It was 20 years ago today (so a song from Liverpool once started) that, not Sgt Pepper, but another man who taught bands how to play, tragically died.
Martin Hannett has been named as the creator of the Manchester sound, and indeed, under the name of Martin Zero he produced the seminal Spiral Scratch EP for Buzzcocks. Joy Division were a fairly raw sounding new wave punk band live- in the studio he transformed their sound, giving it space, and in Unknown Pleasures, helped deliver a very unique sounding album. Ironically, with The Happy Mondays ‘Bummed’ he did very little, allowing their ramshackle style to shine through- again a very unique sounding album.
He invested in Factory Records jointly with Anthony Wilson and designer Peter Saville, this partnership was to end sourly as Martin didn’t quite agree with the others optimism regarding the newly purchased Hacienda club.
He stormed out.
He was right. By the time the club was popular, club culture had taken over, water was being consumed, not booze, and the drug gangs ran the doors. The club made no money…
Watch 24Hour Party People- it’s vital for anyone with an interest in Factory/ Manchester/ Madchester etc.
His life spiralled into decline due to Heroin addiction and at the young age of 42, ballooning to reportedly 26 stone, he died of heart failure.
He was a genius.
One of my favourite Joy Division tracks
And some insightful footage…