Shaun Ryder

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Shaun Ryder
Ryder performing in April 2007
Ryder performing in April 2007
Background information
Birth nameShaun William George Ryder
Also known asX
Born (1962-08-23) 23 August 1962 (age 59)
Little Hulton, Lancashire, England
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • television personality
  • author
  • Vocals
  • saxophone
  • guitar
  • piano
  • bass
  • tambourine
Years active1980–present

Shaun William George Ryder (born 23 August 1962) is an English singer/songwriter and poet.[1] As lead singer of Happy Mondays, he was a leading figure in the Madchester cultural scene during the late 1980s and early 1990s.[2] In 1993, he formed Black Grape with former Happy Mondays dancer Bez. He was the runner-up on the tenth series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!.[3]

Early life[edit]

Shaun William George Ryder was born on 23 August 1962[4] in Little Hulton, Lancashire,[5] the son of nurse Linda[6][7] and postman Derek (who would later become Happy Mondays' tour manager).[8] By the age of 13, he had left school to work on a building site.[9]

Musical career[edit]

Happy Mondays[edit]

As Ryder was singer for Happy Mondays, his struggle[citation needed] with drugs led to the band's initial break-up in 1992. The film 24 Hour Party People featured the (semi-fictional) story of Ryder's youth and the life of Happy Mondays whilst signed with Factory Records in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In the film, Ryder is portrayed by Danny Cunningham.

Ryder has taken part in two reformations of Happy Mondays (1999–2000 and 2004–present). He has also released a solo album, Amateur Night in the Big Top, to a mixed critical reception.

In 2000, following the Big Day Out Festival in Australia with Happy Mondays, Ryder stayed on in Perth, Western Australia with Pete Carroll, who had a record label called Offworld Sounds. While in Perth he recorded Amateur Night in the Big Top, an album of punk electronica with Carroll, Shane Norton, Stephen Mallinder from Cabaret Voltaire and Lucky Oceans from American country band Asleep at the Wheel.[10] UnCut called it, "exhilarating stuff. Another wildly implausible Ryder comeback" while Ministry of Sound said it was "A remarkable album. The most vitriolic lyrics this side of Dylan's 'Ballad of a Thin Man' and Sex Pistols 'EMI'". The album was recorded quickly during a few late night sessions in Carroll's garage studio during an extremely hot Perth summer. The album was subsequently released on Offworld Sounds.

In 2004, Happy Mondays reunited to play a comeback gig called "Get Loaded in the Park" on Clapham Common, with only original members. Two years later they released the single "Playground Superstar", featured in the football film Goal, which was released after Bez had won Celebrity Big Brother.[11] In 2007 Happy Mondays produced the album, Uncle Dysfunktional.[12] In 2009 he made a cameo appearance (Ryder later revealed that it was also a non-speaking role[clarification needed]) as himself in Channel 4 drama Shameless.[13]

Black Grape[edit]

In 1995 Ryder launched his new project, Black Grape.[14] Its first release, It's Great When You're Straight... Yeah, topped the British album chart for a week.[15] However, the follow-up album, Stupid Stupid Stupid, did not achieve the same critical nor commercial success, and the group split in 1998. The group reformed briefly in 2010, and released a single in 2015. In August 2017, the group released Pop Voodoo, their first full album since 1997.

Other work[edit]

Ryder collaborated with Intastella in 1993 and in 1996 he worked with Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth, and Chris Frantz on No Talking, Just Head.

1997 Ryder featured on the Agent Provocateur album Where the Wild Things Are on track "Agent Dan" the track was also released as a single and remixed by Propellerheads.

He appeared on British tenor Russell Watson's 2001 debut album The Voice, lending his vocals to a cover version of the Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé song "Barcelona".[16]

In 2004, Ryder had a voice acting role in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in which he played Maccer, a washed-up, masturbation-addicted musician who was planning a major comeback tour.[17]

Ryder appeared in Peter Kay's "Is This the Way to Amarillo?" charity music video in 2005. Also in 2005, he collaborated with Gorillaz on "Dare", a song on their Demon Days album.[18] Chris Evans stated at the 2006 Brit Awards that the song was originally called "It's There", but was changed as Ryder's thick Mancunian accent made him pronounce the word "there" as "dare".[19]

In 2010 he supported The Charlatans on a UK tour, as well as one-off headline show at the Assembly, Leamington Spa.[clarification needed] In November 2011 Ryder played saxophone onstage at the Barbican in York as a special guest in Jools Holland's Rhythm and Blues Orchestra for the Sky television series First Love.

