10cc are an English art-pop band that released two albums on UK Records in 1973/74, followed by seven albums and a live two-record set on Mercury between 1975 and 1983. In their initial four-piece lineup, 10cc recorded the choral-layered production landmark “I’m Not in Love.” Following the departure of co-founders Kevin Godley and Lol Creme, […]

Van der Graaf Generator

Van der Graaf Generator are an English rock band, formed at Manchester University in 1967 by singer–songwriter Peter Hammill. On their 1969 debut album, The Aerosol Grey Machine, they crossed psychedelia with darker, haunted sounds, which they codeified on the 1970 albums The Least We Can Do Is Wave to Each Other and H to […]


Magazine was an English rock band led by original Buzzcocks frontman Howard Devoto. They debuted with the 1978 Virgin single “Shot by Both Sides,” followed by the albums Real Life, Secondhand Daylight, and The Correct Use of Soap. The band’s instrumentalists — guitarist John McGeoch, bassist Barry Adamson, and keyboardist Dave Formula — were also […]


Tractor was the English post-psych duo of singer–guitarist Jim Milne and drummer Steve Clayton. They formed as The Way We Live, which released the 1971 album A Candle for Judith on John Peel’s Dandelion label. Renamed Tractor, they made a 1972 self-titled album. They half-completed a third album before Dandelion’s collapse and cut three singles […]

I Drive

I Drive was an English post-psych band, formed in Greater Manchester and based in Germany. They released the 1969 two-sided single “Classical Rigby” with (future Twenty Sixty Six and Then) singer Geff Harrison, followed by a 1972 eponymous album on the Krautrock label Metronome. After their breakup, guitarist–singer “Cheese” Hampson and bassist Leslie Graham carried […]

Pacific Drift

Pacific Drift was an English art-pop/psych band from Manchester that released the album Feelin’ Free on Deram in 1970. Members: Barry Reynolds (guitar, vocals), Brian Chapman (keyboards, vocals), Graham Harrop (guitar, bass), Lawrence Arendes (drums) Background Pacific Drift evolved from Sponge, an unrecorded psych-rock band with guitarist/bassist Graham Harrop and drummer Lawrence Arendes. Harrop played […]


Goliath was an English jazz-rock/soul band from Manchester that released a self-titled album on CBS in 1970. Members: Linda Rothwell (vocals), Malcolm Grundy (guitar), Joseph Rosbotham (woodwinds), John Williamson (bass), Eric Eastman (drums, percussion) Background Goliath evolved from the unrecorded Mancunian act Petrus Booncamp, which featured guitarist–bassist John Williamson and singers Linda Rothwell and Roy […]


Mandalaband was the symphonic-rock project of English composer/arranger David Rohl. The project yielded a self-titled album on Chrysalis in 1975. The musicians on that recording became Sad Café. The Mandalaband nameplate was resurrected for the 1978 rock-opera The Eye of Wendor: Prophecies, which features Justin Hayward on one track. Members: David Rohl (keyboards), David Durant […]

The Decorators

The Decorators were an English post-punk band that released the 1980 single “Twilight View” on the Buzzcocks‘ New Hormones label, followed by the 1982–83 titles Tablets and Rebel Songs on Red Flame. Members: Michael Bevan (vocals, guitar), Johnny Gilani (guitar), Steve Sandoe (bass), Joe Sax (saxophone), Allan Boroughs (drums), Pete Saunders (keyboards) The Decorators formed […]

Blue Orchids

Blue Orchids were an English neo-psych band spun from an early lineup of The Fall. They released three 1981–82 singles and The Greatest Hit (Money Mountain) on Rough Trade. Members: Martin Bramah (vocals, guitar), Una Baines (keyboards, 1979-85), Rick Goldstraw (guitar, bass, 1979-82, 2004-07), Steve Toyne (bass, 1979-80), Ian Rogers (drums, 1979-81), Toby Toman (drums, […]

The Fall

The Fall was an English post-punk band led by Manchester singer, musician, and songwriter Mark E. Smith. Between 1979 and 1988, they released eleven albums. Members: Mark E. Smith (vocals, tapes, violin, keyboards), Martin Bramah (guitar, vocals, 1976-79, 1989-90), Tony Friel (bass, 1976-77), Una Baines (keyboards, 1976-78), Steve Ormrod (drums, 1976-77), Karl Burns (drums, guitar, […]

