Vinyl record spinning, photo by: Hernán Piñera (flickr)

Manchester’s most influential music: who would you rate?

Over the decades Manchester has produced some phenominal music and sparked the interest of the youth growing up here and throughout the nation.

Bands such as Elbow and the Courteeners display the talents of the modern Manchester music scene as well as inspire up and comers such as Corella. But the city’s reputation for weaving words and writing riffs didn’t come from nowhere.

Here are the Northern Quota picks for the five most influencial albums to come out of Manchester:

Definitely Maybe (1994) / OASIS

Today Noel and Liam won’t go near one another, but take a look back at where they both got their start and it’s a testament to what can be achieved when they work together.

Straight out of the gate Oasis crafted a near flawless masterpiece, full of unofficial national anthems that became the soundtrack to a generation’s coming-of-age and in the eyes of the world made Britain Cool again.

Do eyes up and down the country role whenever someone sings Live Forever at the karaoke? Maybe. But have these songs transcended the years to cement themselves in musical greatness? Definitely.

The Stone Roses (1989) / THE STONE ROSES

Eighties Manchester was caught between the legacy of Factory Records along with the bowing out of The Smiths and the emerging club scene of the future, soon to be coined ‘Madchester’. No band or album did more for bridging this gap and establishing the sound of Manchester than The Stone Roses with their eponymous debut album.

The strange friction between old and new that gives this album it’s unique sound is also what contributes to its longevity and influence. Noel Gallagher even openly admitted “without that band there would have been no Oasis”.

A shame then that their second album sacrificed this hazy pop sound in favour of dirty blues rock. By no means awful, but not coming close to reaching the lofty bar they set themselves.

The Smiths (1984) / THE SMITHS

Say what you want about Morrisey today, but on The Smiths’ self-titled first album, his refusal to play pop’s game by weaving lyrics with themes of child abuse, the Moors Murders, sexual politics and freely quoting literature, accompanied by a stellar guitar courtesy of Johnny Marr it’s no surprise that many of The Smiths’ songs became anthems for the rebellious counter culture of the 1980s.

From This Charming Man to What Difference Does it Make?, track after track would live in infamy for negotiating the political climate of the time and remain in the collective psyche of the nation for decades to come.

Unknown Pleasures (1979) / JOY DIVISION

 Before the Roses, before the Gallagher brothers, and before Morrisey there was Joy Division. Front man Ian Curtis’ end was untimely and like the lyrics he wrote, tragic.

But despite their short run of just under five years, the gloomy Manchester quartet from a Salford industrial estate managed to produce some of the most hauntingly beautiful songs in the history of music.

They created an altogether unique sound that combined rattling drums and a claustrophobic, waving guitar with Curtis’ deep baritone, almost begging for comfort that truly mirrored the depression and bleakness found in the late 1970s North of England and that still hangs in the brains of its disenfranchised youth to this day.

Urban Hymns (1997) / THE VERVE

After several failed LPs and break ups through the mid ‘90s, The Verve finally found success in an entirely new formula. Mixing sweeping orchestral pieces in with punchy classic rock side by side, topped with lyrics filled with life’s problems and ponderances, Urban Hymns became one of the best-selling albums in UK chart history.

From the ironic appeal of The Drugs Don’t Work to those coming down from a decade of drug fuelled, underground, EDM raves, to adults with responsibilities connecting to Bittersweet Symphony, the strange mixture managing to be both effortlessly cool while still remaining vulnerable.

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