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Black Grape

blackgrapeBritpop wasn’t just about the vanguard of brand new bands sounking forth from Camden’s Good Mixer pub. It was also about older acts tweaking their sound to hop on the gravy train – hence Teenage FanclubJamesThe Charlatans and many more enjoyed a career-topping second wind.

One of the most surprising comebacks was that of Shaun Ryder, whose Happy Mondays had collapsed in a drug-fuelled stupor at the fag end of Madchester madness.

Returning as frontman of Black Grape, he was bouncing back to form, baiting organised religion and spouting brilliantly mad lines like “You do nothing but socialise/And become a menace/Put on your Reeboks man/And go play funky tennis”.

Black Grape’s formula was essentially the same as Happy Mondays: Ryder’s Mancunian spaceman poetry over funk-influenced grooves, but here with the addition of rappers Kermit and Psycho.

Their career burned out quickly, but the cheekily titled It’s Great When You’re Straight . . . Yeah album remains one of Britpop‘s best. And in Ryder’s two expletive-filled TFI Friday appearances, he gave us two of the best bits of Britpop-era TV too.

Shaun Ryder 

Paul ‘Kermit’ Leveredge 


Craig Gannon 

Jed Lynch