Crispy Ambulance

Crispy Ambulance was an English post-punk band that released the 1982 album The Plateau Phase on Factory Benelux. In 1985, an expanded six-piece lineup cut the funk EP Advantage under the name Ram Ram Kino. Members: Alan Hempsall (vocals), Robert Davenport (guitar), Keith Darbyshire (bass), Gary Madeley (drums) Crispy Ambulance formed in late 1977 in Manchester. […]

Slaughter and the Dogs

Slaughter and the Dogs were an English rock band from Wythenshawe, formed in 1975 at the forefront of punk. On July 20, 1976, they played a watershed triple-bill with the Buzzcocks and The Sex Pistols at the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall, heralding the city’s musical renaissance. During 1977, Slaughter and the Dogs placed two […]

Diagram Brothers

Diagram Brothers were an English art-punk band from Manchester that debuted with a standalone single on self-press Construct Records in 1980. Signed to Buzzcocks-manager Richard Boone’s New Hormones label, the band issued a second single and the album Some Marvels of Modern Science in 1981, followed by the four-song 10″ Discordo in 1982. Members: Andy […]


Oscar were an English art-rock/pop band from Manchester that released a self-titled album on Buk Records in 1974, followed by two albums on DJM in 1976 and 1977. Members: Tony Bamforth (keyboards, vocals), Gary McDougall (bass, vocals), Brian McGladdery (12-string guitar, vocals), Kevin Parrott (lead guitar, vocals), Roger Tweedale (drums, vocals) Discography: Oscar (1974) Twilight […]


Ludus were an English post-punk band from Manchester that released three shorptlayers and two longplayers on local small-press New Hormones between 1980 and 1982. Frontwoman Linder Sterling was also a graphic designer who illustrated sleeves for fellow Mancunians The Buzzcocks (“Orgasm Addict”) and Magazine (Real Life). Members: Linder (vocals), Arthur Kadmon (guitar, 1978-79), Toby Toman […]

The Drones

The Drones were an English punk rock band from Manchester that released the 1977 album Further Temptations on Valer Records. Members: M. J. Drone [Michael Howells] (vocals), Pete Howells (drums), Steve “Whispa” Cundall (bass), Gus Gangrene (guitar, 1976-78), Mike Koman (keyboards, 1978) Background The Drones evolved from Rockslide, a glitter-pop band that issued the October […]

Level 42

Level 42 were an English jazz-funk band from the Isle of Wight that released seven studio albums and a live double-LP on Polydor between 1981 and 1988. Members: Mark King (vocals, bass, percussion, guitar, keyboards), Mike Lindup (vocals, keyboards, percussion, 1980-94, 2006-present), Phil Gould (drums, vocals, keyboards, 1980-87, 1993-94), Boon Gould (guitar, saxophone, 1980-87), Gary […]


Samson was an English brass-psych band from Manchester that released the album Are You Samson on small-press Instant in 1969. Members: Les Jones (guitar), Norman Findley (organ), Paul Ford (trumpet), Les Olbinson (bass), Mike Delaney (drums), Ian Kewley (vocals, french horn) Samson were among a handful of acts (The Outer Limits, Twinkle, Copperfield, Gulliver’s Travels) […]


Kalima were an English jazz-pop ensemble that released one EP, three singles, and three albums between 1984 and 1990. The band comprised alumni from earlier Mancunian acts A Certain Ratio and Swamp Children. Members: Martin Moscrop (drums), Tony Quigley (bass, saxophone), Andrew Connell (piano, synthesizer, vibraphone), Jez Kerr (bass guitar), Ann Quigley (vocals), Cliff Saffer […]

Sad Café

Sad Café was an English ensemble that was active between the late 1970s and mid-1980s. Hailing from a then-furtive Manchester scene (10cc, Buzzcocks, Magazine) the band released six studio albums between 1977 and 1985. The instrumental core of the band congealed as Mandalaband, formed to backup composer David Rohl on a pair of album-length conceptual […]

Simply Red

Simply Red are an English blue-eyed soul ensemble that emerged on the mid-eighties Manchester sophisti-pop scene. The name references ginger-haired frontman Mick Hucknall, whose impassioned vocals propelled them to transatlantic stardom with their debut album Picture Book. Simply Red’s biggest hits include “Holding Back the Years,” “Money’s Too Tight (to Mention),” and their cover of […]

