The Dawn of Madchester

The Sex Pistols played a gig in Manchester on 4 June 1976 which has become famous for having future members of almost every famous band in Britain in the audience. In fact it is such a famous gig that it is impossible to know how many people who later found fame were there, as it must have held about 10,000 people to accommodate them all.

Whatever the truth of it, the Pistols inspired many many young Britons to pick up guitars and form bands, many of whom were in Manchester, so became part of the movement later known as Madchester. At the end of February, the extraordinary musical and cultural city that Manchester has since become will be home to a 2 day festival, organised by BBC 6 music, which should be absolutely huge. Since I obviously can’t get to it, I will probably stock up on supplies and spend the weekend listening to it on the radio.

But here’s the thing. The Sex Pistols are generally seen as pretty crap musically, and so I’ve never seen the link – beyond inspiration- between them and the rather retro 60s music that followed them. Until now. A few days ago I heard the introduction to their Pretty Vacant which is far more musically sophisticated than I thought, and realised it reminded me of a Stone Roses song, Waterfall, so maybe there is a musical link or inspiration as well. See what you think.

Here’s  the Pistols. Just listen to the intro, then switch to the Stone Roses :


2 thoughts on “The Dawn of Madchester

  1. Interesting post. The Pistols had such an impact because I believe that at the time they were the answer to the questions that a number of people in the UK were asking at that time. In the late 70’s Britain was falling apart. I my opinion the Pistols represented change, the need for change and how to change.


    • Thanks for this. As with so many people/groups who become ground breakers, I’m never sure if they were that great, or if they got to the door first and kicked it in. I didn’t appreciate them at the time, but John Lydon especially continues to be a genuine original.


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