(b. 1966) Lisa Stansfield was born in Manchester on 11th April 1966 in Heywood near Rochdale. Since she first came on the music scene in 1989 with a style heavily influenced by Diana Ross & The Supremes, she has sold over ten million records world-wide and had numerous top ten singles. Her talent was evident from her earliest days and she won a Manchester Evening News Talent Contest at the age of 14, held at The Talk Of The Town club in Manchester city centre. She then went on to appear on the TV show ‘Razzamatzz’ at the age of 15. In 1983, she formed “Blue Zone” with former school mates, Andy Morris (later to be her husband) and Ian Devaney; subsequently she was signed up by Arista Records. A series of record successes followed, including in 1989, ” People Hold On” which reached Number 11 on the UK charts and won Lisa a contract as a solo act. Notable Stansfield record hits included ‘This Is The Right Time’, which reached Number 13 in the UK charts in 1991, and “All Around The World” – a UK Number One hit (No.3 in USA). Other hits followed, including “Down in the Depths”, “Real Love”, “Change,” “All Woman,” “Time To Make You Mine”, “Set Your Loving”, “These Are The Days Of Our Lives”, “So Natural” , and “In All The Right Places”. Currently she still works on and produces albums, though perhaps not quite so much in the limelight as she had been in the early 1990s.
(b. 1943) Born Clive Powell in Leigh, Greater Manchester, on 26th June 1943, Georgie Fame began playing the piano at an early age for various local groups, including The Dominoes (named after his hero, Fats Domino), before his family moved to London in 1959. He was “discovered” by, Lionel Bart, (songwriter, best known for the musical “Oliver” ) when he spotted Georgie as an outstanding 16 year old. Bart introduced him to his own manager, Larry Parnes, who immediately signed the youngster, renaming him Georgie Fame in the process. Georgie went on to piano in many of Larry Parne’s backing bands accompanying stars like Marty Wilde and Vince Eager before joining Billy Fury’s “The Blue Flames” 1961. When Billy Fury replaced The Blue Flames with The Tornadoes, Georgie decided to continue the original band himself, and managed to secure a contract as the resident musicians at The Flamingo Jazz Club in London where they soon built up a large loyal following, which in part helped earn them a recording contract with EMI 1963. Records have included their debut album, “Rhythm & Blues At The Flamingo” followed by “Rhythm & Bluebeat”, “Fame At Last “, (which reached No 15 in the UK Album Charts in 1964). His best known hit was “Yeh Yeh” which reached UK Number 1 (it reached No.21 in USA) and sold over a million copies, knocking The Beatles’ “I Feel Fine” off the Number One position – nom mean feat at that time. Other music included hit single “In The Meantime”, “Like We Used To Be” and “Something” . Georgie’s second UK Number 1, “Getaway” came in 1965. Fame broke up The Blue Flames in 1966 to pursue a solo career. As a soloist he produced “Because I Love You” which reached No.15 in the UK charts, “Try My World”, “Sound Venture” , (Number 9 in the UK), “Hall Of Fame” (Number 12), “Two Faces Of Fame”, “The Ballard of Bonnie & Clyde” (December 1967), “The Third Face Of Fame”, “By The Time I Get To Phoenix”, “Peaceful” and many others. In 1971 he teamed up with organist Alan Price (ex-“Animals” member) but their album “Fame and Price” failed and the partnership was short-lived and ended in 1973. He went on to reinstate The Blue Flames but it was only a shadow of its former sense and failed to achieve any recognition. Disappearing from the public eye, Georgie even took to writing jingles for television advertisements – little has been seen of him recently although he has contributed to other bands recordings in a minor or background role.
