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This Is Why Manchester Is the Greatest City on Earth

Picture of Ann Lee
Music Editor
Updated: 23 May 2017
Manchester’s music scene will always be the city’s glorious, thriving, beating heart.

Last night, that was decimated by the cowardly actions of a lone suicide bomber, who decided to target an audience full of children and teenagers at an Ariana Grande gig in Manchester Arena.

But it’ll take a lot more than one man to bring Manchester to its knees – this is a city that has given the world some of the greatest musicians that ever lived, created new genres of music now considered iconic, and was the birthplace of youth movements that changed history.

We love you, Manchester, and this is why you and your music will always be special to us.

1. The Smiths came from Manchester

Fronted by singer Morrissey, they are considered one of the most seminal bands of the British indie scene in the 80s.

2. It was the home of Factory Records

Created in 1978 by Tony Wilson, Alan Erasmus and others, the independent record label featured many influential Manchester bands on its roster, including Joy Division, New Order, A Certain Ratio and Happy Mondays.

3. The Sex Pistols did one of their first gigs there

The punk band’s legendary gig on June 4, 1976, at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall was only attended by 42 people but the small crowd was packed with future indie stars. Those rumoured to have been there include The Smiths’ Morrissey, The Fall’s Mark E Smith, Joy Division’s Bernard Sumner and New Order’s Peter Hook.

4. It created the Madchester scene

Led by The Stone Roses, the Manchester scene mixed together alternative rock with acid house culture, psychedelia and 60s pop.

5. It gave us the Bee Gees

It wasn’t all cool – indie, cheesy pop had its place too. Brothers Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb lived in Chorlton-cum-Hardy as teenagers.

6. And the Gallagher brothers

Yes, they’re gobby and really need to just kiss and make up. But let’s face it. The world would be much more boring if they didn’t exist. And we wouldn’t have ‘Wonderwall’.

7. It influenced Britpop

Britpop had its roots in the Madchester scene and was hugely influenced by The Smiths. If you were a 90s kid, your friendships were defined based on whether you were an Oasis or Blur fan. (Oasis was the right answer)

8. It has the second-busiest indoor music arena in the world

Manchester Arena is the second-busiest indoor arena in the world, ahead of Madison Square Garden in New York.

9. There are music venues to suit all tastes

Other venues include O2 Apollo Manchester, Albert Hall Manchester, The Deaf Institute, the Night and Day Café and Band on the Wall.

10 . Musicians love it so much they can’t stop singing about it

From The Stone Roses and Oasis, to Take That, musicians have long been inspired by the city and recorded their own tribute to it.

11. The people

Ever met a Mancunian? That lot stick together through thick and thin. They’re the kindest, most generous and loyal people you’ll ever meet.

We’ll leave you with the words of The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr.