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The Very Best Of

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Album Review

Maybe John Cooper Clarke's brief window of fame passed with the demise of punk. But his poems are every bit as arch and funny now as they were in the '70s. There are sly wordplay, groaning puns, and also plenty of strong social observation. He essentially took the ethos of the Liverpool poets of the '60s, using common language and bringing in lots of humor, but made his mark through speech, not print. This collection, cherry-picked from his major-label work, is an absolute joy. Backed by the relatively all-star Invisible Girls (which included Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks), the Bard of Salford deadpans his way through the epic "Psycle Sluts (Parts 1 & 2)," "The Day My Pad Went Mad," and the piece that really gave him his first big exposure, "I Married a Monster From Outer Space." But in "Beasley Street" and "Postwar Glamour Girls" there's a more serious undercurrent happening, while "Kung Fu International," for all its lightheartedness, shows that little has changed in English street violence, and "Twat" remains as deliberately outrageous and hilarious as it was on its initial release. Culled from the four albums Cooper Clarke did for Epic, it shows that what was good then is still good. The world needs a Cooper Clarke for the new millennium.


Born: 25 January 1949 in Salford, Manchester, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Punk poet John Cooper Clarke was born January 25, 1949 in Manchester, England; he first began performing his verse backed by a local folk group called the Ferrets, but in 1977 signed to the Rabid Records label to release the Martin Hannett-produced single "Psycle Sluts." With his rapid-fire verbal delivery and stinging social commentary, Clarke quickly emerged as the poet laureate of the punk movement, and he read his work as an opening act for groups including the Sex Pistols and the Buzzcocks;...
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The Very Best Of, John Cooper Clarke
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