A Manchester-born actor and musician, Graham shot to fame in August 1978
while he was studying drama
at Sheffield Polytechnic
with the song 'Jilted John
' (under the name of... Jilted John) about a boy who faces the frustration of his girlfriend
suddenly going out with somebody else, namely Gordon who is, we are told, a moron.
Noted as being one of the more memorable records to come out of the Manchester New-Wave scene, it reached number four in the UK pop charts and a whole album was made along with the less successful follow-up singles. The album, 'True Love Stories', was an aural soap opera charting the hapless John's failure in love affairs, making it probably the first and only punk concept album.
At the time, Graham said that his ambition was to act in the long-running British soap-opera Coronation Street and, four months after the release of his single, his wish was (partially) fulfilled playing a bit part as a guy who chatted up Gail Potter while she waited for Brian Tilsley outside a cinema. He appeared on The Street again in 1982 for a little less than a month as Les Charlton and remains the only actor to have had a top ten hit before arriving appearing on Coronation Street, while many have gone on to have recording careers after or during their soap-acting careers. ("Ah!", you might say, "What about Keith Duffy off of Boyzone? He's in Corry now." Well, okay, yes. So that sentence has gone out of date since the latter part of 2002)
His acting career has also seen him appear in the 1985 film Morons From Outer Space and alongside Steven Mackintosh and Rupert Graves in Different For Girls (a brilliant film, even though his part was cut from the final film). He is, however, best known for his comic character creations John Shuttleworth and Brian Appleton, both of which are still heavily grounded in composing silly, whimsical songs, John being the past master of the Yamaha electronic organ and Brian favouring the accoustic guitar.
He's also undergone several UK stand-up tours under the guises of both John and Brian giving him more the title of character comedian on a par with Steve Coogan than actor, although he'll always prefer the latter.