THERE IS A LIGHT THAT NEVER GOES OUT
A photographic celebration of Manchester's rock music history
Manchester is a city inextricably linked to its musical heritage.
When our Oasis DNA exhibition finished showing at Manchester Central Library in 2017, the idea of a Manchester rock exhibition seemed a natural follow up. So in collaboration with writer, Jon Savage and help from the Manchester Digital Music Archive we have pulled together a unique collection of over 90 photographs to display at the library.
We decided to concentrate on showing gritty images of those bands and musicians whose music is so deeply rooted in Manchester, one cannot imagine rock music or the city itself being the same without their contribution. Many of these are the bands and musicians that formed in the wake of punk, at a time when Manchester’s music scene was expanding in a unique and inimitable way.
So long is the reach of the city’s collective musical talent, we could have created an exhibition twice the size of the one we have finally presented. Consequently we have not been able to feature every band or image we would have liked and some hard decisions have been taken as what to include.
We are thrilled to be show-casing work by many of the UK’s most talented music photographers, including Manchester based, Kevin Cummins, and his brilliant colleague, Pennie Smith, whose pictures of The Stone Roses shown define the very essence of a band that gel together effortlessly. Other contributors either lived locally and recorded the scene, or worked extensively with Manchester bands. They include Paul Slattery, Steve Double, Peter Walsh & Howard Barlow who all had strong relationships with the musicians they worked with. A number of historic photographs from Jill Furmanovsky's Manchester archive are also on display.
The final section of the exhibition reflects Manchester’s vibrant and diverse current music scene, with photos of many of the contemporary acts who continue to keep the flame of Manchester music alive today. We have also devoted a wall to the musical outpourings and audience response that helped people express their grief and defiance after the tragic events at Manchester Arena in 2017.
Manchester’s musical legacy continues to dominate even to this day in a proud and strong city whose light will never go out.
Here are a small selection of iconic shots from the exhibition that runs until 22 February 2019
Manchester Central Library
St Peter's Square