John Harris (critic)

John Rhys Harris (born 1969) is a British journalist, writer and critic. He is the author of The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock (2003); So Now Who Do We Vote For?, which examined the 2005 UK general election; a 2006 behind-the-scenes look at the production of Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon; and Hail! Hail! Rock'n'Roll (2009). His articles have appeared in Select, Q, Mojo, Shindig!, Rolling Stone, Classic Rock, The Independent, the New Statesman, The Times and The Guardian.

Early lifeEdit

Harris was raised in Wilmslow in north Cheshire, his father was a university lecturer in nuclear engineering[1] and his mother a teacher who was the daughter of a nuclear research chemist. He became fixated by pop music at an early age.

He attended the comprehensive Wilmslow County High School (at the same time as members of the band Doves[2]), then went to Loreto College, Manchester, a Roman Catholic sixth form college between the University of Manchester and Old Trafford.[3] He applied to study Modern History at Keble College, Oxford, but was rejected, and claimed his membership of left-wing organisations had not won him many favours with such a traditional and conservative college.[3] He spent three years studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics at another Oxford college, Queen's, between 1989 and 1992.

Media careerEdit

In 1991, Harris joined Melody Maker. Between 1993 and the summer of 1995, he wrote for the NME. In 1995, he was named editor of Select magazine after a brief stint with Q.

In 1995, Harris resumed his career as a freelance writer, writing about pop music, politics and a variety of other subjects. His articles have appeared in Q, Mojo, Rolling Stone, The Independent, the New Statesman, The Times and The Guardian.

He believes Britpop was a shining moment for the UK's music industry, and possibly the end of an era, with (manufactured)[clarification needed] music now deliberately catering for the lowest common denominator. He presented a BBC Four documentary on the musical movement, The Britpop Story.

In addition to writing, Harris often appears on television programmes concerned with late-'80s/early-'90s British pop music, as well as being a regular pundit on BBC Two's Newsnight Review. In December 2018 Harris wrote and presented a four-part BBC Radio 4 series, Tyranny of Story. In 2010 he created the video series Anywhere but Westminster[4] for The Guardian, documenting the political feelings of people around the country.

Personal lifeEdit

He lives in Frome, Somerset.[5] Harris has been an ethical vegetarian since the mid-1980s.[6]


  • The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock was published in May 2003, by Fourth Estate. The following year this was re-released as Britpop: Cool Britania and the Spectacular Demise of English Rock by Da Capo Press.
  • So Now Who Do We Vote For? examined the 2005 UK general election, 2005, by John Faber.[7]
  • The Dark Side of the Moon: The Making of the Pink Floyd Masterpiece
  • Hail! Hail! Rock'n'Roll: The Ultimate Guide to the Music, the Myths and the Madness was published in October 2009, by Sphere.


  1. ^ Harris, John (7 October 2005). "John Harris: A nuclear family history". The Guardian.
  2. ^ Harris, John (5 November 2000). "A cheerful use of misery and adversity". Independent.
  3. ^ a b Harris, John (27 May 2000). "He glanced at my CV, then muttered: 'I don't think you'd be happy at Keble'". Independent. Archived from the original on 23 December 2010.
  4. ^ "Anywhere but Westminster". The Guardian.
  5. ^ Harris, John (5 May 2019). "Don't look to national politics for hope: you'll find it thriving in local councils | John Harris". The Guardian (in British English). ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  6. ^ Harris, John (17 February 2013). "No more excuses. The only defensible option is to go vegetarian". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 7 October 2014. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  7. ^ Bragg, Billy (22 January 2005). "Nowhere else to go?". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Limited.

External linksEdit