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Lesser Free Trade Hall (cnr Peter and Southmill St)
One evening in July 1976, several hundred Manchester hipsters gathered to witness an incendiary performance by a virtually unknown band from London - the Sex Pistols. According to local legend, the event inspired most of the audience to go out to buy instruments and form a band.
Ten years before the Sex Pistols, a young Bob Dylan with his electric band had played downstairs, at the larger Free Trade Hall; an event that was captured on bootleg (and featuring the infamous “Judas” heckling incident). The Free Trade Hall is being converted into a hotel.
Rafters / Jilly’s Rockworld (65A Oxford Road)
Rafters was a folk club in the 60s and then a cheesy disco in the 70s. But it was best known as a punk venue in the late 70s, and included Steven Morrisey (of the Smiths), and Tony Wilson (then a presenter on a local TV music show) among its customers, as well as Rob Gretton (later manager of New Order, and co-founder of the Hacienda club) as DJ. It was at Rafters that Ian Curtis (singer with Joy Division) first met Tony Wilson in April 1978, and told him that he was a f*ck*ng c*nt for failing to put his band on his Manchester based TV show. The charm worked, because shortly afterwards, Wilson signed Joy Division to his new record label. Subsequently, the venue changed its name to Rockworld and became a heavy metal venue.
The Church Studio (380 Deansgate)
Long before he joined the Stock, Aitken and Waterman hit factory (best known for their work with Kylie Minogue, Bananarama, and dozens of glossy one hit wonders in the mid 80s UK charts), Pete Waterman was a very popular “Northern Soul” DJ. After SAW folded in the late 80s, Waterman built this studio, where he produced dance acts for release on his own Eastern Bloc label.
Twisted Wheel (26 Brazennose St)
In the early 60s, Manchester was regarded as the nightclub capital of Europe, and even had more performing bands than Liverpool at the height of the Merseybeat craze. Together with the Oasis Club (now demolished) in Lloyd Street, the Twisted Wheel was the top club in 60s Manchester.
Apart from regular performances by Herman’s Hermits, the Spencer Davis Group, the Yardbirds and a youthful Rod Stewart, the club was distinguished by the debut performance by Cream (which apparently was something of a minor disaster).
In the late 60s, the club started playing all night soul discos, featuring DJ Roger Eagle. The club became part of the emerging Northern Soul movement and fans travelled from miles around Manchester to dance athletically from midnight till 8 am to the sound of obscure 60s soul releases from the US.
The club was demolished in Manchester's urban redevelopment boom of the early 70s.
Dry 201 (28 Oldham Street)
The Dry Bar was opened in July 1989 by New Order and the Factory recording label (the bar even had its own catalogue number: FAC 201). In the early 90s, the bar was considered to THE place for pre Hacienda drinks. The bar was designed by Ben Kelly, who also designed the Hacienda night club.
Steven Morrissey was the singer with mid 80s band the Smiths. His melancholic songs made him a hero to insecure and vulnerable teenagers all over the world. Places that featured in his life and songs include:
Park Hospital (Davyhulme): Morrissey was born here on May 22nd 1959.
Childhood Home (17 Harper St, Hulme): young Steven lived here until he was 10. The whole street was demolished during urban redevelopment.Teenage Home (385 Kings Rd, Stretford): the Morrissey family moved here in 1969, where the teenage Steven lived until the mid 80s. Nearby is the iron bridge over a railway line that is referenced in one of his songs ("when a train goes by it's such a sad sound..."). The iron bridge is also mentioned in "Still Ill" ("under the iron bridge we kissed...")
Holy Name Church (Oxford Road): the church is mentioned in the song Vicar In A Tutu; it is located near the university.
Yanks (now Powercuts) Records (3 Chepstow St): Morrissey worked briefly here in 1979 (“I was looking for a job, then I found a job ... heaven knows I’m miserable now”)
South Cemetery (Barlow Moor Rd, West Didsbury): these are the "actual" cemetery gates mentioned in the album The Queen is Dead. Morrissey and friend Linder (who went on to design record covers for the Buzzcocks) would spend many sunny afternoons wandering around the gravestones.
St Mary’s Secondary School (Renton Road): Morrissey’s school (as remembered in The Headmaster Ritual).Strangeways Here We Come road sign (Corner Corporation and Munster Street): as seen on the cover of the album of the same name. The car park of Strangeways Prison (Sherborne St) was where drummer Steven Morris's first his future band Joy Division.
Salford Lads Club (cnr Coronation Street): featured on the cover of The Queen is Dead, and in the video for the single I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish; Albert Finney (the English actor) came here often when he was young and Graham Nash and Allan Clarke (later of the Hollies) also performed here.
