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Northwest England

Musical Connections

Looking for a city that has everything – then look no further! Manchester remains one of Britain’s edgiest and friendliest cities. With fantastic nightlife,free events and festivals, great value places to stay and free entry to some of Britain’s best museums and galleries, a visit to Manchester won’t burn a hole in your pocket…

Joy Division, New Order, The Smiths, Happy Mondays, Stone Roses and Oasis… these are just some of the great bands to come out of Manchester.


Manchester is one of the world’s most innovative, original and exciting places for both making music and going out to listen to it. Here you can have it all: follow in the footsteps of Morrissey, look out for the next Happy Mondays or Oasis, enjoy world-class classical performances, or club it like there’s no tomorrow…

The Hollies, Herman’s Hermits, The Bee Gees…The Buzzcocks, The Fall, Joy Division…The Smiths, New Order, The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Oasis…Take That, Simply Red…Badly Drawn Boy, Elbow, Doves, The Courteeners…Manchester’s music scene has provided the soundtrack for generations of music fans. When The Sex Pistols played in Manchester in 1977, the likes of Factory Records, Joy Division emerged. The Smiths were the sound of the city for much of the eighties, while Madchester’s Happy Mondays and Stones Roses paved the way for Britpop kings Oasis.


Freddie and the Dreamers’ You Were Made For Me evokes the innocent optimism of the early 60s’ vibe. From Rusholme Ruffians to Cemetery Gates, every Smiths’ track is Manchester through and through. The Stone Roses’ Fool’s Gold and Oasis’ Live Forever express a very Mancunian talent for just having it.

Every autumn, Manchester hosts 'In The City'. Brainchild of Factory records founder Anthony Wilson, this five-day expo attracts over 500 unsigned bands.

          Did you know...?

1) The infamous Sex Pistols show at the Free Trade Hall was notoriously only seen by a handful of people but amongst them were the future members of Joy Division, Mick Hucknell from Simply Red, as well as Tony Wilson, the infamous founder of Factory Records and the Hacienda -  and subject of the recent film 24 Hour Party People.

2) The Smiths cover photo for the back of the classic The Queen is Dead album was taken outside the front of Salford Lad’s Club on Coronation Street, though no relation to the popular TV soap.

3) Justin Timberlake caused shopping chaos last year in Manchester’s city centre when the pop star  decided he wanted to buy some cool new trainers.

4) The Chemical Brothers formed at Manchester University in 1988 and here they developed their world famous DJing styles.

5) Ian Brown of local legends the Stone Roses and a proud Mancunian, famously said 'Manchester's got everything except a beach...'


Most Beatles fans are familiar with the town of Blackburn because it featured in their song 'A Day in the Life', from the Sgt. Peppers album, which was released in 1967. Lennon, while writing the song he was reading the 'Daily Mail', an English newspaper, and there were two stories that caught his attention, and references to them featured in the song. One of them was about an accident, involving Tara Browne and a friend of the Beatles, while the other was about plans of filling 4,000 potholes in Blackburn's streets.

Blackburn is a town, situated in Lancashire, England. During the industrial revolution, Blackburn was an important centre for the textile industry. Blackburn is also popularly known to be home to the Blackburn Rovers Football Club.


Immortalised in The Kinks' song Autumn Almanac, meanwhile the Blackpool Winter Gardens was the venue and site of a momentous Stone Roses gig in 1990. Blackpool is also England’s most popular seaside resort and have launched a new white-knuckle ride at the Pleasure Beach.


   Haigh Hall Country Park, Wigan

The Verve came out of Wigan and the culmination of their career was at this venue as it was the last time they appeared together on stage. Once the home of Earls and Lords, Haigh Hall is surrounded by 250 acres of park and woodland, with magnificent views across the Douglas Valley to the Welsh Hills and offers free access to the public. Concerts and events are still held here a free, all-day event showcasing the best unsigned bands from across Wigan Borough

In the City Festival, Manchester

Founded in 1992, this has become the music industry date in everyone's diary. By day, Manchester becomes home to the brightest and best in the business, as industry leaders debate the present and plot the future. And by night Manchester hosts the biggest city-based music.

