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A design for the music culture of Cottonopolis.

A design for the music culture of Cottonopolis.

"This is Manchester, we do things differently here".

So said Tony Wilson, one of the founders of Factory Records. An independent record label that unwittingly set alight a new musical culture that impacted on Britain and the World. Our poster reflects some of the great bands and music that has been produced in Manchester, in which we've re-imagined 7" record sleeves in a quasi modernist style. Each inner label records the year of release, it's UK chart position and B side.

Made in Manchester music poster

Prior to the punk explosion of 1976 Manchester had effectively dabbled in musical chart success. A famous gig by the Sex Pistols at Manchester's Lesser Free Trade Hall was to prove a catalyst amongst a number of young Mancunians to go forth and form a band - mainly because talent and musical capability had been superseded by an attitude and energy. It took away the fear and presented opportunity to get up on a stage and be heard.

Made in Manchester music poster

That Pistols gig had been the brainchild of two young lads, Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto. They had formed the Buzzcocks in '76 and whilst Devoto found success with his band Magazine, it was Shelley who penned the classic punk/pop song Ever Fallen in Love (with someone you shouldn't have).

Joy Division

By 1978 a band forged from that Sex Pistols gig were making waves. Joy Division became an act that critics dropped into various musical categories, but the truth of the matter, was the band had a sound and identity that didn't require any assumptions. It was ugly and beautiful, soft and hard. 

They became the first band signed to Factory Records, set up by Tony Wilson's inheritance money and driven by Wilson's romanticised notion of spreading the word of independent music and the culture of Manchester itself. 

In 1980 Joy Division crafted the achingly melodic and lyrically inspired 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' - a song that has stood the test of time and sadly became an epitaph for lead singer Ian Curtis who took his own life just two months after the recording of the song.

Manchester and Factory Records started to become a beacon and inspiration for new Mancunian artists including another young man who saw the pistols gig - Stephen Patrick Morrissey, who alongside Johnny Marr formed The Smiths.

Made in Manchester music poster

Morrissey's laconic and wistful words and Marr's gift for riffs and epic intros brought the band worldwide success from 1983-87 - and of course, provoked lazy journalism into portraying the band as being a mirror image of Manchester's grey skies and introspection.

That cliché had to be re-thought when the Happy Mondays arrived on the scene.

Happy Mondays

The last real hurrah from Factory Records, the Mondays grew out of the euphoric dance scene that had engulfed clubs like The Hacienda - a club owned by Factory, which in turn engulfed what profits the label had enjoyed. The Happy Mondays created a Phil Spector style big sound that echoed in clubs and venues. 

Made in Manchester music poster

But the bands played on after Wilson, Factory and The Hacienda. New Order, spawned from Joy Division took electronica to new heights and played on. Oasis played on and grew into one of the biggest bands of all time and many more played on.

The Fall took lyrical surrealism to a new level and Doves once again, showed their distinctive melodic Mancunian (or greater Mancunian to be precise) style and The Chemical Brothers took beats per minutes and basslines very seriously.

And what do we have? A culture a forcefield, and attitude and uniqueness that is Manchester. It has football and it has music and it has a population of resilience, independence and inspiration.

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