THINK of Abingdon rock stars and Thom Yorke and Radiohead immediately spring to mind.

But not so many people are aware that Tom Hingley, former frontman for Manchester band Inspiral Carpets, was also educated in the town, at Larkmead School.

He has now told his life story in his autobiography, Carpet Burns , which details his journey from Larkmead to a memorable Reading Festival performance in 1990 in front of 80,000 fans.

Now 47 years old and a visiting lecturer at Salford University, the father-of-four grew up in Frilford near Abingdon, the seventh child of an Oxford don.

He finally parted company with Inspiral Carpets last year but still tours as a solo artist with his new band The Lovers.

He flunked his A-Levels at Larkmead School in 1983 and had to resit them before leaving to take a degree in English literature at Manchester Polytechnic.

After getting a job at the Hacienda nightclub, Mr Hingley auditioned as lead singer for the Inspirals in 1989 and went on to tour the globe with the band.

Mr Hingley said: “The book took me three years to write and it’s a love letter to the band.

“I started out singing when I was a kid in the choir in the village church in Marcham and got paid 25p every three months in a brown envelope, which gave me the idea that you could get paid for singing.

“My dad Ronald Hingley was an Oxford don who translated Chekhov while my brother Richard is a professor of archaeology at Durham University.

“Mum lives in Didcot and I love coming back to Oxfordshire. I always get a good feeling when I go through the Stokenchurch cutting on the M40.”

Mr Hingley made seven appearances on Top of the Pops and the band sold a million records, including the hit song This Is How It Feels .

One of the high points of the singer’s career with the Inspirals was headlining Saturday night at the Reading Festival in 1990 in front of 80,000 revellers.

The singer wrote: “After the gig, seeking parental support I asked my father what he thought of the show.“He said: ‘The last time I saw an audience react like that was when I saw Mussolini give a speech in Rome in 1939’. Praise indeed.”

During his time as a rock star Mr Hingley bumped into plenty of famous faces.

Former Oasis singer Noel Gallagher was a roadie for Inspirals and he once gave career advice to On A Friday, the band that became Radiohead.

Mr Hingley added: “I have always said that Noel would not have had the career he has had without working for the Inspirals.

“I think he has now acknowledged that.

“We were in a rehearsal room in Banbury at the beginning of the 1990s when On A Friday turned up.

“They showed me a recording contract and I advised them to try to retain as much artistic control as possible.”

  • Carpet Burns is published by Route, price £12.99.