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Digital Subscriptions > Classic Pop > Apr 2019 - Bananarama! > Writing his own luck

Writing his own luck

HOW DID A SCRUFFY SCHOOL DROPOUT FROM SALFORD WRITE SONGS THAT CAME TO DEFINE THE MADCHESTER ERA? AS FABER PUBLISHES A COLLECTION OF HIS LYRICS, SHAUN RYDER TELLS CLASSIC POP ABOUT HIS LIFE AS A WORDSMITH…
Former I’m A Celebrity contestant and UFO nut Shaun William Ryder (new teeth not pictured)
© Paul Husband

The late, great Tony Wilson was not a man who believed in understatement.

His take on Shaun William George Ryder, lead singer with Happy Mondays, was a case in point. Here, declared the boss of Factory Records loftily, was a Mancunian wordsmith worthy of comparison to one of Ireland’s greatest poets, WB Yeats.

“I didn’t know who Yeats was,” laughs Ryder today. “I had no idea and then, ‘Oh, he’s a poet and he’s fantastic.’ ‘Oh nice one, Tony, thanks.’ He didn’t compare me to a drug-addled twat living in a box under the fucking motorway, so I took the compliment.”

As a new collection of Ryder’s lyrics, Wrote For Luck, makes clear, Wilson wasn’t being entirely fanciful. Focusing on Ryder’s lyrics from the late 1980s to the 1990s – from the Mondays’ debut, Squirrel And G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out) through peak Madchester and the messy comedown, and onwards to his work with Black Grape – it’s a reminder that Ryder is one of our foremost songwriters, a storyteller whose tall tales, which so often turn out to be based on hedonistic experience, have an immediacy that makes them jump off the page.

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About Classic Pop

Issue 51 of Classic Pop is on sale now! This month, we have an exclusive interview with Bananarama's Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward as they return with their first new studio album in a decade. We also meet iconic duo Hall & Oates before their UK arena tour and talk to Gary Numan as part of our look into the superfan phenomenon. Classic Pop pays tribute to the wonderful Mark Hollis from Talk Talk and we celebrate the band's iconic Spirit Of Eden in our latest Classic Album feature. Squeeze's Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford take us inside their spiky songwriting partnership and we also hear from Happy Mondays frontman Shaun Ryder about his life as a one-of-a-kind wordsmith. Our packed new album reviews section includes Bananarama, Edwyn Collins, Toyah, Andy Bell and The Chemical Brothers. On the reissues front, we revisit New Order's debut album Movement plus re-releases from Prince, Kate Bush, R.E.M, David Bowie and more. In our live reviews section, we elbow our way down to the front for Tears For Fears, The Revolution, Holy Holy and Bryan Adams. Enjoy the issue!