John Cooper-Clarke was born in Salford on 25th January 1949.
As a teenager he trained as a printer by day and performed his poetry by night at folk clubs in and around Manchester. Later he did the odd nightclub gig.
lt was at Manchesters "Explosion Club" when sharing the stage with Chorlton heavies The Grit Band that he met lead singer Brian Marks [Harpo]. They hung around together for a while often at a favourite haunt "The Sir Ralph Abercrombie" pub on Bootle Street, Manchester where Johnny tried out his new material on Brian, often ending up with the two crying into their beer with laughter.
"The peasant bared his buttocks to the ageing whore and said beat that"
He even took Brian back to Salford to meet his dad. Johnny was obsessed with words and every conversation invariably turned to poetry.
ln the 70s Johnny began performing with Manchester acts like The Buzzcocks, Jilted John and Ed Banger and Joy Division. He became huge on the punk circuit. ln 1980 he fronted his own band The lnvisible Girls and toured with Durrutti Column promoting his album "Snap Crackle and Bop".
Most of the 1980's were spent on a sabbatical but Johnny returned with renewed vigour in the early 90's with more pub and club gigs also film and book projects and his documentary for "Channel 4" titled Ten Years ln An Open Necked Shirt.
He now lives in Colchester. Still doing live performances around the UK including the odd tour with offbeat Manchester band The Fall .
John Cooper-Clarkes poetry is now part of the National curriculum.........
"Johnny Clarke was a close friend of Terry Irvine, bass player of the Good-Guys (1984/5). I recall him being quite an eccentric even in those days. He would come to gigs and his mannerisms would make him a centre of attraction. When not gigging, Johnny would come with us into town, usually on a Saturday Night to watch bands and eat/drink always in our best suits, as Terry was the smartest dresser in the universe !!!
Living in Prestwich I last saw Johnny around 10 years ago. He is still around and out and about."
Hadge ( ex Santa Fe Reunion/ Good-Guys, etc )
I knew Johnny Clarke in 1963 when I lived at 9 Gordon St, Lower Broughton,Salford. Johnny was always at our house for 2 reasons.
1) He had the hots for Kay Hughes who lived at number 11.
2) He was in a rival band whose name escapes me (due to age).
Can remember the drummer in his band was Dennis Walkden, nicknamed Woggy, and the lead guitarist was called Mike who lived near Murray St.
I was 14 year old drummer in group called The Beat League. Lead guitar-Judd Williams,rhythm guitar-Ernie Avalon,lead singer-Gordon ? replaced by Dave Baldwin and bass guitar-Terry Irvine(Good Guys - 1984/1985).
Yes, Terry was fastidious about his snappy dressing clothes even then. Terry's sister Madelaine,Delene for short, was Judd's girlfriend at the time.
Remember that Tery's cousin,think his name was Brian Renshaw was drummer in a brilliant Manchester band at the time, called The Con Brios (further info would be appreciated).
To say that Johnny was eccentric is an understatement.He invented the word. Had many an happy hour in Johnny's company and my mam and dad were always crying laughing at his style of raconteur.He could certainly tell a tale.
A genuinely funny,typical Salfordian.
What a guy. Somebody I will remember to my dying day and somebody I was glad to call a true mate
(Salfordian but now residing in Rochdale since 1970)
On the right as you look at it is Mike Cawley. Mike was lead guitarist in a Salford group, the name of which evades us all due to passing of time. Maybe age as well. Johnny was bass guitarist in Mike's group.
Second to the right is Terry Irvine, the man himself, bass guitar with the BeatLeague and cartoonist/artist exraordinaire. Terry was one hell of a snappy dresser. The photo proves that.
Second left in the snazzy check jacket is Terry's cousin, Dave Redshaw. Dave was never in groups but was always knocking about with us. Dave's brother is Brian Redshaw who was drummer in that amazingly talented Salford group, The Con Brios. If the Con Brios had stuck together, they would have made it big time. They really were better than any local Salford/Manchester groups who became well known world wide during the '60s boom.
On the left is Mr John Cooper-Clarke himself. This photo pre dates his rise to national fame. When the photo was taken, he was plain old Johnny Clark the Salford lad we all knew and loved as a good mate.