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Shaun William George Ryder (born 23 August 1962) is an English singer, songwriter, television personality and author. As the lead singer of the Happy Mondays he was a leading figure in the Madchester cultural scene in the late 1980s.[1] In 1993 he formed another band, Black Grape, with Happy Mondays dancer Bez.

Shaun Ryder
Ryder performing in April 2007
Background information
Birth nameShaun William George Ryder
Also known asX
Born (1962-08-23) 23 August 1962 (age 56)
Little Hulton, Salford, Lancashire, England
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • author
  • television personality
  • Vocals
  • saxophone
  • guitar
  • piano
  • bass
Years active1980–present
Associated acts

Ryder was the runner-up of the tenth series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!.[2]

The film 24 Hour Party People featured the story of Ryder's youth.


Early lifeEdit

Ryder was born in Little Hulton, Salford, Lancashire (now Greater Manchester), on 23 August 1962.[3] He left school to work on a building site by the age of 13, later stating, "It was a different world in Manchester back then. Dinner time was watching strippers in the pub. Bernard Manning would come in and tell some jokes."[4] He claims to have seen a UFO for the first time in 1978.[4]

Musical careerEdit

Happy MondaysEdit

As the singer for Happy Mondays, Ryder was known for "often witty lyrics".[5] Tony Wilson compared Ryder's lyrics to the work of W.B. Yeats.[5][6] Ryder's struggle with drugs led to the break-up of Happy Mondays in 1992. The film 24 Hour Party People featured the (semi-fictional) story of Shaun Ryder's youth and the life of Happy Mondays whilst signed with Factory Records in the late '80s and early '90s. In the film Ryder is portrayed by Danny Cunningham.

Ryder has taken part in two reformations of Happy Mondays (1999–2000 and 2004–present) and released a solo album, Amateur Night in the Big Top, to a mixed critical reception. He was involved in litigation with former Black Grape management,[7] which he eventually lost.

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 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.[8] 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 the only original members being Bez, Shaun Ryder and Gaz Whelan. Two years later they released the single "Playground Superstar", used in the football film Goal, which was released after Bez had won Celebrity Big Brother.[9]

In 2007, Happy Mondays produced another album, Uncle Dysfunktional.[10] In 2009 he made a cameo appearance (Ryder later revealed that it was also a non-speaking role) as himself in Channel 4 drama Shameless.[11]

Black GrapeEdit

Ryder returned to the spotlight in 1995 with his new project, Black Grape,[12] an immediate short-term success whose first release, It's Great When You're Straight... Yeah, topped the British album chart for a week.[13] However, the follow-up album, Stupid Stupid Stupid, did not achieve the same critical or commercial success, and the group split in 1998. The group reformed briefly in 2010, and released a single in 2015. On 4 August 2017, the group released Pop Voodoo, their first full album since 1997.

Musical collaborationsEdit

Ryder collaborated with Intastella in 1993.

In 1996, he collaborated with Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz on No Talking, Just Head.

Ryder 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".[14] Watson claimed on Never Mind the Buzzcocks that he recorded some of Ryder's vocals himself.

In 2004, Ryder landed the job of a voice actor in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in which he played Maccer, a washed-up, self-abusing musician who was planning a major comeback tour in 1992.[15]

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. In the music video, he is featured as a large disembodied head kept alive through a series of tubes and electronic wires, living in animated band member Noodle's closet.[16] 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".[17]

In November 2011, he 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. He played on "Tuxedo Junction" by Glenn Miller after six weeks' tuition by jazz musician Soweto Kinch.


In 2010, he supported The Charlatans on a UK tour, as well as one off headline show at the Assembly, Leamington Spa.

Other workEdit


Ryder wrote a column for the Daily Sport, in which he commented on current events and celebrities.[18] It was in this column that Ryder announced his intention to reform Happy Mondays before even making any fellow former members aware of this. He would state the height of a famous person, instead of their age, as is standard in the media (i.e. "Jeremy Irons [6'2"]", instead of "Jeremy Irons [64]").[citation needed]

In 2011, he published his autobiography, Twisting My Melon.[19][20] It was optioned by Granada Television and writer Danny Brocklehurst has been enlisted to write the screenplay.