The Factory Club / The Lighthouse (Royce Rd, Hulme)
This dark tunnel like club was the location of Tony Wilson’s very first venture in to the world of music promotion. He took over the old Russell Club on Friday nights, and booked most of the major post punk bands of late 70s UK (including Wire, Cabaret Voltaire, and Joy Division). Today the club has come full circle: it started as a West Indian club, and it is now - again - a reggae club, called The Lighthouse.
Hulme is a housing estate built in the 60s. Most of the area has been demolished for a large scale urban renewal project.
Factory Records (86 Palantine Rd, Withington)
The Factory record label was based in a flat located in this building from 1979 to 1990 (in an unrelated coincidence, the flat was also once occupied by the creators of the English TV series Brideshead Revisited).
The Factory label epitomised the "indie" philosophy, it based many of its deals on word of mouth rather than contracts, and its roster included bands like Durutti Column, Joy Division, New Order, A Certain Ratio, and Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark.
The name was chosen when Wilson saw a sign in a shop window (“Factory Clearance”) and thought it would be a rather good name for a label.
Factory moved to a palatial new building at 1 Charles Street at the start of the 90s. Wilson borrowed heavily to refurbish the old warehouse building, just before interest rates spiraled, and the label fell into serious debt. The final nail in the Factory coffin was hammered in by the Happy Mondays, who incurred huge recording costs for their flop record Yes Please.
Electric Circus (Collyhurst Street)
This was the best-known punk rock venue in 70s Manchester. The building stood in the middle of a threatening urban wasteland (and was demolished in the urban redevelopment boom of the late 70s).
However, while it was standing, all the major punk rock acts of the day appeared at the Electric Circus: the Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, the Clash, Penetration, the Heartbreakers, Magazine and the Fall. An early version of Joy Division played here in May 1977 (indeed, the group began when Ian Curtis met Barney Sumner at a gig at the Circus).
The Hacienda (11-13 Whitworth Street West)
The club - which was located in a 1905 industrial warehouse - was financed jointly by Factory Records, New Order, and Whitbread Breweries. It was designed by Ben Kelly using industrial materials, who aimed to emulate the New York nightclubs that New Order had visited during their American Tours - clubs like the Paradise Garage, Danceteria or Fun House; The club opened in May 1982, and was allocated the Factory catalogue number FAC 51.
For the first 6 or 7 years, the club was not very successful, despite early gigs by The Smiths, Primal Scream, a youthful Madonna and Grandmaster Flash. The club survived only with the assistance of regular injections of New Order’s recording profits, or the occasional performance by the group when things got really tough.
However, the club attracted a cult following in 1987, when local DJs Dave Haslam, Graeme Park and Mike Pickering, started playing the newest "house music" records from Chicago and Detroit. Then, in the following summer of 1988, things went completely mental with the advent of the acid house craze.
The spirit of the place in those heady days is captured in the video clip for the Happy Monday’s Wrote for Luck. In the early nineties the club ran into serious difficulties with gang violence, and was forced to close.
The Ritz (Whitworth Street, near Station Approach)
This old swing era ballroom was immortalised by John Cooper Clarke in his tale of Salome Malone (“the queen of the Ritz”). The Smiths played their very first gig here in October 1982, and into the 90s and beyond, the Northern Soul revival continued with regular all nighters at The Ritz.
Eastern Bloc Records (66 Oldham St)
This record shop was a key outlet for house music in late 80s. It was managed by Martin Price, who went on to form 808 State, along with Graham Massey (who worked in a cafe across the road) and a guy called Gerald Simpson (who was a regular customer).
At that time, the shop was located across the road (in Afflecks Palace, 52 Church St), from its current location. It moved to its current location in Oldham St in 1990. The shop is now owned by Peter Waterman (of Stock Aitken and Waterman fame), who also runs a label called Eastern Bloc.
24 New Mount Street
This converted mill became a centre of Manchester's media and music related industries in the late 80s. Noel Gallagher (who later played guitar for a band called Oasis) ran Inspiral Carpets' promotional operation from New Mount Street, and the complex was also used by The Fall and Oasis.
The Boardwalk ( 2 Little Peter Street)
This former school building now houses a venue and rehearsal rooms. Joy Division perfected their grey northern funk here, and other famous graduates of the rehearsal rooms include the Inspiral Carpets, the Charlatans, James, and the Happy Mondays. Oasis were formed in room #4, where they rehearsed intensively until their debut at the Boardwalk in October 1991 (when they played four songs in front of 12 people). The Boardwalk now operates as a House music club (DJ Dave Haslam sometimes plays there).
Factory Too (2-4 Little Peter Street)
In 1994, a new Factory label arose from the ashes of the financial disaster of the old label, and opened its offices at this new address.
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