Other work[edit]


Ryder wrote a column for the Daily Sport, in which he commented on current events and celebrities.[20] The column was ghostwritten with journalist John Warburton, who would write a book about the Happy Mondays reunion in the late 1990s, and co-credited it to Ryder. He said he "didn't really have anything to do with it at all," explaining that Warburton had approached him to write a biography. Ryder said he was not interested in the idea at the time, but allowed him to accompany the band on tour and document the proceedings.[21][22]

In 2011, Ryder published his autobiography, Twisting My Melon: The Autobiography.[23][24] It was optioned by Granada Television and writer Danny Brocklehurst enlisted to write the screenplay.


In 2004 he was the subject of Richard Macer's BBC3 documentary Shaun Ryder: The Ecstasy and the Agony.[25]

Ryder was a contestant on the tenth series of ITV's reality game show I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! in 2010, where he finished second behind Stacey Solomon.[citation needed] In January 2011 Ryder appeared on the first series of the ITV programme That Sunday Night Show,[26] and again on the second series in September 2011.[27] He collaborated with fellow I'm a Celebrity contestant Stacey Solomon at the 2011 National Television Awards.[28]

In 2013, Ryder hosted the television show Shaun Ryder on UFOs on The History Channel UK.[29] He has a lifelong interest in UFOs and claims that he has personally encountered space aliens,[29] stating that he saw a UFO for the first time in 1978.[9]

Two years later, Ryder has appeared repeatedly on the panel of RT UK's News Thing. In October 2016, he appeared on Would I Lie to You?. In 2017 Ryder appeared on Celebrity Juice as a member of Fearne Cotton's team. The next year he starred in ITVs 100 years younger in 21 days and appeared on Celebrity Mastermind, with the specialist subject of Manchester.

In August 2020, Ryder appeared in BBC Two comedy Mandy created by Diane Morgan in which he portrayed a fictional version of himself.

Personal life[edit]

Ryder has six children. For some time, he was addicted to heroin, saying he overcame it by taking up cycling.[9]

Ryder contested contracts he drew up with his Black Grape management team, compiled in 1993. Following his dismissal of the company, they sued him for £160,000. The income from his £30,000 a year Daily Sport column went solely to cover his costs. His appearance on I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! (2010) and a £130,000 book deal financed Ryder out of the contract.[30]

Ryder was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia later in life, saying in the 60s and 70s there was "no such thing as learning difficulties".[31] "When I was at school they didn't know about ADHD, there were just four sets, one being the brightest and four being crowd control"... so "for the first 40-something years of my life I didn't know I had it [ADHD]".[32]

In 2021 he took part in Channel 4's Stand Up and Deliver; mentored by Jason Manford, he developed his own stand-up set. Manford explained in an interview “Shaun’s got severe ADHD, so remembering things, collecting information and taking on new thoughts, it’s been a real challenge."[33]

Ryder left school unable to read the alphabet.[34] “But, y’see, there’s different ways of learning. I was 26 years old when I learnt the alphabet. My girlfriend at the time taught it to me through singing, and I learnt it in five minutes. It also helps me to learn when I have a stress ball in my hand, it’s called fiddling. When I have nothing in my hand, I can’t take anything in. I can’t retain any information.”[35][failed verification]


Solo albums


  • 2010 – Shaun William Ryder XXX: 30 Years of Bellyaching



  • 1996 – "Don't Take My Kindness for Weakness" (with The Heads)
  • 2001 – "Barcelona" (with Russell Watson)
  • 2003 – "Scooter Girl"
  • 2005 – "DARE" (with Gorillaz)
  • 2005 – "Is This the Way to Amarillo?"



