Punk poet John Cooper Clarke is to release his debut album as a lead vocalist at the age of 67, teaming up with Stranglers star Hugh Cornwell.

The pair have come together on This Time It’s Personal, due out on October 14.

Hugh, 66, was a founder member of the Stranglers and served as vocalist and guitarist – but this time he will be handing over the microphone to Dr Clarke, who is better known for his spoken word performances than his singing skills.

“No-one knew he could sing!” said Hugh. “When you tell people they go ‘You’re kidding me’.”

In their first collaboration, the ’70s and ’80s stars will perform covers of classic tracks from their youth including Spanish Harlem and Love Potion No 9.

The Stranglers in 1980
The Stranglers in 1980 (PA)

The unlikely idea for the album came to Hugh when he was drunk.

He said: “I was drunk one night, and I was listening to MacArthur Park by Richard Harris, and I suddenly got this bizarre idea in my head, I suppose because I’d just had dinner with John a couple of weeks before.

“I thought ‘Wouldn’t it be weird, John with his very distinctive voice doing that song?’

John Cooper Clarke
John Cooper Clarke (Nick Potts/PA)

“So I rang him up and said ‘Would you be interested in doing it?’ and he said ‘Yeah, sure, why not?’”

The album, from Sony Music, will feature songs from artists including Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, Jimmy Webb, Ricky Nelson, Ritchie Valens and Conway Twitty.