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Black Grape

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Black Grape
Black Grape performing at the Albert Hall in Manchester, 2023
Black Grape performing at the Albert Hall in Manchester, 2023
Background information
OriginSalford, Greater Manchester, England
Years active
  • 1993–1998
  • 2010
  • 2015–present
Past members
WebsiteOfficial Facebook page

Black Grape are an English rock band formed in Salford in 1993, featuring former members of Happy Mondays and Ruthless Rap Assassins. Their musical style fuses funk and electronic rock with electronic programming and samples.


Formation, first two studio albums and break-up (1993–1998)[edit]

The band was formed in 1993 by former Happy Mondays members Shaun Ryder and Bez. It was Ryder's first musical project after the disintegration of Happy Mondays due both to his multiple drug addictions and to disagreements about revenues with other band members. The formation of the new band was intended to draw a line between his past life and his new one. Ryder and Bez recruited rappers Paul "Kermit" Leveridge and Carl "Psycho" McCarthy, drummer Ged Lynch (like Leveridge, a former member of Ruthless Rap Assassins), and guitarist Wags (formerly of the Manchester-based group the Paris Angels) and Oli "Dirtycash" Dillon on ocarina. Recording of new material started that year, although the group was not under contract.[1]

In 1995, Black Grape was signed by Radioactive Records (an imprint of major label BMG) and released its debut studio album It's Great When You're Straight...Yeah.[1] The album debuted at number one in the UK Albums Chart, and spawned three top 20 singles.[2] The album was certified platinum in the UK in April 1996.[3]

The third single, "Kelly's Heroes" – a song lampooning society's obsession with celebrities and idols that had much to do with Ryder's own previous hero worship of people he now saw as wastrels – had its opening lyric changed before recording from "Don't talk to me about heroes – Most of these guys snort cocaine," to "Don't talk to me about heroes – most of these men sink like subs". Another song on the album, "Temazi Party", mocked the then-current craze for abusing temazepam sleeping pills (a.k.a. 'jellies'), but was deliberately misspelt on the album sleeve as 'Tramazi' instead of 'Temazi' to forestall any legal injunction against the album's release.

The subsequent studio album Stupid Stupid Stupid was less commercially successful, but was certified gold in the UK in January 1998.[3] The group broke-up in 1998 after Ryder fired the rest of the band while touring, starting with Kermit (who was suffering from septicaemia) and ending with Bez (who was unsatisfied with his financial situation).[1]

Lynch went on to play drums and percussion on many other musical works, becoming a noted session musician.

Reunion (2010–present)[edit]

On 1 April 2010, Ryder briefly reformed Black Grape with producer Danny Saber for a concert as part of the 'Get Loaded in the Dark' gig series at The Coronet in London.[4]

In 2015, Black Grape reunited for a gig in April at the Old Granada Studios in Manchester. The gig was a benefit for Bez's political party, We Are the Reality Party, which coincided with his bid for Parliament in the upcoming general election. Although Ryder and Kermit took to the stage, Bez joined them on stage towards the end of the gig. Soon after, it was announced that Black Grape had signed to Creation Management run by Alan McGee and Simon Fletcher and announced a reunion tour to coincide with 20 years of the band's debut studio album It's Great When You're Straight...Yeah (1995). Although an original member, Bez did not rejoin the band.

Black Grape recorded and released a song "We Are England" in support of the England national football team for the UEFA Euro 2016 football competition, in collaboration with DJ Paul Oakenfold and singer Goldie, under the name 4 Lions. It was released by the management label Fletcher McGee Ltd under license to BMG Rights Management.

On 4 May 2017, it was announced that the group's next studio album, Pop Voodoo would be released on 7 July. On the same day, "Everything You Know Is Wrong" was released.[5] The album was eventually released on 4 August.[6] Louder Than War listed the album as one of its top 100 albums of 2017, placing it high at #23.[7]

In September 2021, Black Grape went on the road to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their debut studio album – originally planned for 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic saw the original shows rescheduled

Orange Head, the band's fourth album, was scheduled for release in November 2023, preceded by the single "Milk".[8] Instead the single "Dirt" was released in November, and the album pushed back to January 2024.[9]

Orange Head was released on 19 January 2024.[9]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
It's Great When You're Straight...Yeah 1 111 80 20 2 13
Stupid Stupid Stupid
  • Released: 10 November 1997
  • Label: Radioactive (RAR 11716)
  • Formats: CD, CS, DL, LP
11 139 10 40
Pop Voodoo
  • Released: 4 August 2017[6]
  • Label: UMC
  • Formats: CD, DL, LP
15 8
Orange Head
  • Released: 19 January 2024[9]
  • Label: DGAFF
  • Formats: CD, DL, LP
78 5
"—" denotes items that did not chart or were not released in that territory.


Year Title Peak chart positions Album


1995 "Reverend Black Grape" 9 5 It's Great When You're Straight...Yeah
"In the Name of the Father" 8 107 5 31
"Kelly's Heroes" 17 158 13
1996 "Fat Neck" 10 6 Non-album singles
"England's Irie" 6 19
1997 "Get Higher" 24 177 12 Stupid Stupid Stupid
1998 "Marbles" 46 39 44
2017 "Nine Lives"[19] Pop Voodoo
"I Wanna Be Like You"[20]
2023 "Pimp Wars" Orange Head
"—" denotes items that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

Promotional singles[edit]

  • 1997 – "Dadi Waz a Badi"[21]


  • The Grape Tapes (1997)


  1. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 137. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  2. ^ a b c "UK chart peaks". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d "BPI Certification". British Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original on 15 March 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  4. ^ Clarke, Betty (5 April 2010). "Black Grape". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  5. ^ Trendell, Andrew (4 May 2017). "Black Grape announce first new album in 20 years with new track 'Everything You Know Is Wrong'". nme.com. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  6. ^ a b Shaw, Mathew (2 August 2017). "Black Grape – Pop Voodoo – album review". louderthanwar.com. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  7. ^ "Louder Than War's Top 100 Albums of 2017". Album of The Year. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  8. ^ "Black Grape announce new album Orange Head, share new single Milk". Classic Pop. 25 July 2023. Retrieved 14 August 2023.
  9. ^ a b c "Black Grape share new single 'Dirt' from upcoming album 'Orange Head'". XS Noize. 29 November 2023. Retrieved 6 January 2024.
  10. ^ "Black Grape ARIA chart history, received from ARIA in May 2024". ARIA. Retrieved 7 July 2024 – via Imgur.com. N.B. The High Point number in the NAT column represents the release's peak on the national chart.
  11. ^ Canadian studio albums:
  12. ^ "charts.nz – Discography Black Grape". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  13. ^ Scottish albums:
  14. ^ "swedishcharts.com – Discography Black Grape". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  15. ^ UK dance singles:
  16. ^ "Response from ARIA re: chart inquiry, received 24 May 2016". Imgur.com. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  17. ^ Scottish singles:
  18. ^ "US alternative songs chart peaks". billboard.com. Archived from the original on 24 September 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  19. ^ "Nine Lives (Radio Edit) - Single". iTunes. Apple Inc. 9 June 2017. Archived from the original on 28 May 2024. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  20. ^ "I Wanna Be Like You (Radio Edit) - Single". iTunes. Apple Inc. 7 July 2017. Archived from the original on 28 May 2024. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  21. ^ Dadi Waz a Badi (Sleeve). Black Grape. Radioactive. 1997. BLACKPROMO 1.97.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)

External links[edit]