Nostalgia remembers the heady mix of fashion, people, personalities and performers that made up the Madchester music scene.
Forget London or Liverpool. When it came to music, there was only one place to be in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
And that was Manchester!
Or, as the British music press eagerly dubbed it, Madchester!
Bands like the Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses, New Order, Inspiral Carpets and The Charlatans were blazing a creative trail through the pop culture of the UK.
Clubs like the Hacienda were hitting the headlines too as hundreds flocked to the Whitworth Street West venue for live performances and the legendary Ibiza ‘Hot’ nights.
It’s true to say Madchester was an extraordinary mixture of acid house and alternative rock, psychedelia and 1960s pop!
Manchester had already cemented its credentials as a centre for alternative pop culture with the ground-breaking Festival of the Tenth Summer in July 1986.
It celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Sex Pistols’ legendary gig at the Free Trade Hall, which many considered to be the breakthrough moment for punk in the UK.
The festival included an all-day gig at Manchester G-Mex featuring The Smiths, New Order and The Fall as well as film screenings and art shows.
Commentators at the time described the city as inspired and energized. Larger-than-life characters played cutting edge music to fans eager for more.
The potent musical cocktail was stirred even further by visiting artists like Prince, who played Maine Road in 1990, Duran Duran, Culture Club and Madonna. Her first live appearance in the UK was at the Hacienda in January 1984.
Variety was certainly the spice of life as Manchester boy band Take That erupted onto the music scene in the early 1990s and Chorlton’s favourite supergroup the Bee Gees released some of their best material during the decade.
Other Manchester bands included Swing Out Sister, Electronic with Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr, the Mock Turtles, Sub Sub and Northside.
Acid House spilled out on to Albert Square in January 1990 when hundreds held a party to protest against police harassment of their gatherings.
The beginnings of the ‘baggy style’ associated with Madchester are evident in our photo – baggy jeans and brightly coloured tops that would later be topped off with a fishing hat.
The look was described as part rave, part hippie, part retro and part football casual. Some of the Madchester bands actually wore football shirts.
Salford band The Happy Mondays were pioneers of the Madchester sound. Formed in 1980, they reached their commercial peak when their album Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches went platinum in the UK in 1990.
Vocalist Shaun Ryder founded the band with his brother Paul on bass guitar, Mark Day on guitar, Paul Davis on keyboard and Gary Whelan on drums. Rowetta joined as a guest vocalist in 1990.
The Charlatans, led by Salford-born vocalist Tim Burgess, also enjoyed nationwide fame in the 1990s as part of the Madchester scene.
All of the band’s 13 studio albums reached the Top 40 of the UK Chart – and three were Number Ones. They were Some Friendly in 1990, The Charlatans in 1995 and Tellin’ Stories in 1997.
The band’s line-up features Burgess on vocals, Mark Collins on guitar, Martin Blunt on bass and Tony Rodgers on keyboards.
Prestwich punk band The Fall came together in 1976 in the wake of the Sex Pistols’ celebrated Manchester gig. Vocalist Mark E. Smith has been the constant factor in the group’s often changing line-up.
Described as the most prolific band of the British post-punk movement, The Fall have released no less than 32 studio albums from 1979 to 2017.
Swing Out Sister were formed in Manchester by duo Andy Connell on keyboards and Martin Jackson on drums in 1985. Fashion designer Corinne Drewery became lead vocalist soon afterwards.
They are best known for their single Breakout which reached No. 4 in the UK Singles in November 1986. The band’s debut album It’s Better to Travel went to No. 1 in the UK chart in May 1987.
The musical phenomenon known as Take That formed in Manchester in 1989. The original line-up was Gary Barlow, Robbie Williams, Jason Orange, Howard Donald and Mark Owen.
Their success is breathtaking. The group have recorded 28 Top 40 singles including 12 Number Ones in the UK alone. Internationally, the band has notched up 56 number one singles!
They’ve also amassed eight Brit Awards, including Best British Group and Best British Live Act.
Proud of their Manchester roots, the group were delighted to be pictured with Bryan Robson and the Premier League trophy at Old Trafford in July 1993.
Even Port Vale fan Robbie Williams managed a smile!
Many more memorable pictures of the past can be found in Clive Hardy’s brilliant book Around Manchester in the 1970s – now on sale in our online shop.