John Cooper Clarke shot to prominence in the 1970s as the original ‘people’s poet’.
His unique poetry and delivery style was recorded and put to music by legendary producer Martin Hannett and a band of Mancunian stars, including Buzzcocks Peter Shelley and The Durutti Column’s Vini Reilly, masquerading as The Invisible Girls.
Seminal tracks such as Beasley St and Evidently Chickentown featured on the hit album Snap Crackle and Bop, one of 4 big selling original album releases in the late 70s and early 80s. They established John as one of the most prolific artists of the Punk years. The albums were big sellers worldwide and firmly placed John as a major talent. In 2015 Sony honoured JCC with a Book set, Anthologia, a CD and DVD collection of his entire live and recorded history, with tributes from amongst others Sir Paul McCartney and Kate Moss.
JCC’s early live shows were renowned occasions. He headlined gigs with support from many soon to be superstars, including Joy Division, New Order and Duran Duran. He himself featured as special guest on many shows by the Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks and The Clash, as well as carving his own unique niche as a stand up poet.
His first poetry collection 10 Years in An Open Necked Shirt came out in the early 80s on Random House, featuring the lyrics to classic tracks from his albums and more original material. It is one of the biggest selling poetry books ever in the UK, Canada and Australasia.
Since then his career has spanned cultures, audiences, art forms and continents.
These days he performs purely as a stand up solo poet. His unique poetry show has been running in theatres and festivals worldwide for over 15 years.
John's 2018 poetry collection The Luckiest Guy Alive (Picador/Macmillan). Features 30 new poems, including live favourites such as; I've Fallen In Love With My Wife, Beasley Boulevard and Get Back on Drugs you Fat F*ck.
Dr John Cooper Clarke's long-awaited 2020 autobiography, named after his most famous poem I Wanna Be Yours, published in Hardback by Macmillan, is a groundbreaking piece of literature. JCC goes into fascinating detail about his early life in Manchester leading up to punk superstardom, drug addiction and then the massive comeback as major poet he enjoys today. It will soon be reprinted for the 4th time and has just been re-published in paperback.
JCC is as relevant and vibrant as ever and his influence is just as visible in today's pop culture. Aside from his trademark ‘look’ continuing to resonate with fashionistas young and old, and his poetry included on national curriculum syllabus, his effect on modern music has been huge.
His influence can be heard within the keen social observations of the Arctic Monkeys, amongst many others. The Monkeys put the lyrics to Johns I Wanna Be Yours to their own music, on their worldwide smash, the genius A:M. JCC's collaboration with Plan B, Ill Manors spawned a best selling soundtrack album and a hard hitting movie.The list of people who cite him as a major influence is endless.
John's track, Evidently Chickentown, was used as the soundtrack over the credits of the penultimate episode of the hit TV show, and best selling ever DVD box set worldwide The Sopranos. He continues to feature on many British TV shows, with frequent appearances on 8 out of 10 Cats, Would I Lie To You, Pointless Celebs and Have I Got News For You, being particularly well received. Alongside his frequent BBC 6 Music shows they have opened up a whole new audience for him.
John’s own film company produced the hilarious documentary EVIDENTLY JOHN COOPER CLARKE which records and celebrates his life as a poet, revealing his significant influence on contemporary culture over four decades. With a bevy of household names including Bill Bailey, Plan B, Steve Coogan,Kate Nash, Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner and cultural commentators Miranda Sawyer and Paul Morley, the film “Exposes the life behind one of Britain's sharpest and most witty poets”. It was shown on The BBC many times and is still available on Johns online shop as a DVD
His other film and TV shows include appearing as himself in the Joy Division Biopic Control, presenting a documentary on Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater in the BBC's second series of The Secret Life of Books.
In July 2019 John was the well received guest on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs. A fan of the show for 60 years, he described it as having "all the finality of a suicide note, without the actual obligation of topping yourself". His book choice was Against Nature by Joris-Karl Huysmans, his luxury item was a boulder of opium twice the size of his head and his favourite track was "How Great Thou Art" by Elvis Presley.
John was recently a participant in BBC's Celebrity Antiques Road Trip and has featured a Number of times on Would I lie to You and in July 2013, John was awarded an honorary doctorate of arts by Salford Uni, in "acknowledgement of a career which has spanned five decades, bringing poetry to non-traditional audiences and influencing musicians and comedians." Upon receipt, Dr JCC commented: "Now I'm a doctor, finally my dream of opening a cosmetic surgery business can become a reality."
“One of Britain’s outstanding poets”
- Sir Paul McCartney
“Fantastically entertaining. As a writer of comic prose Clarke is the match of anyone alive, and his turns of phrase are as sharp as his suits”
- The Times