Top Ten Acts That Made the Hacienda Famous

This week marks the 30th anniversary of the opening of The Hacienda, a club that was fueled by New Order’s money and helped juice Manchester’s importance in music. From The Smiths to the Stone Roses, to the rise of DJ culture, The Hacienda was the site of many incredibly important pieces of Britain and the world’s musical history. Adidas even made a limited edition sneaker in the style of the club!

But who were the most important bands that played there? Who helped turn the club from empty to not full? Well this list is designed to rank them. Welcome to the Top Ten List Of Artists That Made The Hacienda Famous!

10) James

Noticed by Factory Records Tony Wilson, James became a big band in new rock in the mid 90’s due to cutting their teeth as a musical act at The Hacienda. Wilson had wanted James to record an album for Factory but due to a fear that the recording process might taint their live sound, they settled for an ep instead. It’s this determination as a live act that brought James to the attention of new rock fans everywhere.


9) The Fall

Never truly getting the recognition they deserve outside of the UK, The Fall were regular performers at The Hacienda in it’s early days as a club.


8) Echo and The Bunnymen

Echo and The Bunnymen are one of the few acts on this list that aren’t from Manchester (proudly Liverpudlian!) but the sheer amount of gigs that these guys did at The Hacienda should have made them honorary Macunians… although from what I hear suggests like that can get me shot at a football game.


7) Inspiral Carpets

Along with The Happy Monday and The Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets were part of the holy trinity of the Madchester sound. While never gaining the success that the other two bands had, they are instrumental for one other reason. One of their roadies, a guy who auditioned for their replacement lead singer, learned quite a few things while working with them for two years. His name was Noel Gallagher and from all reports, he’s done quite well for himself.  [“Moooooooooooooooooooooo!”  If you don’t get that, you were never a fan. – AC]


6) Madonna

I am very leery of including Madonna on any list but it can’t be ignored that one of Madonna’s first UK TV appearances was filmed at The Hacienda (as seen above) and to be fair, the first track she played there, Burning Up isn’t too far out of line musically with some of the bands that played there at the time. Madonna quickly became a big deal.


5) The Smiths

One of the most important new rock bands to come out of Manchester that weren’t directly related to Factory Records (not that they didn’t try to get on the label) what made The Smiths stand out at The Hacienda was the fact they were so different from everything that came before them and how they weren’t a forefather of the next big wave of Manchester music. They were their own thing and The Smiths were important because of that.


4) The Happy Mondays

The Mondays were the band for raves in Manchester. They took rave culture and the same sensibilities that the djs used at the time and applied it to their music. And where The Happy Mondays really got their start was at The Hacienda. [Not to mention that they had their own little place under the stairs where Bez sold a new thing called “E” to everyone. – AC]


3) The Stone Roses

A band that fell in with the Madchester sound but then broke away with it, there are very few bands that make such a reputation from two albums.


2) The DJ

Okay, so this isn’t actually a band per say but it is almost impossible to say how influential The Hacienda was to DJ culture and vice versa. In the 90’s, the DJ was the reason to come to the club, as opposed to a band or solo act. It helped solidify rave culture as well as music forms like acid house. [Watch 24 Hour Party People for more. – AC]


1) New Order

It seems an obvious choice, but New Order made The Hacienda famous in two ways. One, they were New Order, one of the most pioneering bands of their day. Techno/house, rock, pop, they took what they like and help present it to the world. Two, The Hacienda was their club. The club was mismanaged and not ran very well but it became the birth place of so much, it’s hard to list. Without New Order, no Hacienda, no Hacienda and a majority of the bands on this list might not have ever existed.

As with everything we do, we want to hear from you our dear listeners. Who did we miss? Who should have been higher? Please leave your comments below. [And please, Duritti Column fans, speak up.  -AC]

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

4 thoughts on “Top Ten Acts That Made the Hacienda Famous

  • May 21, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    what about Durutti Column fans? Anyway, A Certain Ratio are better than most of these bands, so you definitely missed them.

  • May 22, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    I love this list, though the Madonna doesn't do anything for me. I was barely alive back when all this was happening though so I can't really comment. Everything but Madonna, The Fall and "the DJ" are amongst my all-time favourite bands. Nothing against The Fall, just didn't have much exposure besides Mark E. Smith singing on the Inspiral Carpets' I Want You, and a couple of tracks on Elastica's ill-fated sophomore effort.

    I love this song: Inspiral Carpets – I Want You feat. Mark E. Smith

  • November 20, 2018 at 5:07 am

    Great read, I’ve used it to inform my Music Bingo round about the Hacienda! Thank you.

  • July 2, 2022 at 7:40 pm

    I was a student in Manchester 1982-85, and saw lots of bands at the Hacienda.. we called it the Hass.. and trying to remember some of them.. saw Madonna on the Tube special, Theatre of Hate (or maybe they were Spear of Destiny then), Echo and the Bunnymen, Jazz Defectors, The Smiths, New Order, Big Flame, ACR, Gun Club, Blancmange, Section 25 (not entirely sure about this one), The Cramps.. Never saw Duritti Column play live, though remember seeing Vin in the club a few times, like you would in those early 80’s nights, would often see Ian McCulluch in the Gay Traitor Bar, as well as other folk from the Factory label like the Cassidy boys from Section 25. Greg Keeffe from Big Flame was in there quite a bit, knew him from my schooldays.


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