Spherical Objects

Spherical Objects were an English post-punk band from Manchester that released two singles and four albums on self-press Object Music between 1978 and 1981. Leader Steve Solamar partook in the side projects Alternomen Unlimited, The Noyes Brothers (both with Steve Miro) and The Warriors. Members: Steve Solamar (vocals, guitar, harmonica), John Bisset-Smith (guitar, vocals), Duncan […]

Dislocation Dance

Dislocation Dance were an English band that was active as a recording unit during the first half of the 1980s. The band released two albums and numerous shortplayers for the New Hormone and Rough Trade labels. Members: Ian Runacres (guitar, vocals, keyboards), Andy Diagram (trumpet, backing vocals), Paul Emmerson (bass, backing vocals), Richard Harrison (drums, […]

The Colourfield

The Colourfield was an English sophisti-pop band that released the 1985–87 Chrysalis albums Virgins and Philistines and Deception. They featured ex-Specials and Fun Boy Three singer Terry Hall and onetime Swinging Cats guitarist–keyboardist Toby Lyons. Members: Terry Hall (vocals, guitar), Karl Shale (bass), Toby Lyons (guitar, keyboards), Gary Dwyer (drums, 1986-87) Formation Terry Hall formed […]

The Chameleons

The Chameleons were an English post-punk band that released the 1983–85 albums Script of the Bridge and What Does Anything Mean? Basically on Statik Records. Their 1986 Geffen release Strange Times spawned the college radio staple “Swamp Thing.” Singer–bassist Mark Burgess and drummer John Lever carried on as The Sun and the Moon on the […]

The Durutti Column

The Durutti Column was an English ethereal-pop/classical band from Manchester that released nine albums and assorted EPs on Factory between 1980 and 1990. The band was essentially a vehicle for musician–composer Vini Reilly, whose talents are also heard on mid-’80s releases by Anne Clark, Richard Jobson, and Quando Quango. Members: Vini Reilly (guitar, piano, vocals), […]

Swamp Children

The Swamp Children were an English sophisti-jazz/pop band from Manchester that released two albums on Factory circa 1981/82, followed by the album So Hot in 1982. The band morphed into Kalima for a further run of shortplayers and albums during the mid-to-late 1980s. Members: Martin Moscrop (drums), Ann Quigley (vocals), Tony Quigley (bass), John Kirkham […]

Sweet Sensation

Sweet Sensation were an English soul-pop octet from Manchester that released 10 singles on Pye between 1974 and 1977, including four featured on the group’s 1975 self-titled album. The group hit number-one on the U.K. charts with their second single “Sad Sweet Dreamer.” Members: Junior Daye (vocals), Roy Flowers (drums), Vincent James (vocals), Barry Johnson […]

New Order

New Order were an English electro/art-pop band from Manchester that released five albums and a compilation of non-album material on Factory between 1981 and 1989. The band comprised three-fourths of Joy Division with guitarist Bernard Sumner assuming vocal duties after the suicide of Ian Curtis. Soon after the name-change, drummer Stephen Morris invited his keyboardist-girlfriend […]

Barclay James Harvest

Barclay James Harvest was an English symphonic-rock band from Oldham, Greater Manchester, that initiated EMI’s Harvest imprint, releasing four albums on the label between 1970 and 1972, followed by a lengthy run of albums on Polydor between 1974 and 1997. Members: Les Holroyd (bass, vocals), John Lees (guitar, vocals), Mel Pritchard (drums), Woolly Wolstenholme (keyboards, […]

A Certain Ratio

A Certain Ratio was an English art-funk/New Wave band from Manchester that released a slew of shortplayers on Factory Records circa 1979/80, followed by four albums on the label between 1981 and 1986. Members: Jez Kerr (bass, vocals), Simon Topping (vocals, trumpet, percussion, 1978-83), Martin Moscrop (guitar, trumpet), Peter Terrell (guitar, electronics, 1978-82), Donald Johnson […]

The Smiths

The Smiths were an English pop-rock band from Manchester that released four albums and two compilations of non-album material on Rough Trade between 1984 and 1987. Members: Morrissey (vocals, piano), Johnny Marr (guitar, keyboards, mandolin, bass, harmonica, 1982-87), Steven Pomfret (rhythm guitar, 1982), Dale Hibbert (bass, 1982), Mike Joyce (drums, backing vocals, 1982-87), Andy Rourke […]