A little over thirty years ago, a wave of British Rock and Roll dance artists led a brief but amazing music scene based in Northern England. #madchester #baggy
Several decades ago, a small but eventually highly influential music scene was brewing in the northern English city of Manchester,, just slightly northeast of the famous town of Liverpool. Isolated somewhat from London, where the majority of new music trends initially gestate in England, a new breed of Rock-oriented dance music was taking hold.
A Map of the U.K. and Ireland illustrating the geographic location of Manchester. Courtesy of http://www.worldeasyguides.com
This scene was a merging of the dual burgeoning acid house and alternative rock movements in England. There had been a growing British Rock base in England that was based there, featuring such acts as the Smiths and New Order, as well as featuring the base of the now-famous Hacienda Club, owned by Manchester-based label Factory Records.
The Stone Roses, 1989, photo by Steve Double.
The big change, however, was the introduction of psychedelic drugs into the scene in 1987, most notably MDMA (a.k.a. ecstasy or molly), with an effect on that scene much like LSD was in San Francisco in the 1960's. Fashion also seemed to go into reverse as well, with thrift store finds being the hot item of the moment. The music scene would eventually be called Madchester, and for artists who were outside the geographic area who utilized the sound, the term Baggy was used, in reference to the type of somewhat sloppy and ill-fitting clothing people in the scene would wear.
The Happy Mondays, circa 1988, courtesy of the BBC.
Though the scene was short-lived and never truly caught on outside of the U.K., it opened up the door to a flood of other alternative, dance and British Rock acts that would come to dominate the airwaves from the early to mid-1990's. These tracks are presented in a continuous order, much like a playlist on any given night at one of the more progressive clubs featuring this music.
808 State, from a U.S. promotional piece from New York dance label Tommy Boy Records, 1989.
Why would I pick this music scene to spotlight? If you were a teenager when they were new, you are in Generation X, the next big group to personally deal with Alzheimer's disease. The older you get, the more prone you are to be afflicted. There are no known cures, only treatments. However, research strongly suggests that dancing, by using the brain's neuroplasticity and increased oxygen intake, may stave it off. Dancing is incredible because it requires no special skills or equipment. And, it may also help stave off some of those extra holiday pounds you may gain this holiday season.
* She Bangs The Drums, The Stone Roses* Come Home (original), James* Fine Time, New Order* Pacific State, 808 State* This Is How It Feels, Inspiral Carpets* The Sun Rising, The Beloved* The Only One I Know, The Charlatans (a.k.a. The Charlatans U.K.)* Move Any Mountain, The Shamen* Info Freako, Jesus Jones* Step On, Happy Mondays* What Can You Do For Me, Utah Saints* Voodoo Ray, A Guy Called Gerald* Shall We Take A Trip?, Northside* Can You Dig It?, The Mock Turtles* Unbelievable, EMF
Love to you all.
Ben “Daddy Ben Bear” Brown Jr. Host, Show Producer, Webmaster, Audio Engineer, Researcher, Videographer and Writer
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