John Cooper Clarke awarded Freedom Of Salford

John Cooper Clarke has been awarded the freedom of the city of Salford.

The legendary punk poet said he was “totally knocked out” by the honour, telling local councillors: “I’ve circumnavigated the globe ten times and coming back is always a treat but this one. Wow. Thank you everyone.

“With me it was never a social experiment it was just a way of making a living and the social consequences went out of my control.”


Despite the honour, Clarke admitted that he “doesn’t know what it entitles me to do”.

We welcomed the legendary John Cooper Clarke to the club yesterday – huge congratulations to him on being awarded…

Posted by Salford Lads’ Club on Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Earlier this year, Clarke spoke about his poem, I Wanna Be Yours, becoming a worldwide hit after the Arctic Monkeys‘ song adaptation of it has pushed listening into the billions.

The punk poet’s 1982 creation, which featured on his album ‘Zip Style Method’, was covered by the Monkeys for their 2013 album ‘AM‘. It’s since found a new audience on TikTok and has passed a billion streams on Spotify.

He told The Guardian in response to news of its billionth stream: “Is that a lot? An American billion is different to a British billion – and I don’t know what either of them is. But it’s a fuck of a lot of listens.”

He added: “I believe everyone’s written a poem at some point. It’s the easiest, most accessible – a pen and a piece of paper and off you go. You don’t even have to be literate – you could record something. But it’s perceived as a minority of a minority who are interested in poetry. I don’t know why it’s got that reputation. Songs aren’t that far from poetry – as Alex [Turner] has pointed out.”


Clarke released his autobiography, also titled I Wanna Be Yours, in 2021.