This spoken sung tale of an adolescent love triangle, involving awkward teenager John, Julie, and a better looking guy called Gordon, was one of the UK's most popular punk/new wave novelty singles. It was written and sung by trainee actor Graham Fellows and initially released by Manchester indie label Rabid. Such was the demand that EMI stepped in to handle its distribution. As the song surged up the charts, Fellows appeared on several UK television programs as the Jilted John character and the tune inspired answer records from Gordon the Moron and Julie and Gordon. Fellows proved to be a one-hit wonder, but the lack of a follow-up hit did not mean the end of his career in the entertainment industry. In 1982 he appeared in the British soap Coronation Street as a biker called Les Charlton. And in 1986 he created the comic character John Shuttleworth, an aspiring singer-songwriter who performs on a portable Yamaha keyboard. Fellows has since made numerous appearances on British TV, radio and on stage as this character.
Fellows told Mojo magazine December 2008 the story of this song: "I wrote Jilted John in the very first term of drama college, the Manchester Polytechnic School of Theatre. It was a professional school with voice studios, focused towards a classical theatre training. They must have taught me some stuff, but it seemed to more be mucking about. Jilted John came from the people I was hanging out with. The whole punk thing was very exciting. Bernard Kelly, who became Gordon, was my friend. He was a face around Didsbury, a proper punk, very tall and thin. He had his own bedsit. Everyone used to go and hang out at Bernard's. He was like an Andy Warhol figure. Jilted John was trying to ridicule punk when it became a formula. It was sending up the taking of a name, like Wreckless Eric. I remember getting the disc, a very proud moment. There was a great vibe about the track. I had this real optimism that came from naivety, nothing was going to stop it. I wrote a lot of the letters requesting it on the radio, my sister did too. Once it became a hit, I was recognized in the street, but I didn't like it - I was too young."