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Half Man Half Biscuit, often "HMHB", is a UKmarker rock band from Birkenheadmarker, active since the mid-1980s, known for satirical, sardonic, and sometimes surreal songs. The group is Nigel Blackwell (lead vocals, guitar), Neil Crossley (bass), Ken Hancock (lead guitar), and Carl Henry (drums). Throughout their career they have been signed to Probe Plus records.


The band was formed in 1984 by Nigel Blackwell (vocals, guitar), his brother Simon (guitar), Neil Crossley (bass, vocals), David Lloyd (keyboards), and Paul Wright (drums). Simon Blackwell and Wright had previously been members of the band Attempted Moustache. Their debut album, 1985's Back in the DHSS topped the UK Indie Chart and reached number 60 in the UK Album Chart. The band's first single, "The Trumpton Riots", topped the British independent chart in 1986, and they went on to perform at Glastonbury Festivalmarker. They were post-punk, similar to Josef K or The Fall. The second single, "Dickie Davies Eyes", also topped the indie chart. In late 1986, the band split up, with a collection of radio sessions and unreleased tracks following. The band reformed in 1990, with a performance at the Reading Festival following, and a new single, "Let's Not" issued before the year was out, followed in 1991 by a collaboration with Margi Clarke on a version of Edith Piaf's "No Regrets". The third album was McIntyre, Treadmore And Davitt, released in October 1991. By the time This Leaden Pall was released in 1993, Wright and Lloyd had left the band, with Carl Alty joining on drums. Simon Blackwell left the following year, with Ian Jackson joining. Jackson and Alty departed in 1996, to be replaced by Ken Hancock (guitar) and Carl Henry (drums), this line-up remaining to this day. Since reforming, the band have produced an album every two or three years.

Half Man Half Biscuit were championed by DJ John Peel, for whom they recorded 12 sessions and it was on his programme in 1990 that the band announced their return.

References to Half Man Half Biscuit can be found on episodes of Brookside, Hollyoaks and Byker Grove, as well as an episode of Football Focus.

The band played live more infrequently. Half Man Half Biscuit turned down the chance to appear on The Tube, as Tranmere Rovers were playing that night, even though Channel Four offered to fly them by helicopter to the game.

The band's styles parody popular genres, while their lyrics allude to UK popular culture and geography (Blackwell often refers to North Walesmarker, often in the context of hillwalking in Snowdoniamarker; he also appears fond of Shropshiremarker, East Angliamarker and Oxfordshire) and British or international football. Sylvia Plath, Thomas Hardy, and the Bible are referenced in his lyrics.

As the nineties progressed Blackwell's love of blues and folk became more apparent. In 2002 Andy Kershaw dubbed them "the most authentic English folk group since the Clash". Bassist Crossley's tastes include late-70s/early-80s new wave or post-punk bands, and HMHB have performed covers of Joy Division, Tim Buckley, The Beach Boys and Tiffany.

Blackwell has also referred to fictional bands who appear on the sleeves of HMHB records and in songs - an essay on "Evil Gazebo" (and that band's relationship to "Pankhurst") appears on the liner of Trouble Over Bridgwater and both bands are mentioned in some of that album's songs. Assorted fake acts have also been mentioned in HMHB songs such as "I Can't Believe It's Not Focus".

In 2001, Blackwell provided the voiceover for a BP television advert.

The band's first release since 2005, CSI:Ambleside, appeared on April 28, 2008.


  • The Trumpton Riots EP (1986) (UK Indie #1)
  • "Dickie Davies Eyes" (1986) (UK Indie #1)
  • The Peel Sessions (1988) (UK Indie #18)
  • "Let's Not" (1990)
  • "No Regrets" (1991)
  • "Eno Collaboration" (1996)
  • "Look Dad No Tunes" (1999)
  • Editor's Recommendation (2001)
  • Saucy Haulage Ballads (2003)

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