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Bridgewater Hall Manchester just before evening concert Sunday 9 March 2003

I'VE ONLY SCRATCHED THE SURFACE of my memories of growing up in the Manchester area in the sixties and seventies, and of the music that had such a profound effect on me. It's been fascinating researching the records and the timelines, which have helped to pinpoint when certain events in my childhood took place. I did all my research on the Internet which has many fantastic musical resources.

Below you'll find my very personal 'Magic of Manchester' playlist, but how about you? What type of music reminds you of Manchester? Does music remind you of particular places? Do you get any mental pictures with local associations when you listen to particular types of music? What was the music of your era? 20's Jitterbug? 30's Jazz? 40's Glenn Miller? 50's Skiffle? 60's soul? 70's Progressive? 80's Electronic? 90's Madchester? Contemporary R&B, Rare Groove, Salsa, Jazz-Funk Fusion or none of these?

Do any pieces of Classical music have a Manchester feel? Maybe Pakistani or Indian music remind you of Manchester, or Irish, or African, or Arabic? What is the music of Manchester today? Is there a genre of music that sums of the feel of the city in the current era?

OK, here's the definitive and highly personal EWM Magic of Manchester Playlist. Why not draw up your own playlist of music with Manchester / North West associations?

Title Artist   Notes
Telstar The Tornadoes 1962 Reminds me of Manchester Airport & the new dawn of the Space Age
Ravel's Bolero George Ravel Written 1928 Reminds me of Bowdon & my sister's flat there
Theme of The Avengers Laurie Johnson 1965 Associations with Bowdon - 60's chic in Victorian setting
Walk On By Dionne Warwick / Bacharach David 1964 A spirit of California imported via Ringway Airport
Anyone Who Ever Had a Heart Cilla Black 1964 A feel of the city - American song, Liverpudlian singer
Downtown Petula Clark 1965 Reminds me of downtown Manchester in the mid-60's
River Deep Mountain High Ike & Tina Turner 1966 Reminds me vividly of coach trip from Manchester to the Lake District
Bus Stop The Hollies 1966 Song about love found at the bus stop by local group
The Last Waltz Englebert Humperdinck No1 Aug 1967 Captures the romance of the Docks in the mid-60's
Penny Lane The Beatles 1967 Not about Manchester but described the mood of the time
Those Were The Days Mary Hopkin 1968 Melancholy ballad reminiscing on youth with Didsbury associations
Moonlight Sonata Ludwig van Beethoven Writtten 1801 One of many classical pieces which conjures up Manchester's 19th century German influence
All Motown hits Various artists - Motown Label started by Berry Gordy mid-60's onwards Motown captured the feel of mainstream clubland in the 60's and 70's
All Northern Soul records Hundreds of little-known artists on various labels late 60's onwards Northern Soul heartbeat of clubs big and small across northern England
Ghost in My House R Dean Taylor 1965 All time classic of local Northern Soul nights
Move On Up Curtis Mayfield 1971 Positive vibe from legendary soul artist with same name as Manchester train station
Walk In The Night Junior Walker and the All Stars 1972 Vividly creates images of walking through Manchester at night
Why Can't We Be Lovers? Lamont Dozier 1972 Shades of summer of 72 in Manchester
Here I Go Again Archie Bell and the Drells 1972 One of countless hits that brings back the mood of an era in Manchester
Love Train The O'Jays 1973 Not a song about Freddie Laker's Skytrain flying from Manchester but reminds me of it
Papa Was A Rolling Stone The Temptations 1972 Big city sound of rootlessness & heartache - very 70's Manchester
I'm Still Waiting Diana Ross No1 Aug Sep71 Song about waiting for the right lover to come along - or maybe the 53 bus
The Fish Aint Bitin' Lamont Dozier 1974 Captures a feel of the movie 'Shaft' carried over to Manchester
Rock Your Baby George McCrae 1974 Dance floor classic, emblem of 70's club nights
Betcha By Golly Wow The Stylistics 1972 Sound of the sugary mid-70's as experienced in Manchester
Street Life Roxy Music 73/74 Reminds me of mad taxi ride through Manchester
Right (from Young Americans album) David Bowie 1975 Soul-influenced soundscape conjuring up American city, carried over to Manchester
I'm Not In Love 10cc 1975 Song about misty-eyed youth in denial by Manchester group, capturing mid-70's feel
You're the First the Last My Everything Barry White 1975 Classic of mid-70's Soul, anthem for a newly amorous generation of Manchester club-goers
You To Me Are Everything The Real Thing 1976 Liverpool band, England's answer to the Temptations, discovered on Opportunity Knocks

If you'd like to rediscover Soul and Northern Soul as heard in Manchester during the 60's and 70's, tune into Jazz FM, with regular shows by DJ's Tony Blackburn, Andy Peebles and Richard Searling. One of the best stations in the UK for all varieties of soul is the London-based Solar Radio, accessible via Sky satellite and on the internet. Go to To find out about the contemporary music scene in Manchester, go to

I'm sorry to have to add that my sister Phil (Philomena Dare née O'Rourke), who introduced me to so many new people and places, and gave me so much encouragement in all my creative ventures, died in January. I'd like to thank readers for their kind messages of condolence. I'm grateful also to our cousin Nuala in Dundalk, Ireland for sending me some long lost family photos, two of which appear in this feature.


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