Shaun Ryder

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Shaun Ryder (aka X) (born Shaun William Ryder on August 23, 1962, in Little Hulton, Salford, Greater Manchester) is an English singer and songwriter and an ex postman who became famous in the "Madchester" era band Happy Mondays. His lyrics, dismissed by some as drug induced gibberish, also received critical praise for their wit and musical fusion with the sound of the band. Ryder's struggle with drugs eventually led to the break up of the Mondays in 1992. The film "24 Hour Party People", starring Steve Coogan who played Tony Wilson, was loosely based on Shaun Ryder and the Happy Mondays while they were signed to Factory Records in the late eighties and early nineties.

Despite rumours of how his substance abuse had finally caught up with him, Ryder returned to the spotlight in 1995 with his new project, Black Grape, an immediate success whose first release - the ironically named "Its Great When You're Straight... Yeah" - topped the British album chart and spawned several hit singles. The follow up album did not reach the same critical nor commercial prosperity, and the group split in 1997.

He collaborated with Trigger and Jim on their 1999 comeback MC Hammer and Sickle.

Ryder wrote a column for the Daily Sport newspaper in which he would give his own take on current news events and celebrity goings-on. It was in this column that Ryder famously announced his intention to reform the Happy Mondays before even letting any fellow former members aware of this.

Ryder has taken part in two reformations of the Happy Mondays (1999-2000 and 2004-) and released a solo album to mixed critical acclaim named "Amateur Night At the Big Top" and suffered a litigation with former Black Grape management, a process which he eventually lost.

In 2004 The Mondays reunited to play a comeback gig called "Get Loaded In The Park" at 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 movie "Goal," which was released after Bez had appeared in & won "Celebrity Big Brother."

He was also the focus of a 2004 BBC documentary, entitled "Shaun Ryder: The Ecstasy and the Agony". 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-abused musician who was planning a major comeback tour in 1992.

In 2005, he collaborated with the Gorillaz on "DARE", a song on their Demon Days album. In the music video, he is featured largely as a disembodied head kept alive through a series of tubes, residing in animated band member Noodle's closet. It was stated by the commentator on the Brit Awards 2006 that the song's name came from Ryder's inability to pronounce the word "there."

Ryder also collaborated with Ex-Talking Heads Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymoth and Chris Frantz on their post David Byrne album No Talking, Just Head. He has also collaborated with Intastellar and appeared on Peter Kay's "Is This The Way to Amarillo?" charity music video.

Perhaps Ryder’s most unusual collaboration to date is his appearance on British tenor Russell Watson’s 2006 album The Ultimate Collection. Ryder lends his vocals to the Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé song "Barcelona".

In 1997, Ryder made two live appearances on Channel 4's pre-watershed show TFI Friday, in both of which he repeatedly used the word "fuck". This led to him being banned from ever appearing on a live Channel 4 programme regardless of what time of day it is; he is the only person to date to be specifically referred to by name in Channel 4's Compliance Manual, which states:

"Please note that the Channel 4 Board has undertaken to the Independent Television Commission that Shaun Ryder will not appear live on Channel 4."[1]

Shaun's ex-wife Oriole, with whom he has a daughter Coco, is the daughter of British folk singer Donovan.


  • NME Single Of The Year 1996 - Black Grape's "Reverend Black Grape"
  • Godlike Genius - NME Awards 2000
  • John Peel Music Innovation Award (for Gorillaz) - Shockwaves NME Awards 2006


  • "The chicks are always attracted to me enormous charisma." - Shaun in interview 1990
  • "Shit, is this mine? Did I puke on myself?" - Shaun Ryder 1991
  • "Look, pal, if you are gonna start using big words like 'perceive' you'd better start explaining what they mean." - X during an interview in 1992
  • "Drugs are what makes me the lyrical genius you see before you. Drugs did that. Any and all." - Shaun Ryder, 1994
  • "There´s a fucking price to be paid for everything" - Shaun Ryder in interview ca 2000


  1. Compliance Manual. Channel 4 pp. 108.


  • 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 and Ryder, Shaun (2003). Hallelujah!: The Extraordinary Story of Shaun Ryder and "Happy Mondays". Virgin Books. ISBN 1-4053-1031-6.

External links