John Gannon : legendary Manchester DJ : RIPThe death of key Manchester alternative DJ is being rightfully mourned across the city’s music scene. If Manchester’s music history is now world famous the story gets more and more linear over the years. Like all music scenes it was a patchwork of different people creating a whole. The Hacienda may have been a new kind of club but it was not the only game in town. 

For years the Ritz had the crowds and its key player was John Gannon, whose Monday night was always packed with over a 1000 people in there dancing joyously to his DJ sets that embraced alternative music and took people on a trip.

Not enough is made of these kind of nights and these kind of DJs, John’s death – along with the recent death of DJ David Booth puts a sharp focus on the key players in the city culture. Both of them were fonts of musical knowledge and great DJs who could fill a floor with the best of alternative music from the period.

John Gannon’s nights at the Ritz saw that venue’s famous sprung dance floor witness all manner of drunken wonk dancing, goth meandering and indie shuffling as well as bands being formed, relationships starting and the possibilities of life and music being explored to his glorious soundtrack that brought people together and turned them onto the possibilities of music.

Many passed through that legendary Monday night that lasted for decades and many passed out to the sticky drinks and swirling atmosphere.

John was a deeply intelligent, affable music freak who shared his enthusiasm to generations of Manchester music fans. He was as much part of the city culture as the more media friendly bigger names and he lives on through his music and, John, can I ask one thing – is it ok if I keep your book about the old buses of Malta – I was meaning to get it back to you… 

Please donate to the fund for John’s funeral costs here

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. A lovely guy who gave me a bag of vinyl back in 89 and turned me on to some cool new stuff. A friend as well who would play anything you requested. Me and Kathleen are gonna miss you John.

  2. What a fitting testament to such a beautiful soul whose music reached out to the heart of many in Manchester and beyond. There will never be another as good as the one and only John Gannon. Miss you always my dear friend x

  3. Gutted at the loss of the lovely John who kindly DJ’d at my flat in Hulme in ‘85 for my 21st. Bet heaven’s having some crazy nights with Dave and John on the decks RIP to two legends, but mostly two of the loveliest people I have ever known <3

  4. I bumped into John again while visiting Manchester back in 2011. He was casually having a fag break outside Jilly’s Rockworld as I bimbled past along Oxford Rd. We recognised each other and he invited me in to the club where I spent the evening with him and his life partner Dawn in the DJ booth catching up on old times (late 1989-1994 in my case). We stayed in touch on Facebook and he was always offering a place to kip at his if I made it back up for a visit, just the kind of person he was. I’m sad now that won’t happen – a lesson in life that we should always use the time we have for our friends before that time is no longer possible. John will always be a part of my Manchester memories and no doubt the memories of so many more people besides. In a post-Covid world, I hope that a tribute can be held at the Ritz to honour his memory and his dedication to the Manchester music scene…it would also give me the opportunity to raise a glass to John and to run about to The Dambusters theme one last time as a way of saying “thank you John for some brilliant times and some great tunes”.


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