6. Manchester, England
Manchester has an unwanted reputation of being a city where it never stops raining.
While this tag is clearly an exaggeration, it’s just as well that it has produced some of the finest- and most influential- rock and electronica ever put to tape.
The Hollies were an early export of British Invasion rock, but Manchester really made its name as an important musical city in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The Buzzcocks emerged from the city’s fledgling punk scene, and the celebrated Factory Records was set up by local entrepreneur Tony Wilson.
Soon after the moody, post-punk of the seminal Joy Division and the perverted rantings of Mark E Smith’s equally important The Fall began to make their mark on critics and audiences alike.
Ian Curtis’ suicide in 1980 would lead to the end of Joy Division and formation of New Order, and signal the birth of a more hedonistic, rave orientated scene, which would fully emerge in the late 1980s and be spearheaded by the appropriately wasted Happy Mondays.
The early to mid 1980s also saw one of Britain’s most beloved cult bands, The Smiths, make their grand entrance out of Salford. Morrissey & Marr’s songs would become cherished by so many, and critics rushed to herald them the McCartney & Lennon of their generation.
The Stone Roses would breakthrough with swagger in the late 1980s also, but were more influential in the emergence of guitar-based Britpop in the 1990s than with the Hacienda rave scene. The grossly inferior Oasis followed in their footsteps a few years later to become one of the biggest bands in the world, if nowhere near one of the best.
These days, Manchester and its musical legacy continues to inspire fans and musicians across the world- even if the current crop of bands do not live up to its glorious past.
Associated acts: The Hollies, The Fall, Joy Division, New Order, The Smiths, Morrissey, Buzzcocks, Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses, Oasis, Beady Eye, A Certain Ratio, James, Ian Brown, Slaughter & The Dogs, Electronic
Landmarks: The Hacienda (now flats), Salford Lad’s Club, Free Trade Hall (front façade remains)