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Exploring the 'Madchester' music scene of the '80s and '90s

The Smiths
Pete Cronin
Getty Images
The Smiths

From the late 1980s through the early '90s, the "Madchester" music scene was born out of rave club culture in Manchester, England. Combining rock, house, dance, electronic and psychedelic music, bands like Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses, New Order, 808 State and others garnered global music and pop cultural significance. The scene spawned The Hacienda, a nightclub that was the focus of the music scene, and Factory Records, an independent record label owned by Tony Wilson that signed many bands, including Happy Mondays and James. While many of the Madchester bands were from Manchester, not all the bands associated with the music of the scene were (Blur, Primal Scream and The Soup Dragons), and before and after the booming years of the dance music influenced bands, indie and punk bands from Manchester had an equally important influence on music both in the UK and globally — bands like The Fall, The Buzzcocks and The Smiths, to name a few.

World Cafe has put together a Manchester/Madchester 101 playlist. Listen to it below:

Copyright 2022 XPN

Bruce Warren is assistant general manager for programming of WXPN in Philadelphia. Besides serving as executive producer of World Café, Warren also contributes to Paste magazine and writes for two blogs: Some Velvet Blog and WXPN's All About The Music Blog.