Musical Finedon vicar’s memoir of life as a pop star

The Rev Richard Coles
The Rev Richard Coles

A vicar from Finedon has published a book detailing his change from a chart-topping pop star to a man of God.

The Rev Richard Coles is the vicar at St Mary the Virgin in the town, but his early life was rather different.

As a young man, Richard Coles was part of the group The Communards, who had a number one hit with Don’t Leave Me This Way.

Now the Rev Coles has published “Fathlomess Riches. Or How I went From Pop to the Pulpit”, his memoir of his life as it changed from one involving drugs, sex and rock and roll to one involving God and Christianity.

The Rev Coles was born in Northampton and educated at Wellingborough School, where he was a chorister. Later he learned to play the saxophone and formed The Communards with Jimmy Somerville. Their reworking of the Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes’ soul classic Don’t Leave Me This Way topped the charts for four weeks in 1986. The pair had other chart success before vocalist Jimmy Somerville decided to turn solo.

The book takes its title from a phrase used by St Paul and his followers, and according to the publishers “is a deeply personal and illuminating account of a transformation from hedonistic self-abandonment to ‘the moment that changed everything’.

“Funny, warm, witty and wise, it is a memoir which has the power to shock as well as to console.

“It will be hailed as one of the most unusual and readable life stories of recent times.”

It is published by Orion and will be available in October.

The Rev Coles disappeared out of the limelight after The Communards split up but has gradually found himself more and more in demand, both on the radio and on the television. He is the regular presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live programme and has appeared on Have I Got News for You.