Life Café &The Late Room, Manchester

A modern and stylish venue, which is a cafe bar by day and an intimate live music haunt at night. Up and coming bands are a hot favourite, whilst established ones such as Space, Stereophonics, Starsailor and Fun Loving Criminals have all appeared in the past.

Macclesfield Crematorium

Ian Curtis from Joy Division was buried at the Crematorium here in 1980. The memorial stone was erected by his wife and bears the words 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'.

Ian Kevin Curtis (15 July 1956 – 18 May 1980) was the vocalist and lyricist, as well as occasional guitarist and keyboardist, of the band Joy Division, which he joined in 1976 after meeting with Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook at a Sex Pistols gig.

Years after his death, critics and fans continue to write and discuss at length Curtis's music, as well as possible motivations and inspirations for his work. News of his suicide in 1980 spurred many rumours, further accelerating interest in his work and troubled life.

Manchester Academy

Located as part of the Manchester University campus and with good transport links, the Academy enjoys a long tradition of hosting gigs by bands of the moment. The Buzzcocks played the year it opened in 1990, whilst Simple Minds appeared in 2006 and all weird, wonderful and well-known have gigged in between.

Manchester Carling Apollo

A venue that has seen countless bands perform over the years, including greats like The Beatles, Queen and Prince. Headliners this year include new hot acts The Fratellis, James Morrison and Paulo Nutini to name just a few.


Manchester Evening News Arena

This huge state-of-the-art music venue has hosted a versatile range of world-famous sounds from Eminem to Pavarotti to Robbie Williams. It’s Europe’s largest indoor concert venue and has direct access to public transport, located next to Manchester’s Victoria station.

Night and Day, Manchester

A more intimate but basic venue for international and local acts; food and drink is also served and makes for a fairly relaxed atmosphere.

Piccadilly Records, Manchester

A treasure trove for music lovers and a monument to the city’s musical culture, selling punk, dance, rock, funk, electronica and loads more.

Piccadilly Records was born in 1978, was taken over by the present management in 1990 and moved up the road to their current location in Manchester's record shopping Mecca, the Northern Quarter in 1997

Salford Lads Club

Thousands of Smiths fans from around the world have made the pilgrimage to this building, which provided the background for the band on the inside cover of their classic album The Queen is Dead. Salford Quays injects a large dose of culture into Manchester, home to the impressive buildings of The Lowry gallery and the Imperial War Museum North.

Sifters Records Manchester

A record shop immortalised in the 1994 Oasis single, Shakermaker. This is where Noel and Liam Gallagher shopped for records as kids.

Southern Cemetery, Manchester

Believed to be the inspiration for the mis-spelled song Cemetry Gates by The Smiths on The Queen is Dead album.

Strangeways Prison, Manchester

Provided The Smiths with the title of their album Strangeways Here We Come and was famous for the rebellion that took place in 1990, which went on to create an initial liberalisation of the prison system.


The Roadhouse, Manchester

Located on the edge of The Northern Quarter, it’s just five minutes walk from plenty of decent watering holes and is a historic music venue attracting mainly Indie kids and the a new generation of trendy Indie-lovers. The Chemical Brothers, Feeder and Lady Sovereign are just some of the names to grace the stage.

Vinyl Exchange, Manchester

Even the most tight-fisted won’t leave Manchester’s largest second-hand music store empty-handed, it’s nirvana for music-lovers!
Vinyl Exchange opened in Manchester in the UK in 1988 and is now the largest seller and buyer of secondhand and rare CDs,
records and DVDs in the north-west of England, with an increasing global presence through our website.

The shop is at 18 Oldham Street, at the heart of Manchester's rapidly expanding Northern Quarter. This shop has two floors, with CDs on the ground floor and the basement dedicated mainly to vinyl.

They specialise in rare and collectible vinyl, rare CDs, promo CDs and memorabilia and have many rarities for sale both in the shop and online. They stock rare dance vinyl, classic dance vinyl, rare rock classics, rare CD singles and albums, hard to find promo CDs, many deleted or out of print items, as well as lots of current albums and singles on CD and vinyl at competitive prices.


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