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Mike Harding
Pride of Manchester's guide to...  
MIKE HARDING
born in Crumpsall, in 1944
Biggest Songs...
Rochdale Cowboy - UK no.22 (Aug 1975)
My Brother Sylveste  
Talking Blackpool Blues  
 
 
 
 
Pride Of Manchester's Guide to Manchester Music
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Mike Harding
Mike Harding was born in Crumpsall, Manchester in 1944, into a working-class Irish-Catholic family. Tragically, his father was killed returning from a bombing mission with the Lancaster Bombers just 4 weeks before Mike was born, an event which inspired the song "Bombers' Moon".

Much of the inspiration for Mike's writing, poetry and songs comes from his early years growing up in post-war Manchester. Playing in Skiffle and Rock bands in the 60's, Mike also shared the bill with The Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Hollies, and Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders. Despite not releasing any new musical material since 1994, Mike still plays regularly in Manchester's Irish pubs.

In 1967, during a gig at Leeds University, Mike began to tell jokes to fill in the awkward pauses while the band tuned up. The brilliant reaction resulted in this becoming a regular part of his act and when the jokes dried up he delved into his store of real-life stories for which he has also become famous.

In 1972, his "A Lancashire Lad" album mixed his comedy and musical prowess, setting the scene for the 1974 follow-up, "Mrs 'Ardin's Kid Rubber" which produced the singles, "The Rochdale Cowboy", (a title which has also earned Mike the same nickname), and "My Brother Sylvester".

in 1976, Mike wrote his first comedy book, 'Napoleans Retreat From Wigan' setting the scene superbly for his next album; "One Man Show" (1976) which was followed by "Old Four Eyes is Back" (1977), and the brilliantly-titled, "Captain Paralytic & The Brown Ale Cowboys" (1978). In 1977 he also released the single, "Christmas 1914" ('77). a tear-jerking song that relived the famous World War I Christmas Day No-Man's Land football game.

1979 was a productive year for the brilliant Mancunian performer; "On The Touchline", another comedy album, was followed by "Komic Kutz". and "Disco Vampire" ('79), a comedy single. His book, 'The Unluckiest Man In The World & Other Similar Disasters' continued his comic writing skills whilst 'The Singing Street' was his first book of poetry.

Mike released further comic writings including 1980's 'The 14 1/2 lb Budgie', and 1981's brilliant 'Armchair Anarchist's Almanac', which is an absolute-must for any comic quotation freak. He also tried his hand at children's literature with 'Up the Boo Aye Shooting Pookakies'.

1981's "The Red Specs Album" and '82's "Take Your Fingers Off It!" followed with 1983 producing the comedy albums "Rooted!" and "Flat Dogs and Shaky Pudden". On the writing front Mike released the comic scribblings of 'Killer Budgies' ('83) and the 1984 UK Number 1 best-seller 'When The Martians Land in Huddersfield'.

He also took to play-writing during this period with the brilliant "Fur Coat & No Knickers", "Not With A Bang" and "Last Tango In Whitby".

The 1984 "Bombers Moon" album indicated a change to a more-serious musical approach, like so many other Manchester artists of the time taking a swipe at Margaret Thatcher's London-based Conservative government. The album's title track was dedicated to his father.

1985 saw a return to his comedy with the book 'You Can See The Angel's Bum, Miss Worswick' and his comical music albums "Roll Over Cecil Sharpe", and "Foo Foo Shufflewick & Her Exotic Banana" (1986). The 1988 book, 'Cooking One's Corgi' proved that 10 years after his debut, Mike Harding had not lost any of his humour despite taking a more serious approach with his superb 'Walking In The Dales', 'Footloose In The west Of Ireland' and 'Walking In The Peak & Pennines' books.

Mike's second 'serious' album, "Plutonium Alley" was released in 1989. A superb album with many historic tales to tell, it also included the 1977 single "Christmas 1914".

Mike has since released the comic albums "God's Own Drunk" ('89), "Chinese Takeaway Blues" ('92) and "The Bubbly Snot Monster" ('94) as well as his second book of poetry, 'Daddy Edgar's Pools'. He has also written the hilarious 'Hypnotising the Cat', 'The Virgin of the Discos', a collection of short stories, 'Buns For the Elephants', his second children's book (all 1995) and his 'Footloose In The Himalaya', travel book.

His 1997 book of poetry, 'Crystal Set Dreams', was followed by 1998's 'Comfort & Joy' before Mike took to researching and exploring the myth of The Green Man, the character represented by gargoyles in churches World-wide. He has released a whole collection of books related to the subject as a result.

Despite his success as comedian, musician, photographer, novelist, play-writer, broadcaster, and travel-writer however, he has so far unfilled his ambitions to be a film star. In true Mike Harding style, he would like to appear in Coronation Street as the natural son of Albert Tatlock the outcome of a night of passion between the whiskered lollipop man and a lady air raid warden during the Salford Blitz.

 
 
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