .
The story goes that Phillip Chevron was a bit apprehensive to bring “Thousands Are Sailing” to the Pogues. In retrospect, that seems a bit strange since, unless you were paying attention, it was virtually indistinguishable from a Shane MacGowan lyric, both in overall subject matter (Irish emigration) and telling details (Manhattan, Brendan Behan).
And of course one of the things about the Pogues was — in the grand folk tradition — they didn’t really seem to care where a song came from: a great song was a great song. So “Thousands Are Sailing” became the first great Pogues song written by someone else in the band other than MacGowan.