When you think of Manchester music, you probably think Oasis, The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays and not quite the pop and Clubland-style bangers of the 90s and 00s. And really, we wouldn’t blame you.
But there are a ton or artists to come out of our great city, aside from the bucket hat wearing Madchester crowd, too with pop, dance, garage and house tracks from back in the day that are still played now.
So, here’s a selection of oldies, goldies and a couple of newbies to unlock the nostalgia of those forgotten nights and festival moments. Scroll to the playlist at the bottom to listen to them all.
LMC vs. U2 – Take Me to the Clouds Above
Forever a summer anthem in our eyes, the 2004 hit ‘Take Me to The Clouds Above’ by Manchester trio LMC was the most played track on UK radio at the time of its release. It peaked at number one in the UK charts for two consecutive weeks.
The song is actually a mash up of Whitney Houston’s 1986 hit ‘How Will I Know’ with a sample of U2’s ‘With or Without You’, which most people don’t know. Nor Whitney Houston or U2 were ever present when the song was recorded, but U2 are still listed as one of the song’s artists.
it became LMC’s most popular track of their own. But they’ve since produced for the likes of Avicii, Jessie J, New Order, Craig David and Jackson 5 – a seriously diverse catalogue if you ask me.
Sweet Female Attitude – Flowers
When Manchester duo Sweet Female Attitude released this garage classic in 2000, it landed itself in the top 40 biggest selling songs of the year and was awarded platinum certification with more than 600,000 sales and streams.
It’s experienced a resurgence in more recent years though, with multiple covers and samples bringing it back into our lives thanks to DJ Spoony, the Sugababes and by Nathan Dawe and Jaykae.
Unfortunately for them, it was dubbed a bit of a ‘one hit wonder’. But what a hit to bow out with.
Jonas Blue’s huge track ‘Perfect Strangers’ featuring vocals from JP Cooper went platinum in 2016 and Cooper’s solo single ‘September Song’ followed. You know them both too well, you couldn’t escape them on the radio – and you could probably instinctively still sing along to every word.
But, did you know JP is Mancunian?
Born and raised in little old Middleton, now the soulful singer boasts a whopping 11.6 million monthly listeners on Spotify. Go on, lad, for representing the boroughs.
Dario G – Sunchyme
Okay, Dario G actually formed in Cheshire but we’ll let that slide because it’s a banger. This summery one, ‘Sunchyme’, was the debut single from electronic music trio, released in 1997.
Now just one of the original members remain, Paul Spencer. He’s recently made a comeback in the charts working with the likes of Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne on his 2020 album, ‘Hola’ which got to number 3 in the UK Dance Album chart.
A proper summer classic. If you don’t think about drinking cocktails on a European beach whilst listening to this, there’s something wrong with you.
Chemical Brothers – Hey Boy Hey Girl
Forming whilst at Manchester Uni in the late 80s, the Chemical Brothers rose to fame in the 90s to become some of the ultimate pioneers of electronic music. The absolute belter that is ‘Hey Boy Hey Girl’ came in 1999, and remains (arguably) one of the most iconic dance tracks to grace the UK charts.
M People – Moving On Up
This one needs no introduction. The soulful sounds of M People have been around since 1990. You only need to hear the intro to ‘Moving On Up’ and it’ll be stuck in your head all day – oops, sorry.
But the name M People is taken from the first letter of the first name of band member Mike Pickering, who over the years has also become synonymous with the Haçienda years. Whilst in December 2016, Billboard ranked them as the 83rd most successful dance artist of all time with over 11 million records sold worldwide.
N-Trance – Set You Free
Originating in Oldham, N-Trance were one of the biggest-selling UK dance artists of the 90s and the legendary song ‘Set You Free’ is a certified clubland banger.
N-Trance’s Kevin O’Toole has said the song was inspired by a night out at the Haçienda a couple of years prior to producing the song. The first release of it only made it to number 39 in the Top 40 UK Charts in 1994 though. But a re-release in 1995 gave it a bump all the way to number 2. And rightly so because this is iconic stuff.
K-Klass – Rhythm Is A Mystery
K-Klass met in the 1980s at The Haçienda. They soon became known for their remixes of popular songs like . But the first hit of their own was ‘Rhythm Is A Mystery’ in 1991. It sort of flopped when it was first released, however upon a re-release later that year, it charted at number 3 un the UK singles chart.
Calvin Harris & Alesso – Under Control ft. Hurts
If this doesn’t bring back clubbing memories amongst the under 30s, then nothing will. Hurts provide the vocals on this monster dance track ‘Under Control’ produced by Calvin Harris and Alesso.
Made up of vocalist Theo Hutchcraft and instrumentalist Adam Anderson, Hurts formed in Manchester more than 10 years ago. And their debut album ‘Happiness’ in 2010 achieved platinum states thirteen times over across Europe.
Ben Pearce – What I Might Do
The debut single from Manchester producer Ben Pearce went straight to the top of Beatport’s Deep House chart. If you frequented the clubs on Deansgate Locks circa 2013, ‘What I Might Do’ one was played on repeat so this surely has to bring back some memories of £2 vodka and Red Bulls. This deep house track with bluesy vocals was – and still is – a personal fave.
Have a listen to them all below!
Featured image: Chemical Brothers/Getty Image Archive