Some of the biggest names in British pop and rock hail from Manchester, a city often dubbed the Capital of the North. Spanning several genres and igniting a whole musical movement, it’s fair to say that popular music wouldn’t be the same today without its influence. These are some of the best acts to have come out of the city:
This well-loved five-piece with distinctive harmonies hit the scene in 1962, and had hits including ‘Just One Look’, ‘The Air That I Breathe’ and ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’. Singer Graham Nash also went on to form Crosby, Stills & Nash.
This pop band had several catchy hits, including ‘I’m into Something Good’. Peter Noone’s Mancunian accent was recognisable in most songs, despite several of them being aimed at a US fan base. They started out in 1962.
Pioneers of the post-punk movement and one of the most influential bands of the late 20th century, this group formed in Salford, Greater Manchester. ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ was probably their most popular hit. They got together in 1976, and after the death of lead singer Ian Curtis, the remaining members went on to form New Order in 1980 who became one of the most critically acclaimed bands of their time, releasing notable hits like ‘Blue Monday’, ‘Regret’ and ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’.
Alternative rock band from Salford whose hits included ‘Lazyitis’, ‘Step On’ and ‘Kinky Afro’. They formed in 1980 but didn’t achieve major success until the nineties. Well known Manchester personality Bez wasn’t actually a member until later on – he became friends with lead singer Shaun Ryder and joined as a dancer and percussionist.
This highly influential band were famous for Morrissey’s distinctive vocals and lyrics and Johnny Marr’s jangly guitar sound. Their many hits included ‘This Charming Man’ and ‘Panic’. Lead singer Morrissey began a solo career after the band’s break up in 1987, and remains an influential figure in pop culture.
The Stone Roses
Formed in 1983, this indie/dance crossover band helped establish the ‘Madchester’ movement and had hits including ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ and ‘Fools Gold’. Their debut album was a huge success, and has been cited as one of the greatest British albums ever recorded. The lead singer, Ian Brown, went on to have a solo career.
Fronted by the Gallagher brothers, Oasis were a long-running fixture of the northern music scene. Closely associated with the Britpop movement, their hits included ‘Wonderwall’, ‘Champagne Supernova’ and ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’. The band got together in 1991, and their distinctive sound has become a musical by-word for Manchester across the world. Other notable artists from Manchester include The Bee Gees, The Buzzcocks, Take That, Elbow, The Chemical Brothers and many more.