Madchester and Baggy Scene

Thirty years ago, a wave of British Rock and Roll dance artists led a brief but amazing music scene based in Northern England. #madchester #NYE2019 #baggy

Thirty years ago, a small but eventually highly influential music scene was brewing in the northern English city of Manchester, England, 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

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 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.

Madchester and Baggy Playlist

  • She Bangs The Drums, The Stone Roses
  • Come Home, 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 (Cin City Sex Mix), EMF
To download this program, please click on the three dots at the right of the player.

Love to you all, and have a fantastic and wonderful New Year’s Eve.

Ben “Bear” Brown Jr., owner

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2 thoughts on “Madchester and Baggy Scene

  1. Reply
    Dav - December 30, 2018

    Check the film “24 Hour Party People” for a colourful and silly look back on the Hacienda and Tony Wilson who ran it and Factory Records

    1. Reply
      Ben Brown Jr. - December 30, 2018

      I loved the film. In fact, I pulled the Voodoo Ray track from the CD soundtrack.

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