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'
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
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'
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.