(b. 1941) Roy Harper, born 12 June 1941 in the Rusholme district of Manchester, is considered by many to be one of the greatest British songwriters of all time. His guitar work has influenced many notable musicians, including Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull. His early career was dogged by controversy, including nervous breakdown and spells in Lancaster Moor Mental Institute, and in jail as a result of climbing St Pancras Railway Station clock tower in London. At the age of 15, had left home to join the RAF (lying about his age), and performed skiffle music at camp concerts. In 1964, after leaving prison, he backpacked around the world, busking in Africa, Europe and London, before moving into the folk clubs where his opportunity came to record his first album. His 1966 album, “The Sophisticated Beggar”, included “Committed” , a song which celebrated his mental condition. The album attracted the attention of Columbia Records, for whom he went on to record “Come Out Fighting Ghengis Smith” in 1967. His reputation quickly grew as a result of albums which followed, including “Folkjokeopus” , in 1969, “Flat Baroque and Berserk” in 1970, and one of his most abiding and memorable tracks, “Another Day” released later in cover versions by Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush and the Cocteau Twins (under the name “This Mortal Coil” ). Led Zeppelin paid tribute to his music on their album, “Led Zeppelin III” with “Hats Off To Harper” , and in 1971 Jimmy Page of that group played guest guitar in Harper’s “Stormcock” album. Other albums followed, including “Valentine” (UK number 27), the live double album “Flashes From The Archives Of Oblivion” , a guest appearance on Pink Floyd’s “Wish You were Here” album singing the track “Have a Cigar” . Later came his own “HQ” album, “The Unknown Soldier” and “Work Of Heart” . Overwork and a life of excess resulted in his collapse on stage, and a temporary break from music to recuperate. Back in 1977, he produced the “Bullinamingvase” album, and “One of Those Days in England” which reached UK Number 25. Disagreement between Harper and his recording company was to result in virtually no music released by him for more than a decade after the “Roy Harper 1970-1975” album. “The “Commercial Breaks” album was eventually released in 1994. In 1991 his son Nick became a part of Harper’s touring band. This was followed by “Death Or Glory?” in 1992 and “The Dream Society” in 1998.
Sad Caf�/Paul Young/Mike & the Mechanics
Sad Caf� were formed in 1976 when two Manchester bands ( “Gyro” and “Mandala Band” ) merged together. The original line-up included vocalist Paul Young, guitarists Ian Wilson and Ashley Mulford, bassist John Stimpson, Vic Emerson (keyboards) and drummer Tony Cresswell. Lenni (saxophone), was also a session player on the first album. Their debut album, “Fanx Ta Ra” , failed to attract attention at all. It was to be their second album, “Misplaced Ideals” that would bring international success, particularly in America. Though this album still included Tony Cresswell as drummer, on completion he left the band to be replaced by David Irving. By 1979, British successes started to Come. Their Number 3 single “Every Day Hurts” from the third album, “Facades” was produced by 10cc’s Eric Steward and recorded at Strawberry Studios in Stockport. From this album also appeared a UK Top 40 singles ” Strange Little Girl” and “My Oh My” . The album “Sad Caf�” in 1980 failed to achieve the success for which they had hoped, and management was changed, with John Stimpson taking over as a result, replacing himself as bass player with Dave Tong for the 1981 ‘Ole’ album. The “Sad Caf� – Live” album followed later that yea, but also failed to capture the public’s admiration, and the band declined from that time on. Paul Young went on to join Mike & The Mechanics in 1985 and made a short but successful solo career, though he did return to Manchester in 1986 to reform Sad Caf� with Ian Wilson and new bassist Michael Byron-Hehir for their album “Politics Of Existence” . With Mike & the Mechanics the “Living Years” album was a huge success reaching Number 2 in the UK charts and Number 1 in the US. Paul Young went on to enjoy massive success with his other projects, both under his own name and with Mike & the Mechanics before he died suddenly aged 53 years of a heart attack in Manchester in July 2000.
Morrissey & The Smiths
For most of the 1980s, Manchester, and much of the British popular music scene, was dominated by one group, The Smiths, acclaimed as the most important group in Britain in the 1980s. Formed in 1982 as a songwriting partnership by Steven Patrick Morrissey (known simply as “Morrissey” ) and Johnny Marr. Later they were joined by drummer, Simon Wolstencroft, later replaced by Mike Joyce, and Andy Rourke (bass). The lead singer, Morrissey, was a role model and idol for teenagers. His simple, often banal music and lyrics stood out against commercialism, image and consumerism. Morrissey was shy and reclusive, despite the adulation of the cult following he engendered. Many later groups modelled themselves on The Smiths. Music and albums include :
Strangeways Here We Come
Hatful of Hollow
Meat is Murder
The Queen is Dead
Louder Than Bombs
The Charming Man
Suffer Little Children
In the last few years Morrissey has returned to public performing after a considerable period out of the limelight. There are recurrent rumours that The Smiths may one day reform.
The Stone Roses
An initially controversial group, boycotted by local media for their “yobbo pop band punk” image. Appeared in 1985 in local venues like the Boardwalk and the Ha�ienda . The band explained their enigmatic name : “Something hard and something pretty; something noisy but tuneful”. Overtly Mancunian, streetwise and direct, the group included Ian George Brown, John Squire, Alan John Wren (“Reni”), Andy Couzens and Pete Garner. By 1989 they had reached number 4 in the music charts and were by then a national phenomenon. Major albums and songs include :