Top Manchester Bands

Published on 06 November 2020

What's the first thing you think of when you think about the great city of Manchester? 


London of the North? 

Coronation St? Hmm...

For us, when we think about Manchester, we think of all the fantastic, pioneering artists that create that legendary 'Manchester Sound'. 

The Manchester sound is simply unmistakable. What's so special about the Manchester sound is that you know exactly what it is, but at the same time, you can't really put your finger on what it actually is. Over the years, the iconic sound has become a melting pot of alternative rock, with elements of rave, psychedelia, acid house, chip butties, bucket hats and 1960s pop. Yup, that sure is one bubbling cauldron of ingredients but it sure tastes mighty fine to us. 

Today, we're celebrating the music that has left an indelible mark on the global music scene. Manchester and its surrounding areas have blessed us with so many amazing artists and bands, but we've whittled this list to a few of our favourites. 

Happy Mondays

You're twisting my melon man. During their heyday, Manchester rockers, the Happy Mondays, were equally known for their controversy as their music. Formed in the Greater Manchester area of Salford in 1980, the Happy Mondays music bridged the city's independent 80s rock music and the emerging UK rave scene; driving influence from house, funk and psychedelia. Sonically, their music was a bit of a hodgepodge, mixing the sound and rhythm of house music, with 70's soul licks with lyrics that referenced pop culture, drug slang and sexuality. But, hey. It worked! 



With a band name specific to Manchester slang, these punk rockers established the foundation for an entire genre of music. From their raw round to their own independent music label, this band changed the parameters for mid-seventies Mancunian musicians, as they strayed away from standard routines to create their own scene. Some Manchester bands disappear just as quickly as they emerged onto the scene, but the Buzzcocks continue to release new music and tour across the world - making their hometown of Manchester proud! 

The Smiths

What would this blog about Manchester bands be without mentioning The Smiths? It goes without saying that The Smiths’ were one of the greatest rock bands ever and dominated the Mancunian music scene in the early 80’s. Frontman Morrisey’s lead vocals and Johnny Marr’s innovative riffs were a true match made in music heaven. Despite having broken up as a band almost 40 years ago, they continue to inspire new generations of musicians today and still have a die hard, devoted fan base.



In the midst of emerging post-Brit-pop acts like Elbow and Coldplay, along came Mancunian Indie Rock trio, Doves. The band entered onto the scene with a bang, earning a Mercury Prize nomination for their debut album, Lost Souls, in 2000. 


Inspiral Carpets

Hailing from the Greater Manchester town of Oldham, the Inspiral Carpets merged onto the late 80s/early 90s "Madchester" scene, bringing organ drenched, trippy psychedelia alternative rock tunes to the table. The band gained commercial success with the release of "This is How it Feel" in March 1990. 


The Stone Roses

We all wanna be adored. Before there was Oasis, there was The Stone Roses. Despite only having two studio albums, modern music has a lot to thank for The Stone Roses for. With Ian Brown's no-messing attitude, the great tones of John Squire, and their instantly recognisable sound, The Stone Roses were determined to modernise the Manchester music scene. 



And last but certainly not least. Yup, this one is pretty obvious but it would have been a real crime not to feature the forever rowing Manc brothers. With Liam and Noel's loud-mouth, fiesty personas matched with their distinctive Mancunian accent, Oasis naturally had the perfect recipe that set them apart from other bands in the mid-nineties alternative landscape. Not forgetting the drama and bitterness that fueled the band. 

Also, can we talk about this music video for a second? How cool! 


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