Madness singer Suggs discovers his dad is dead by reading Wikipedia


MADNESS frontman Suggs discovered his heroin addict Scottish father had died – by reading his own Wikipedia page.

Suggs – real name Graham McPherson – has spent years searching for his father, William Rutherford McPherson.

Scots-born McPherson Snr father walked out on him and his family shortly after he was born in Hastings, East Sussex, in 1961.

Suggs regrets not getting the opportunity to meet his dad again before he died (Credit:


After seeking advice, the 51-year-old checked the internet encyclopaedia which has over 22million entries.

He said: “I was scrabbling about, going to records offices and the British Library.

“Then one day my mate said, ‘Have you ever looked yourself up on Wikipedia?”

“I looked myself up and there it all was. It said that my father had died in 1975, aged just 40. The thing is  this website knew more about my life than me and my whole family combined.

“My dad had died in Birmingham, so I contacted the records office and a nice man there pieced things together for me.

“He had remarried so there was a glimmer of hope that he had turned his life around. But it was all a bit of a mess.

“He didn’t have any kids, which put paid to the chance that I might have stepbrothers or stepsisters.

“When his death certificate arrived it was a real shock.”

Suggs found out that his dad had injected paraffin into his eyes and was sectioned before his death.

He regrets not getting the chance to reunite with his dad.

The father-of-two said: “I didn’t think too much about him when I was younger. He had disappeared and had been in a lunatic asylum, as they used to call them.

“The shame was that he died when I was 15, when I was just starting in the band. If he been around a couple more years then my profile might have led him to get in touch and we

could have met up but it wasn’t to be. I missed having a father figure so I was determined to try and be around for my kids.

“They would ask what happened to their granddad. When they were old enough to understand I told them that he was mixed up with heroin and ended up in asylum.”

The singer’s father’s fate features in his Fringe Show, “Suggs: My Life Story in Words and Music.”

He said:”I went through the trauma of finding all this out and I try to express that sincerely.

“There is the notion of fate and that life can take you in different directions at a whim. Fortunately I took the path of having a lovely family and being successful.

“But my dad went down a different path altogether.”