There is an endlessly trotted out Manchester music story that is stuffed full of fine moments but also, somehow, manages to miss out music that doesn’t fit into the whole narrative. Here are just five of the bands that most people don’t know have some sort of connection to the city…
Van Der Graaf Generator
The prog rock band and big heroes of Johnny Rotten were formed at Manchester University in the late sixties. Their idiosyncratic wailing sound saw them lumped in with prog rock but their inventiveness and dark edginess saw them far closer in spirit to the post punk era ten years later.
Not strictly Manchester but the Stockport based band were masters of the quirky bubblegum single in the mid seventies. Remembered for the I’m Not In Love ballad – a soft rock radio classic they were also responsible for Rubber Bullets and and a whole host of oddball and smart pop tunes that were closer in spirit to XTC and the Sparks than the Jeremy Clarkson world they get dumped into. They also owned Strawberry studios in Stockport (named after the Beatles Strawberry Fields) where Martin Hannett based himself most of the time and Joy Division recorded their classic debut…
Frantic ElevatorsThe band before Simply Red saw Mick Hucknall shuffle out some great blasts of garage rock n roll with a rasping soul edge. Liked by John Peel there was little hint of what was to come apart from their original version of Holding Back The Years and they remain a band well worth checking out.
Wilmslow is not strictly Manchester geographically but its close enough culturally but the 1975 have become one of the biggest bands in the UK whilst remaining defiantly outside the Manchester lineage- either by copying themselves into it or by endless whining on how they are not part of it like many other bands do and just got on with being massively popular.
Slaughter And The Dogs
They once asked Where Have All The Bootboys Gone on one of the key punk singles of the period and where a massive influence on Johny Marr (who borrowed his haircut from their bass player) and the Stone Roses but somehow they have been edited out of the story…we demand their influence is recognised!