Local Manchester, UK Music Scene
Since the 1980s Manchester has transformed from an industrial hub to a more suburban city. The local music scene of Manchester is known for many international success stories starting in the sixties with acts such as John Mayall, The Hollies, Herman's Hermits, Freddie & The Dreamers and Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders. Manchester was actually the home of The Bee Gees until they relocated to Australia. Davy Jones of The Monkees also came from Manchester. The seventies produced acts such as 10CC, Buzzcocks, Sweet Sensation and Joy Division. Since then it has produced many acts that ranged from mainstream to cutting edge such as The Smiths, Happy Mondays, New Order, Pete Shelley, Swing Out Sister, When In Rome, Simply Red, Inspiral Carpets, Stone Roses, James, Lisa Stansfield, The Verve, Oasis, Northside, N-Trance, The Doves and The Chemical Brothers.
The image of Manchester's music community is one of the strongest in the UK, even though it's only the ninth largest city in the nation by population. The city population has grown by over 20 percent in the past decade and attracts tourism the same way London does. Historically, Manchester has been considered one of the first big cities of the industrial revolution. One can argue that it is the birthplace of the modern industrialized world. The city has a rich variety of art galleries in addition to music venues. Some of the most well known local venues include Manchester Metropolitan Students Union, The Lowry, Roadhouse, Ruby Lounge, Manchester Academy, Old Trafford and Heaton Park.
One of the key highlights in the history of Manchester music was the rise of the punk movement. In June 1976 the Sex Pistols and members of the Buzzcocks performed at Lesser Free Trade Hall. Even though the crowd was small, it encompassed people who would go to become prominent in the local scene, such as Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Morrissey, producer Martin Hannett and future journalist Paul Morley. The punk scene began to manifest in the 1976-1977 era, taking a more aggressive and political stance than American punk music, which had developed a few years earlier.
Factory Records played a seminole role in the history of the Manchester underground music scene. The label was heavily influenced by the city's heritage industrial imagery. The key artist to bring the label notoriety was Joy Division, which transformed into New Order. A more enduring act that further elevated the label was The Smiths, in which Morrissey sang songs about Manchester such as "Suffer Little Children." By the late 1980s a new scene had developed known as "Madchester," driven by bands such as Happy Mondays, as documented in the film 24 Hour Party People. These bands performed at The Hacienda night club, which Newsweek Magazine called the most famous club in the world. The club, which lasted from 1982 to 1997, was owned by Facory Records and the band New Order.
In the 21st century the city's biggest venue is Manchester Evening News Arena with a capacity of over 20,000. The venue is one of the top revenue generating arenas in Europe. It originally opened in 1995 and has been the place to see big name music acts. Simply Red proved to be a huge draw playing three consecutive nights in January 1996. One of the biggest fundraising events at the Arena was "Children in Need Rocks Manchester" in November 2011. The event raised over $2.5 million pounds for the BBC charity.
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