Mike Harding

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Mike Harding
Mike Harding (1119941546).jpg
Background information
Born(1944-10-23) 23 October 1944 (age 69)
Crumpsall, Manchester, Lancashire, England, UK[1]
GenresFolk music
Easy listening
OccupationsSinger, songwriter, author, poet, broadcaster
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, piano, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, concertina, harmonica, hammer dulcimer, autoharp, cittern, tin whistle
Years active1965–present
LabelsRubber Records
Philips Records
Moonraker Records
WebsiteOfficial website
 
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Mike Harding
Mike Harding (1119941546).jpg
Background information
Born(1944-10-23) 23 October 1944 (age 69)
Crumpsall, Manchester, Lancashire, England, UK[1]
GenresFolk music
Easy listening
OccupationsSinger, songwriter, author, poet, broadcaster
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, piano, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, concertina, harmonica, hammer dulcimer, autoharp, cittern, tin whistle
Years active1965–present
LabelsRubber Records
Philips Records
Moonraker Records
WebsiteOfficial website

Mike Harding (born 23 October 1944) is an English singer, songwriter, comedian, author, poet, broadcaster and multi-instrumentalist. He is known as 'The Rochdale Cowboy' after one of his hit records. In addition, at various times of his life, Harding has been a stand-up comic, photographer, traveller, filmmaker, playwright and musician.

Biography[edit]

Harding's father, Louis Arthur "Curly" Harding, was a navigator in the RAF.[2][3] who was killed during World War II, a few weeks before his son's birth.[4] Harding is of Irish ancestry on his mother's side.[5]

He was educated at St Anne's, Crumpsall, and St Bede's, Manchester. After a varied career as a road digger, dustbin man, schoolteacher, steel erector, bus conductor, boiler scaler and chemical factory worker, he took a degree in English and Education at the University of Manchester.[4][6]

Harding began performing as a folk singer and as a member of several local Manchester bands in the 1960s, making his first recordings for the Topic label. He began telling jokes between songs, eventually extending them into longer humorous anecdotes which became the main focus of his act. He released his first album, A Lancashire Lad, in 1972, followed by Mrs 'Ardin's Kid in 1974. In 1975, the single release of "The Rochdale Cowboy", reached number 22 in the UK Singles Chart, brought him national attention.[4][7]

As a stand-up comic he made several series for the BBC and appeared on numerous TV and radio programmes, including two series of travel films in Ireland and the Appalachian Mountains of America. He also played rock and roll with his band, the Stylos, with the Lowe Brothers. He has had many albums and singles released, whilst the latter included "Man 'nited Song". As well as comedy, he has released albums of serious songs, most notably Bombers' Moon, the title track of which tells of his father's death.[4] The album also contains "The Accrington Pals" and cover versions of Bruce Springsteen's "Factory" and Eric Bogle's "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda".

Harding composed the music scores for DangerMouse, Count Duckula (he also sang the main and end titles with Manchester native Doreen Edwards), The Reluctant Dragon and The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship for Cosgrove Hall.

As well as being an acclaimed musician and comedian, he wrote The Armchair Anarchist's Almanac, a humorous A-Z book; two collections of anecdotes, jokes and songs entitled The Unluckiest Man in the World and The 14½ Pound Budgie; and a comedy/thriller/fantasy, Killer Budgies. His other books include a series covering aspects of his interest in British folklore and history – The Little Book of the Green Man, The Little Book of Stained Glass, The Little Book of Gargoyles, and The Little Book of Misericords; and the loosely factual autobiography, You Can See the Angel's Bum, Miss Worswick! He has also read two of his short stories for Afternoon Story on BBC Radio 4.[6] In 1986 Harding wrote the foreword to Barry Pilton's book, One Man and His Bog.

He more recently made a series of fourteen short films on minority religions in England for the BBC's Heaven and Earth show. Since 2000 Harding has presented the annual BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, and from 1997 to 2012 he presented the weekly BBC Radio 2 flagship folk and roots programme, The Mike Harding Show.[8] His last show was on 26 December 2012. In 2013 Harding launched his own internet radio show, broadcast at 5pm every Sunday and available as a podcast and on iTunes afterwards.[9]

Harding is a dedicated hillwalker and a former president, and now life vice-president of the Ramblers' Association.[5] He wrote, until a new format was sought for the magazine in 2008, a regular column for hiking magazine The Great Outdoors and campaigned for 'Right to Roam' legislation in the UK.

He is one of the patrons of the Wensleydale Railway, a group set up to re-open the once mainly derelict line between Northallerton and Garsdale in Yorkshire, near where he now lives.[1]

He is also the patron of Settle Stories, a charity based in Settle, North Yorkshire, that promotes traditional storytelling and runs the annual Settle Storytelling Festival.[10]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

[7]

Singles[edit]

[7]

Other recordings[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

Awards[edit]

[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "database – accessed March 2009". Imdb.com. 23 October 1944. Retrieved 6 July 2009. 
  2. ^ Mike Harding official website – Bomber's Moon info, retrieved 19 September 2009[dead link]
  3. ^ Commonwealth War Graves Commission entry for Louis Arthur Harding, retrieved 19 September 2009
  4. ^ a b c d "Biography by Steven McDonald". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 18 March 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "accessed March 2009". Mikeharding.co.uk. Retrieved 6 July 2009. [dead link]
  6. ^ a b c "Radio 2: Mike Harding". BBC. 6 May 2009. Retrieved 6 July 2009. 
  7. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 243. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  8. ^ Plunkett, John (17 October 2012). "BBC Radio 2 folk DJ Mike Harding hits out at boss after sacking". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 17 October 2012. 
  9. ^ "The Mike Harding Folk Show". Retrieved date=14 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "New high profile patron for Settle Stories : Cumbria Crack: News for Penrith, Eden Valley, Keswick, Workington, Whitehaven, Maryport, Barrow, Kendal, Carlisle, Lake District & Cumbria". Cumbria Crack. 4 October 2011. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 

External links[edit]