Influential musician Jah Wobble receives Honorary Fellowship

Date 13.11.2015

The University of Northampton is pleased to have awarded Jah Wobble with an Honorary Fellowship at this year’s Summer Graduation Ceremonies.

Jah Wobble, aka John Wardle, is one of the most influential musicians of the last five decades, evidenced by the release of this year’s Redux anthology box set. Born in Stepney, east London, he began his musical career as a member of The Four Johns alongside John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, and John Ritchie, aka Sid Vicious, later forming Public Image Ltd with Lydon in 1978. PIL’s debut single Public Image featured a dub reggae inspired bassline which in turn influenced a generation of musicians. In a recent review of the reissued Metal Box album, Rolling Stone credited Wobble with “some of the deepest bass grooves ever heard”.

Jah Wobble’s network of collaborators is a who’s-who of musical innovators including Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit from German band CAN, The Edge from U2, Bjork, Brian Eno, Pharoah Sanders, Bernie Worrall, Bill Laswell, Primal Scream and Massive Attack. He achieved commercial success with his band The Invaders of the Heart, notably the single Visions of You featuring the vocals of Sinead O’Connor, while the 1992 album Rising Above Bedlam was shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize that year. More recently in 2009, he won the award for Cross-Cultural Collaboration, for Chinese Dub, at the inaugural Songlines Music Awards.

He said: “I’ve had an association with the University of Northampton for a couple of years now and I’ve put on some shows, workshops and interactive activities with the students.

“I was excited about my honorary award simply because it provides possibility to do more in the future. Ideas are important and when you put people together, you train them to formulate their thinking which creates intelligence in society. We need intelligent people who ask questions and produce ideas and that is why a university education is important.”

Professor Nick Petford, Vice Chancellor of the University of Northampton, commented: “In addition to celebrating the outstanding achievements of the graduating class of summer 2015, we are also recognising high profile individuals who have made a positive impact on others. The recipients of these honorary awards will inspire our graduates as they begin the next exciting stage in their lives, making their own mark on the world.”

Listen to Jah Wobble talking about his life and career.