Recently I wrote my views on the current music scene in Manchester. As we all know Manchester is famous worldwide for it’s musical heritage, many of the best musicians the world has ever seen have graced the city to perform their craft. Below is a list of 15 historical gigs that took place in the city:
1. Muddy Waters Live in 1958
Muddy Waters (4th April 1913- 30th April 1983) was an American blues musician. In 1958 he embarked on his first UK tour which saw him make a visit to Manchester playing a gig at the Manchester Free Trade Hall. This is a video of Muddy Waters performing the song ‘Rollin’ Stone’ live which is the song that The Rolling Stones got their name from. Legend has it that during their early formative years the band was on the phone to a magazine and when asked for the name of the band, Brian Jones said ‘The Rolling Stones’ when he saw a Muddy Waters LP lying on the floor nearby.
2. The Beatles Live in 1963
The Beatles need no introduction; in 1963 they were in the middle of a transition from unknown band to Beatlemania. They were on a UK tour that saw them visit Manchester performing at the ABC Cinema on Deansgate (now known as Moon Under The Water) on 20th November 1963. The performance was filmed by Pathé News and became an eight-minute cinema feature entitled ‘The Beatles Come To Town’. In just a few short months after this gig they went on to become a global phenomenon and took the USA by storm.
3. The Sex Pistols Live in 1976
The Sex Pistols were a punk band that grabbed the attention of the UK from 1975-1978; they became the hope and role model of Britain’s disenchanted youths of the ‘70s and helped to usher in the rebellious era of punk. In 1976 they were on a UK tour that saw them stop in Manchester, performing live at the Free Trade Hall on 4th June 1976. The legend of this gig has become folklore. Amongst the thousands of people who have claimed to have been in attendance were members of Manchester’s next generation, including the men who were inspired by the DIY attitude of punk and went on to form legendary Manchester bands such as Joy Division, The Smiths, The Fall and The Buzzcocks. Many people find it a shame that lead singer Johnny Rotten (John Lyndon) has gone from Anarchy in the UK to advertising butter.
4. Iggy Pop Live 1977
Iggy Pop, lead vocalist of the band The Stooges, was a powerful musical force in the late 1970s. Inspired by Jim Morrison after watching The Doors in 1967, Iggy Pop would go on to become the first performer to do a stage dive. His band The Stooges broke up in 1976 and Iggy moved to West Berlin with David Bowie during his ‘Berlin Years’. This video is Iggy Pop, somewhat under the influence, performing his song ‘The Passenger’ live at The Apollo on 30th October 1977. This footage was recorded for Tony Wilson’s Granada show ‘And So It Goes’ and is now somewhat iconic, receiving over 9 million views on YouTube.
5. The Clash Live in 1977
The Clash were another band that was at the forefront of the punk revolution having formed in 1976. However, they outlived punk by adapting their style and breaking into the US market. They were on a UK tour in 1977 which saw them visit Manchester – this is them performing live at the Elizabethan Ballroom (Belle Vue) on 15th November 1977. Again, this footage was recorded for Tony Wilson’s Granada show ‘And So It Goes’ and is considered by many fans to be the best recording available of the band playing live.
6. The Smiths Live in 1983
The Smiths are another band that don’t really need introducing, with the enigmatic singer Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr being known all over the world. The band was formed in 1982 and soon signed to indie record label Rough Trade Records, where they released their first single ‘Hand in Glove’ in May 1983. This is a video of The Smiths performing live on 24th November 1983 at The Hacienda before they became a global success.
7. Madonna Live in 1984
Everybody knows who Madonna is, but there was once a time when she was unknown on these shores. Madonna became a solo artist in 1981 and built a following in New York city, which then branched out across the USA. In 1983 Madonna released her third single ‘Holiday’ which became her first global hit. On the back of this success, Madonna came to England and performed live on 27th January 1984 at The Hacienda. This footage was Madonna’s first performance in the UK and her second British TV appearance. The performance was recorded for the television show ‘The Tube’ which aired every Friday evening live on Channel 4. As we know, she went on to become a global superstar and one of the world’s most successful music artists.
8. Queen Live in 1986
In 1986, Queen were arguably the biggest and best band in the world. Formed in London in the late 1960s, the band hit the big time in 1975 when they released ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, which propelled them to stardom. In 1976 they played a free concert in London’s Hyde Park, which set an attendance record when it was confirmed that 150,000 people watched the gig. A year after their iconic performance at Live Aid they set off on their final world tour. The ‘Magic Tour’ saw them visit Manchester and perform live at Maine Road on 16th July 1986.
9. New Order Live in 1987
New Order formed after Ian Curtis’ death brought Joy Division to an end. They were successful from the start and in 1985 they released ‘Blue Monday’, which became the biggest-selling 12” single of all time. Off the back of this success, they helped to fund The Hacienda nightclub. One of the perks of owning the country’s best nightclub was being able to hold a gig there – this is New Order playing live at The Hacienda on the 10th June 1987.
10. Pink Floyd Live in 1988
At the peak of their powers, Pink Floyd were the best band in the world but they were arguably way past their peak in 1988. Some hardcore fans even say Pink Floyd ceased to exist after Roger Waters left the band in 1985. However, the name Pink Floyd did live on with the band being led by David Gilmour, and in 1987 they embarked on the ‘A Momentary Lapse of Reason’ world tour to support the album of the same name. The tour saw them roll into Manchester on 8th August 1988 and this is Pink Floyd performing their song ‘On The Turning Away’ live at Maine Road.
11. The Happy Mondays Live in 1990
The Happy Mondays formed in Salford in the early 1980s and rose to the peak of their powers during the ‘Madchester’ era, which saw The Hacienda, house music and ecstasy make the national headlines. This is the Happy Mondays performing live at the G-Mex on 25th March 1990.
12. James Live in 2001
James were formed in the 1980s and are one of Manchester’s most under-rated bands, although fans of James do rate them highly. Turbulent times between band members and life hindered their progress, but they released a few hits such as ‘Laid’ and ‘Sit Down’. This is James performing live at the Manchester Evening News Arena on 7th December 2001. This show was recorded for the live album and DVD, ‘Getting Away With It’.
13. Oasis Live in 2005
Oasis are the biggest band to come out of Manchester and made the ‘90s their own when they released ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?’, which became the 5th best selling album of all time in the UK after going 5x Platinum. The turbulent relationship between Liam and Noel Gallagher saw the band go through stormy waters in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, but the band enjoyed a resurgence in popularity towards the middle of the decade. This is a triumphant homecoming, with Oasis performing live at the City of Manchester stadium on 3rd July 2005.
14. The Stone Roses Live in 2012
In 2011, rumours of a Stone Roses reunion spread like wildfire and sent a buzz through the UK music scene. On 18th October 2011 the rumours were put to bed when the band called a press conference and announced a reunion was indeed happening, and the fifteen-year split of the band was over. They announced three homecoming shows at Heaton Park for June 2012; this is The Stone Roses performing live in Heaton Park on 29th June 2012 where 40 year old men became 20 again.
15. Alicia Keys Live in 2012
Alicia Keys has sold 35 million albums and 30 million singles worldwide, with Billboard magazine naming her the top R&B artist of the 2000s decade. On 24th September 2012,she performed a one-off special performance at Manchester Cathedral that was recorded for MTV’s World Stage show. The concert was free for 1,000 fans but attracted controversy when it was revealed Manchester City Council contributed £425,000 towards the concert during a time when jobs were being lost and budgets were being cut.
So as we can see from this list Manchester has always attracted the world’s biggest musical stars who came to the city and gave people a night to remember forever, long may this continue into the future.