It’s no exaggeration to say that 1985 was a momentous year for music in Manchester.
The Smiths released their only Number One album Meat is Murder, the Stone Roses arrived on the scene and Salford band the Happy Mondays signed for Manchester-based Factory Records.
Not only that, Mancunian musicians Andy Connell and Martin Jackson formed electro-pop group Swing Out Sister with Nottingham model Corinne Drewery.
To round the year off, Openshaw lead singer Davy Jones and the Monkees recorded the compilation album that included their last ever hit single – That Was Then, This Is Now.
The year began with former Altrincham Grammar School pupils Ian Brown and John Squire putting together the Stone Roses. The band played their first headline gig in January 1985.
The same month saw the Stone Roses’ first recording session with Manchester producer Martin Hannett at Strawberry Studios in Stockport. The group’s debut single, double A-side So Young and Tell Me, was eventually released in September.
The band toured Sweden in April and went back into the studios in August to record an album. But they were unhappy with the result – and did not release their debut album, The Stone Roses, until early 1989.
The Smiths fared better with their early studio sessions. The album Meat is Murder, released in February 1985, was the third recorded by the band since forming in 1982.
The 1985 line-up was lead singer Morrissey from Davyhulme, guitarist Johnny Marr from Ardwick, city-born bassist Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce from Fallowfield.
Meat is Murder was more political than the band’s previous albums. There were attacks on the Thatcher government as well as open support for vegetarianism.
The track Rusholme Ruffians captured the raw thrills and occasional violence of fairgrounds, while The Headmaster Ritual told of the corporal punishment meted out by ‘the belligerent ghouls’ that ran ‘Manchester schools’.
Morrissey was equally scathing about the music of the Band Aid project to feed the starving in Africa, which resulted in the historic Live Aid concert of 1985.
He said: ‘One can have great concern for the people of Ethiopia, but it’s another thing to inflict daily torture on the people of England’.
After forming in Salford in 1980, the Happy Mondays made their debut release, the Forty Five EP, on Factory Records in 1985. The band consisted of Shaun Ryder on vocals, his brother Paul on bass, Mark Day on guitar, Paul Davis on keyboards and Gary Whelan on drums.
The Happy Mondays were a key element of the Manchester music scene. Their style was described as a mixture of indie pop, Krautrock, funk and rave.
International success followed the band’s 1985 breakthrough. The 1990 album Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches went platinum in the UK after selling 350,000 copies.
Swing Out Sister sprang into life in 1985 when local keyboard player Andy Connell and drummer Martin Jackson teamed up with fashion designer and model Corinne Drewery, who sang vocals.
The band released their first single Blue Mood on Mercury Records in November 1985. It failed to chart, but their next single did quite the opposite.
Breakout, released in 1986, rose to No. 4 in the UK charts and No. 6 in the US Billboard Hot 100. It
remains an iconic ‘80s song to this day.
Other activity in 1985 included Sad Café vocalist Paul Young joining Mike and the Mechanics as well as New Order releasing their third album Low-Life on Factory Records.
Many rate Low-Life among New Order’s best work, helping to complete their transformation from ‘post-punk to dance-rockers’.
Creative differences were casting a long shadow over the Monkees’ compilation album That Was Then, This Is Now as 1985 drew to a close.
The album contained three newly recorded songs, including the title track which made the US Billboard Top 20 in summer 1986.
The only problem was that Davy Jones refused to sing on any of the new tracks. He was back in action, however, for their next album Pool It, which featured fellow Monkees Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz, but not Mike Nesmith.
It was not until 1996 that the band reunited to produce their album Justus to mark their 30th anniversary. As its name implies, Justus featured work written entirely by the Monkees with no guest artists.
*Readers can revel in the past 150 years with a brilliant anniversary book from the M.E.N. and local publishers iNostalgia.
The Changing Face of Manchester: Second Edition is packed with past images of Manchester contrasted with modern photos of how the same scenes look now.
The book retails at £14.99, but M.E.N. readers can order it for the reduced price of £9.99 plus postage and packing.
Just go to inostalgia.co.uk to place your order or telephone the order hotline on 01928 503777.