Adapted from wiki and the Jilted John website
Graham Fellows was an 18-year-old drama student at Manchester Polytechnic when he first came to prominence in August 1978 as the eponymous singer of the novelty record “Jilted John”, a first-person narrative of a boorish, bitter teenager with a thick Essex accent whose girlfriend Julie had left him for another man named Gordon, “just ’cause he’s better lookin’ than me, just ’cause he’s cool and trendy”. The song became known for the refrain “Gordon is a moron” repeated several times.
Fellows later said: “I’d written a couple of songs and I wanted to record them. So I went into a local record shop and asked if they knew any indie or punk labels. They said there were two, Stiff in London and Rabid just down the road. So I phoned Rabid up, and they told me to send in a demo. We did the demos with the late Colin Goddard – of Walter & the Softies – on guitar, and the drummer and bass player of the Smirks. I took it along to Rabid, who loved it … so we re-recorded it a few days later, at Pennine Studios, with John Scott playing guitar and bass and Martin Zero (aka Martin Hannett) producing.”
The single, issued by Rabid in April 1978 (TOSH 105), featured “Going Steady” as the A-side and “Jilted John” as the B-side.
However, Piccadilly Radio in Manchester began playing the flip, following which a couple more local independent radio stations also jumped on the bandwagon, leading to Rabid doing a quick bit of re-promotion. Sales were steady in the north-west of England which brought it to the attention of the NME initially via Tony Parsons declaring it as ‘Single of The Week’ and then local correspondent Paul Morley referencing it in a wider piece on the Manchester music scene. This all led to John Peel playing it on his show and seemingly making the comment that if the single was promoted by a major record label, then it would be a huge hit.
Cue EMI deciding to get on board, given it a wider release in August 1978. It ended up going all the way to #4 in the UK singles chart, which led to Jilted John and Gordon the Moron making three appearances on Top Of The Pops, which have been very cleverly pulled together in one clip:-
Come the end of the year, it proved to be the 29th biggest selling single of the year.
Two absolute banging tunes……..