"For a heady period either side of 1990, Manchester became Madchester and its bands ruled the airwaves. Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets, A Guy Called Gerald... Big and baggy, dance meets indie, acid house and rave."
For a heady period either side of 1990, Manchester became Madchester and its bands ruled the airwaves. Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets, A Guy Called Gerald... Big and baggy, dance meets indie, acid house and rave. The city's mecca was the Hacienda, run by Factory Records and its late, great founder, Tony Wilson.
Before them were The Smiths, The Fall and Joy Division; afterwards came Oasis. Manchester made them all. And though the Hacienda is long gone, many landmarks from those bands' careers remain, where the ghosts of music past will 'live forever'. Craig Gill, drummer with the legendary Inspiral Carpets, who still tour occasionally, co-runs Manchester Music Tours, which takes in the sights and sounds of the city's musical heritage. Craig, having worked with most of Manchester's musical luminaries, is undoubtedly a man in the know.
There's a walking tour of the city centre - from the Free Trade Hall, where Tony Wilson's life was transformed when he saw the Sex Pistols, to India House, where Noel Gallagher once lived - as well as three tailored tours by vehicle, taking in the old haunts of Oasis, The Smiths or Joy Division.
Or you could always try a little DIY walk of your own. Start at Manchester Piccadilly station and walk out into Whitworth Street. In a couple of minutes you'll hit Sackville Street, immortalised by Inspiral Carpets on their debut album track, Sackville ('When you stand in Sackville/It's a different world from the one you knew/where little boys meet little girls').
Turn right and soon you'll see Bloom Street on your left. Down there is The Ritz music venue where The Smiths played their first gig. The venue also hosted the likes of The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays (as well as The Beatles): the perfect spot for a quick photo opportunity. After that, walk down to the end of Bloom Street, turn left and rejoin Whitworth Street.
Turn left and keep going. Within10 minutes, Albion Street will cross in front of you. To your right, is the site of the Hacienda, now the Hacienda Apartments. There, where the well-heeled now reside, Madchester reigned, and the likes of The Smiths, the Mondays, Oasis, New Order and Madonna performed.
Turn left onto Albion Street. Shortly, on your right, you'll see Little Peter Street, site of the legendary Boardwalk club, where Oasis rehearsed their debut album, Definitely Maybe, and played their first gigs. A hop, skip and a jump ahead is Jordan Street and Knot Mill, where Joy Division recorded a promo video for Love Will Tear Us Apart.
If you've any energy left, here's one final suggestion for a quick 10-minute stroll.
Return to Whitworth Street, turn left and walk to the end. Turn right onto Chester Road then left onto Liverpool Road. Up there is the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), where you'll find relics from the Hacienda: guest lists, building design plans, posters, flyers... and the doors from the club's original loading bay! Priceless.
Make a weekend of it...
Turn a day of pop nostalgia into a memorable music-themed weekend
Check out the Madchester memorabilia on the walls of the Hard Rock Café, as you tuck into American-influenced eats.
Info: Hard Rock Café, Exchange Square. hardrock.com, 0871 230 5338
Sup in the legendary urban-cool Dry Bar, originally owned by Factory Records, with Roses and Mondays gig posters on the walls, DJs and occasional live music.
Info: Dry Bar, 28 Oldham Street. myspace.com/drybar201, 0161 236 9840
The current Factory organisation, headed by New Order's Peter Hook,
is a big fan of the Malmaison hotel, situated in a converted warehouse.
Info: Malmaison, Piccadilly. malmaison-manchester.com, 0161 278 1000
Manchester-born Marc Riley is a bit of a music legend. Best known as one half of radio DJ duo Marc & Lard, he's now presenting his own show on BBC 6 Music. We asked him to tell us his favourite Manchester music venues...
The Deaf Institute
'I love this place. Not too dark, not too bright, good music and a good selection of drinks. Upstairs is one of the best venues I've ever been in. The building actually used to be a Deaf Institute - there was some opposition to keeping the name - but it isn't trying to be facetious. It's even written in stone over the door.'
The Briton's Protection
'Great pub, great atmosphere, good ale. Legend has it that decades ago it used to be a regular haunt for fascists - presumably because of its name. Thankfully it's usually full of well-rounded people, and often musicians from the nearby Hallé Orchestra.'
The Temple of Convenience
'It's a bit unsettling walking into a bar and knowing I've emptied my bladder down there on numerous occasions. This isn't down to a medical condition - as its name suggests, the Temple used to be a Victorian loo. It's always bustling and the staff are great.'