  1. ^ Bilmes, Alex (28 March 2019). "Tony Wilson Was Right: Shaun Ryder Is A Poet". Esquire. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  2. ^ "Madchester remembered: 'There was amazing creative energy in Manchester at the time' | Music | The Guardian".
  3. ^ "Shaun Ryder marks 'I'm A Celebrity...' exit by announcing UK gigs" (News article). NME. IPC MEDIA. 7 December 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  4. ^ Michael Sutton. "Shaun Ryder Biography". All Music Guide. Rogue Digital, LLC. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  5. ^ Little Hulton did not join Salford until 1974 before which it was part of Worsley UDC
  6. ^ Irish Independent,
  7. ^ National Portrait Gallery,
  8. ^ Louder than War
  9. ^ a b c Jonze, Tim (1 July 2017). "Shaun Ryder: 'It was cycling that got me off drugs'". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  10. ^ Ted Kessler (20 June 2003). "'I look all right, don't I?'" (News article). The Guardian home. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  11. ^ "Interview: Shaun Ryder*2". City Life. expletive undeleted. November 2005. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  12. ^ "Never Mind The Dysfunktional Uncle... Here's the Happy Mondays". The Salford Star. The Salford Star. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  13. ^ "Shaun Ryder to make cameo appearance in 'Shameless' tonight (February 10)". NME. IPC MEDIA. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  14. ^ "Happy Mondays". The Guardian home. Guardian News and Media Limited. 13 August 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  15. ^ "Shaun Ryder". Star Pulse. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  16. ^ "HAPPY MONDAYS – celebrating the baggy kings of Madchester". Pride of Manchester. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  17. ^ "Shaun Ryder". Artist. Ltd. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  18. ^ Miranda Sawyer (25 February 2007). "It's great when you're straight" (News article). The Observer. 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  19. ^ Wright, Lisa (28 May 2015). "Gorillaz' 'Demon Days': Shaun Ryder Tells The Real Story Behind 'DARE'". Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  20. ^ "Shaun Ryder solo show, career spanning set for FAC 251" (News article). Clash Music News. 15 March 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  21. ^ Warburton; Ryder 2011, front cover
  22. ^ Ryder 2012, p. 368
  23. ^ Hattenstone, Simon (15 September 2011). "'Shaun Ryder in the Happy Mondays wasn't me. He was a caricature'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
  24. ^ Steve Jelbert (18 September 2011). "Twisting My Melon: The Autobiography, By Shaun Ryder". The Independent. Archived from the original (Article (review)) on 25 September 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  25. ^ Macer, Richard (14 February 2004). "Straight but not great". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  26. ^ "That Sunday Night Show, episodes guide (season 1)". British Comedy Guide. British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  27. ^ "That Sunday Night Show, episodes, season 2". The British Comedy Guide. The British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  28. ^ "Stacey Solomon and Shaun Ryder to open NTAs". Bang Showbiz. The List Ltd. 26 January 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  29. ^ a b Simon Hattenstone (1 November 2013). "Shaun Ryder on UFOs: 'It's not that I want to believe – it's impossible not to'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  30. ^ Kate Mossman (17 April 2019). ""I look like Uncle Fester": the second life of Shaun Ryder". Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  31. ^ Shaw, Karen (23 March 2020). "Exclusive interview with Shaun Ryder » Northern Life". Northern Life Magazine. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  32. ^ Begley, Katie (24 February 2021). "Jason Manford teaches Shaun Ryder to be stand-up comic - with fiery results". mirror. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  33. ^ Begley, Katie (24 February 2021). "Jason Manford teaches Shaun Ryder to be stand-up comic - with fiery results". mirror. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  34. ^ Shaw, Karen (23 March 2020). "Exclusive interview with Shaun Ryder » Northern Life". Northern Life Magazine. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  35. ^ "My Pharmacist Humiliated Me When He Refused to Fill My Hormone Prescription". Human Rights Documents Online. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  36. ^ "1995". 10 October 2016. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  37. ^ Sarah Anderson (29 November 2017). "23 glorious years of NME's Godlike Genius Award". Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  38. ^ "Shaun Ryder winner of the John Peel Music Innovation Award for..." Retrieved 20 April 2019.


  • Middles, Mick (1997). Shaun Ryder – Happy Mondays, Black Grape & Other Traumas. Independent Music Press. ISBN 1-897783-11-6.
  • Verrico, Lisa (1998). High Life 'N' Low Down Dirty – The Thrills and Spills of Shaun Ryder. Ebury Press. ISBN 0-09-185419-9.
  • Middles, Mick (1998). Shaun Ryder... In His Own Words. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-6815-2.
  • Bez (1998). Freaky Dancin' – Me and the Mondays. Pan. ISBN 0-330-48197-5.
  • Haslam, Dave (1999). Manchester, England. 4th Estate. ISBN 1-84115-146-7.
  • Wilson, Tony (2002). 24 Hour Party People – What The Sleeve Notes Never Tell You. Channel 4 Books. ISBN 0-7522-2025-X.
  • Warburton, John & Ryder, Shaun (2003). Hallelujah!: The Extraordinary Story of Shaun Ryder and "Happy Mondays". Virgin Books. ISBN 1-4053-1031-6.
  • Ryder, Shaun (2011). Twisting my Melon- the Autobiography. FSC.

External links[edit]