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,[21] and again on the second series in September 2011.[22]

He collaborated with fellow I'm a Celebrity contestant Stacey Solomon at the 2011 National Television Awards.[23]

In 2013, Ryder hosted the television show Shaun Ryder on UFOs on The History Channel UK.[24] Ryder reveals a lifelong interest in UFOs and that he has personally encountered space aliens, stating, "It's not that I want to believe – it's impossible not to."[24]

Since 2015, Ryder has appeared four times on the panel of RT UK's News Thing.[citation needed]

In October 2017, Ryder appeared on Celebrity Juice as a member of Fearne Cotton's team.

In February 2018 Ryder starred in ITVs unique experiment '100 years younger in 21 days' along with seven other well-known British celebrities.

In October 2016, Ryder appeared on Would I Lie to You?

In December 2018, Ryder appeared on Celebrity Mastermind, specialist subject was Manchester.

Personal lifeEdit

Ryder has six children. For some time, he was addicted to heroin, saying he overcame it by taking up cycling: "I'd get on my bike very early in the morning and keep cycling until very late at night, day after day, until it was out of the system. I was pedalling from 8am until 11pm. But once that's done, you still have to deal with the mental stuff."[4]

Financial problems 1998 to 2010Edit

For 12 years, Ryder discovered any income he earned would go to receivers, because "they’d come for my publishing rights". "They" were an older husband-and-wife management team, William and Gloria Nicholl. In 1993, the Nicholls had drawn up a contract binding Ryder to them and setting out details of the commission they would make from his releases with Black Grape. Ryder did not bother to read those details. When Ryder later realised how much money he had lost in commission, he sacked the pair; subsequently they sued him for £160,000. For years, every penny of his £30,000 a year Daily Sport column, ghosted by John Warburton, went to the receivers and tax lawyers. The 2010 stint on I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, and a £130,000 book deal, financed Ryder out of the Nicholls contract. Subsequently Gloria Nicholl became a conveyor worker at Tesco.[25]


Happy Mondays

Black Grape



  • 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. ^ "Madchester remembered: 'There was amazing creative energy in Manchester at the time' | Music | The Guardian".
  2. ^ "Shaun Ryder marks 'I'm A Celebrity...' exit by announcing UK gigs" (News article). NME. IPC MEDIA. 7 December 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  3. ^ Michael Sutton. "Shaun Ryder Biography". All Music Guide. Rogue Digital, LLC. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  4. ^ a b c Jonze, Tim (1 July 2017). "Shaun Ryder: 'It was cycling that got me off drugs'". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Shaun Ryder's Top 10 Craziest Moments". 3 March 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  6. ^ "Shaun Ryder's lyrical confusion" (News article). The Independent. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  7. ^ "Interview: Shaun Ryder*1". Big Issue in the North. expletive undeleted. July 2003. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "Interview: Shaun Ryder*2". City Life. expletive undeleted. November 2005. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  10. ^ "Never Mind The Dysfunktional Uncle... Here's the Happy Mondays". The Salford Star. The Salford Star. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  11. ^ "Shaun Ryder to make cameo appearance in 'Shameless' tonight (February 10)". NME. IPC MEDIA. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  12. ^ "Happy Mondays". The Guardian home. Guardian News and Media Limited. 13 August 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  13. ^ "Shaun Ryder". Star Pulse. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  14. ^ "HAPPY MONDAYS – celebrating the baggy kings of Madchester". Pride of Manchester. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  15. ^ "Shaun Ryder". Artist. Ltd. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Wright, Lisa (28 May 2015). "Gorillaz' 'Demon Days': Shaun Ryder Tells The Real Story Behind 'DARE'". Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  18. ^ "Shaun Ryder solo show, career spanning set for FAC 251" (News article). Clash Music News. 15 March 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ Steve Jelbert (18 September 2011). "Twisting My Melon: The Autobiography, By Shaun Ryder" (Article (review)). The Independent. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  21. ^ "That Sunday Night Show, episodes guide (season 1)". British Comedy Guide. British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  22. ^ "That Sunday Night Show, episodes, season 2". The British Comedy Guide. The British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  23. ^ "Stacey Solomon and Shaun Ryder to open NTAs". Bang Showbiz. The List Ltd. 26 January 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ Kate Mossman (17 April 2019). ""I look like Uncle Fester": the second life of Shaun Ryder". Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  26. ^ "1995". 10 October 2016. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  27. ^ Sarah Anderson (29 November 2017). "23 glorious years of NME's Godlike Genius Award". Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  28. ^ "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 linksEdit