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Top 10 Bands From Manchester

Written by Q.V. Hough Now then, these Born and bred Manchester bands are proper mint. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Bands from Manchester. For this list, we’re focusing on the most iconic Manchester bands that keep fans skriking with excitement all over the world. Special thanks to our user Henners250 for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Bands+From+Manchester

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Top 10 Bands from Manchester

Now then, these Born and bred Manchester bands are proper mint. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Bands from Manchester.

For this list, we’re focusing on the most iconic Manchester bands that keep fans skriking with excitement all over the world.

#10: The Fall

Named after a 1956 Albert Camus novel, this Prestwich collective is by far one of the most influential bands from the late 70s Manchester scene. With their debut album “Live at the Witch Trials,” The Fall introduced their innovative aesthetic, blending punk with an intellectual slant. Despite the band’s local influence throughout the early 80s, the perpetually changing lineup and underground commitment meant that Americans never truly experienced “The Fall.” But, the group has remained a highly productive Manchester product, with Mark E. Smith keeping fans buzzing since 1979.

#9: The Verve

In the United States mainstream, most people know this Wigan band for their 1997 hit “Bitter Sweet Symphony.” And with good reason, too, as The Verve’s Britpop sound made them the next big thing back then, or so it seemed. Richard Ashcroft and company weren’t one-hit wonders, yet their internal bickering broke them apart shortly after receiving a Grammy nod. However, their early 90s run added a new chapter to the Manchester rock narrative, as The Verve combined immaculate artistry with explosive live show. As a result, these blokes had the best of times, along with the worst.

#8: The Chemical Brothers

Inspired by a variety of eclectic artists, this trip hop duo provided a thumping soundtrack for the early 90s Manchester rave scene. Originally known as the “Dust Brothers,” Ed Simons and Tom Rowlands became synonymous with the “Big Beat” sound, which made them a local act with immense worldwide appeal. Unsurprisingly, The Chemical Brothers haven’t always topped the U.S. charts with their Euro-centric sound, but they continue to dominate the UK charts. And so, they’re the Manchester connection for pre- and post-internet electronic music, swear down.

#7: New Order

After the 1980 death of Ian Curtis, the English band Joy Division came to an abrupt end after only four years. The surviving members formed New Order - a group of Manchester lads that became instrumental to the worldwide New Wave scene. With 1981’s “Movement,” they established a new identity locally, all the while creating a new fanbase with their emotional connection to the material. New Order’s reputation alone makes them Manchester legends, but they also inspired countless musicians with their sound and commitment over the years, enhancing the legacy set by the original lineup.

#6: Elbow

Since the early 21st century, this Ramsbottom quartet has transformed into of the most successful Manchester bands. In 2001, Elbow released their long-awaited debut album, “Asleep in the Back,” building upon the prog rock sound that Radiohead developed throughout the 90s. Fronted by Guy Garvey, they’ve become one of indie rock’s most consistent groups, reaching even more fans through spectacular live shows. In 2012, Elbow recorded the BBC’s official musical theme for the London Summer Olympics, highlighting their versatility as a band while also demonstrating their significance within British culture, and certainly within their native Manchester.

#5: Buzzcocks

With a name specific to Manchester slang, these punk rockers established the foundation for an entire genre of music. From their raw sound to their own independent label, the Buzzcocks changed the parameters for mid-70s Manchester musicians, as they strayed from standard routines to create their own scene. Formed by Howard Devoto and Pete Shelley, the Buzzcocks are synonymous with punk rock’s early days, even though they continue to release new music and tour throughout the world. Some Manchester bands emerge and quickly fade away, but this group has proven to be one of punk rock’s most enduring and respected acts, making their native Manchester proud.

#4: Oasis

Just as the American grunge was taking off overseas, with the 1994 release of their debut album “Definitely Maybe,” Oasis established a loyal fan base domestically, topping the UK charts. On top of that, Liam and Noel Gallagher’s feisty personas and distinct Mancunian accents set them apart in the landscape of mid-90s alternative music, and the mainstream was undoubtedly “mad fer it.” So, in terms of 90s pop culture, there’s perhaps no other band more relevant than Oasis, and they continued on well into the 2000s until they put out their own burning fire.

#3: Joy Division

In the late 70s, this band changed the Manchester sound by incorporating punk ideals with a new wave aesthetic. Given the unique stage presence of lead singer Ian Curtis, Joy Division naturally had locals talking, yet they still had to grind away for more gigs. Unfortunately, Curtis took his own life at only 23 years of age, two months before the release of Joy Division’s sophomore release and a subsequent trip to the U.S. The surviving members established a new vision –a New Order – and so, Joy Division’s legacy continues to be felt throughout Manchester and beyond.

#2: The Stone Roses

Before there was Oasis, there was The Stone Roses; a band that once said, “America doesn’t deserve us yet.” They inspired a world of musicians with their 1989 debut, and made an even bigger statement with 1994’s “Second Coming” But like so many idealistic rock bands, Ian Brown and his Manchester mates just couldn’t keep it together for the long haul. As a result, The Stone Roses left their international fan base wanting more, and they remain a Manchester group that couldn’t quite crossover into the American mainstream. Even so, they’re Manchester legends, despite releasing only two studio albums.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.


Happy Mondays

Inspiral Carpets

#1: The Smiths

When punk reached the United States mainstream in the early 80s, these introspective musicians were transforming the Manchester scene. Fronted by the extraordinary Steven Patrick Morrissey – an accomplished songwriter, performer and philosopher – The Smiths broke through with their satirical takes on pretentious UK society. Beyond that, however, international listeners could identify with the lyrical concepts, without necessarily needing to understand the literal framework. As a result, The Smiths’ earned a cult following, staying true to themselves and playing by their own rules. They didn’t survive the 80s, but they’re still “our kids.”

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