LAST week when picking 10 of my favourite Scouse tunes, I claimed I couldn’t really get my head around Liverpool fans who don’t like music from Manchester.
If it’s a good tune, it’s a good tune – and, as Rakim once famously rapped, ‘It’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re at’.
On my Scouse list, I purposely left out records from the likes of Echo & The Bunnymen and the Beatles in order to try and make things slightly more original. With this Manchester Top 10, there’s no Manc equivalent of the Beatles to leave out – something which must kill them – but all the same, I think I actually found it harder to get this list down to 10 songs than I did with the Scouse tunes.
Anyway, here goes… my 10 favourite Manchester records; 10 songs that have helped soundtrack a Liverpool supporter’s life of loving music.
10. Badly Drawn Boy: Once Around The Block
I remember hearing about this singer with the weird name before I actually heard the tunes. I knew I’d like him just from reading early interviews and the first album is brilliant in my mind, this being the standout track. ‘Born in the UK’, off his fourth album (I think) is a quality British tribute to his hero Bruce Springsteen and only just missed out on this list.
9. A Guy Called Gerald: Voodoo Ray
This came out 23 years ago. I loved it then, just as I was getting into acid house, and still love it now. The absolute opposite of the trademark miserable Manchester sound of the time.
8. Oasis: Slide Away
I know it’s not fashionable to admit to liking Oasis – the Real People were better etc etc (yawn) – but I thought they were brilliant when they first came out. Yeah, they clearly ripped off the sound of all the bands that influenced them but at least they had the decency to be influenced by the greatest bands this country has ever produced. And, back to the tune, what an intro to a song. The fact it wasn’t deemed good enough to release as a single at the time says a lot about the quality of those early singles and their b-sides. ‘Morning Glory’ is superb too and could quite easily have made this list.
7. Doves: There Goes The Fear
‘Pounding’ and ‘Black and White Town’ are equally as good but I could only pick one tune from them and I’ve gone with this one. Cool band not unlike The Coral in their attitude to music – no fuss, no gimmicks, just top tunes.
6. Northern Uproar: Any Way You Look
I know I may get ridiculed for this particular choice because as everyone knows, Northern Uproar arrived at the arse end of Britpop and were only one step up from being a scruffy young Oasis tribute act. But, but… when all’s said and done, when the hype is over and Britpop is reduced to being the subject of one of those awful Channel 4 countdown shows with Stuart Maconie, you’ve got to take each song on its own merit and this tune holds its own in my eyes. Amazing vocal harmonies, great trumpets and a killer chorus. Can’t ask for much more than that from a three minute pop song.
5. Joy Division: Love Will Tear You Apart
I can take or leave the vast majority of the Joy Division back catalogue and don’t care much for any talk of Ian Curtis being some sort of musical genius but this is a tune. One of THE great openings to any single too.
4. The Stone Roses: (Song for my) Sugar Spun Sister
‘Screamadelica’ or ‘London Calling’ aside, I don’t think I’ve ever listened to an album more than I have ‘The Stone Roses’. As perfect an album as I think is possible to make – certainly to these ears – I could have picked any number of tunes off it: ‘This is The One’, ‘Waterfall’, ‘She Bangs The Drums’, ‘Made of Stone’, ‘Bye Bye Badman’… but I’ve gone for this one as I like the chorus.
3. Happy Mondays: W.F.L. (Think About The Future – Paul Oakenfold Mix)
Vastly underrated in my opinion, the Happy Mondays made far better music than I think they’re ever given credit for. They also knew how to have a laugh and enjoy themselves – something I can never imagine John Squire, for all his genius, doing. This tune, in a club slightly the worse for wear, just makes sense.
2. The Smiths: There is a light that never goes out
I can’t listen to this song without thinking of Hillsborough – maybe it’s the Liverpool flag with the title on it or the fact that one year, on April 15th, we put a photo of the memorial flame on the splashpage of the LFC website with words ‘There is a light that never goes out’ underneath it. Either way, it’s an unbelievably good tune. Noel Gallagher did a great version too at the Royal Albert Hall.
1.New Order: Vanishing Point
Recorded in Ibiza, listened to in Ibiza. When the piano kicks in after 50 seconds and the tune slows down at 3:30 before kicking in again, that, to me, is a band that understands house music and what people on a dancefloor want.
Fantastic selection! Glad picked one of first Stone Roses album.
So the Manchester/ Merseyside Beat album is a 2 cd, right? minus Atomic Kitten and Flock of Seagulls!
Bit of a lack of Elbow but apart from that good list!
Elbow, like Gary Neville are from Bury I believe…
Sometimes I think it’s hard to look (listen?) past the shortcomings of a lot of bands; for every listen to Johnny Marr’s glorious chiming acoustic guitar in “William, It Was Really Nothing” people will state how much of a twat Morrissey is for all the “Meat Is Murder” rants he makes. For every teary-eyed, euphoric (can’t say that word without thinking of Gabby Agbonlahor now: thanks a lot Kristian Walsh…), arms in the air response to the tremendous 8 minutes and 52 seconds of “I Am The Resurrection” you’ll remember how Ian Brown needs a slap for his awful, awful atonal live vocal drone like a Kazuki’d up karaoke failure. And for writing a song called A.D.I.D.A.S. (Just Like You) in order to get free trabs until kingdom come. (My effort P.U.M.A never really got the recognition it deserved…)
In this respect, the best Manchester bands of the last thirty years have a lot more to answer for than the best Merseyside bands of a similar time period. You wonder if someone like The Coral would have garnered more (richly deserved) column inches and subsequently sold many more records than they have if they’d been as obnoxious as the Gallagher brothers, as outspoken as Mani, even as self promoting as Bez or Shaun Ryder from the Mondays. The Doves might just be a case in point; a Manchester band quietly going about their business but as a result maybe not getting the wholehearted recognition that their brilliance deserves.
Still, I totally love The Smiths. Whenever I’d visit my brother or mate up in Fallowfield, getting the bus up from Oxford Rd station I’d inevitably start humming the bassline to “Rusholme Ruffians” as I went past the myriad restaurants of the “curry mile”. Andy Rourke is a brilliant bass player.
Also, you often see omitted from Manchester lists some more left-field options in the same way that Liverpool bands are assumed to be “Scouse-Rock” immediately. What about Mr Scruff? Delphic? Everything Everything?
Meandering drivel over.
Wouldv chosen 6 or 7 of the same artists from here too but not the same tracks.
Agree Elbow should be in also – such a talented group. and yeah they are Bury end round abouts.
And Badly Drawn Boy is from Bolton ;)
Good selection mind … would’ve put Stone Roses at Number 1
The Smiths – I Know It’s Over
my top mac tunes….
manc top 10
1. northside – my rising star
2. oasis – live forever
3. northern uproar – kicks
4. stone roses – she bangs the drums
5. charlatans – sproston green
6. world of twist – sons of the stage
7. beady eye – standing on the edge of the noise
8. happy mondays – step on
9. new order – bizzarre love triangle
10. morrisey – suedehead
scouse top 10
1. the maybes – summertime
2. the pies – this is your time
3. Rain – inside out
4. the farm – obviously
5. cast – alright
6. the farm – groovy train
7. the real people – believer
8. the las – there she goes
9 cast – fine time
10. the las – feeling
As much as I hate to say it, both of Joy Divisions albums (unknown pleasures and closer”) top any music that’s come from Liverpool. Not to mention singles like transmission and dead souls! I actually think love will tear us aprt let’s the rest of their catalogue down