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|Origin||Northern Quarter, Manchester, Greater Manchester, England|
|Genres||Indie, Britpop, Alternative|
|Years active||1993–2000, 2006–2008, 2011-2012|
|Labels||London Records, Island Music Publishing, Marion Recordings/Townsend Records|
|Associated acts||New Order, Jaime Harding, Haven, RYNA, Bad Lieutenant|
|Past members||Jake Evans
|Singing, Harmonica, Guitars, Bass, Drums|
Marion were an English alternative indie group, originally formed in 1993, in Macclesfield, Cheshire. Jaime Harding (singer) became friends with Joe Moss (the ex-manager of The Smiths and huge music fan). Joe assisted Jaime in the creation of a new group which Jaime already knew he wanted to call Marion. Joe taught Jaime the history of all kinds of music going back as far as 1920s blues, which he had previously done for Johnny Marr at the start of The Smiths.
Joe Moss helped Jaime find and inspire musicians including Anthony Grantham, Phil Cunningham and Murad Mousa who he had attended school with. Once the group was formed, a 5 piece of Jaime Harding (singing), Anthony Grantham (guitar), Phil Cunningham (guitar), Julian Philips (bass), Murad Mousa (drums), Joe immediately found a permanent rehearsal space for Marion in the basement of the Night & Day Cafe on Oldham Street in Manchester's Northern Quarter. It took 9 months of 6/7 days a week writing and rehearsing for the band to be ready to play London gigs and attract a major record company deal.
After releasing the debut single 'Violent Men' on Rough Trade Records, a bidding war began between the major record labels, with Marion eventually signing to London Records and Island Music Publishing in October 1994. In March 1995, Julian left the group, replaced by Nick Gilbert who featured on all other Marion recordings.
Marion were never media darlings and built up their loyal following through constant gigging which eventually took them into the charts with a Top 10 Selling Album in the form of their debut 'This World & Body' in February 1996. Before that, Marion were handpicked and toured with the likes of Morrissey, Radiohead, Ian McCulloch of Echo & The Bunnymen and Manic Street Preachers.
Although Marion were very much a group that stood out on their own, journalistically they were included into the 1990s Britpop music scene, appearing on the 'Britpop Now' BBC television special, among many other TV and Radio Britpop programmes, including a stunning live performance of 'Sleep' on Channel 4's The Word in February 1995. The group also went on to play at the Glastonbury Festival 3 times and a whole host of other festivals in the UK and Europe, as well as 2 tours of Japan and 4 short tours of America.
After a gruelling 18 month international touring campaign for debut album 'This World & Body' Marion were finding it difficult to write a 2nd album, It was at this point that manager Joe Moss brought in Johnny Marr to co-write and produce Marion's 2nd album 'The Program'. Johnny breathed a life into 'The Program' that Marion could never have even dreamt of, which resulted in a stunning and incredibly stylish 2nd album. Once the album had been recorded and was ready for release and promo etc Jaime had unfortunately become too ill to work regularly due to his drug habit, which meant that the album was never given a proper release or any promotion. This was basically and unfortunately the end of Marion. 'The Program' remains a cult classic and was the first record that Johnny Marr ever sang on.
Johnny Marr had always been impressed with Phil's The Stooges-esque guitar playing and recruited him into the live version of Electronic, which then lead to Phil becoming a full-time member of New Order in the early 2000s, which has resulted in New Order's live sound becoming heavier and more rock and roll. Phil is still a permanent member of New Order and has been involved in the writing of various New Order and Bad Lieutenant records. Phil is considered by both band and fans alike as being a real asset to New Order's sound, even winning himself an Ivor Novello Award with the band.
In 2006, Jaime Harding and Phil Cunningham recruited a new set of musicians and reformed Marion. They started working on new material, having played their first live gig together as Marion in more than 7 years on 1 April 2006 in Bath. They followed this up with sold-out shows in Manchester and London in September and December 2006, notably playing 50% new songs and 50% older Marion songs. Some say that these shows were the best Marion shows they had ever seen, it was a very exciting year and period for the group.
Unfortunately Jaime became ill at the start of 2007 and had to have open-heart surgery, which yet again put Marion on hiatus, this time until 2011 when the whole original line up of Marion got together for 2 years of live shows, including a live album recorded at Manchester Academy in December 2011, entitled 'Alive In Manchester'.
At the end of 2012, Jack Mitchell, Marion's drummer for around 10 years, became the drummer for Johnny Marr's new solo band that released the incredible first album 'The Messenger' in February 2013 and have toured the World extensively since to bigger and bigger crowds, with Johnny winning the NME Godlike Genius Award no less. Johnny Marr is set to release his second solo album in September 2014 with a UK tour in October 2014.
Since 2013 Jaime has been playing guitar and writing under the friendship, help and guidance of again being managed by Joe Moss. 2014 sees Jaime start to play live shows as a solo artist, with former Marion guitarist Anthony 'Beard' Grantham on guitar.
"Johnny Marr-endorsed, overlooked Britpop heroes." - Q Magazine's 'Track Of The Day', August 2014
Johnny Marr on working with Jaime Harding...
Q Magazine, March 2013 - Cash for Questions
Q: What’s the most underrated record you’ve been involved with?
Johnny Marr: “I’d say an album I did in the mid-90s called The Program with Marion, which I produced. Jaime (Harding, Singer) was actually living the life that Brett Anderson was singing about and that Pete Doherty could only dream about, which was unfortunate for Jaime. He is such an incredible singer and an interesting writer; I wrote a few songs with him on it and I played on most of the tracks. It’s a good record”.
Jack Mitchell (Drums, Johnny Marr) on working with Jaime Harding...
"Jaime's got an amazing aura on stage, I'm at the back on drums and I even feel it there, he’s like a shield around us. He’s such a great singer and songwriter".
- This World and Body - (17 February 1996) No. 10 UK
- The Program - (September 1998)
- Alive In Manchester - (April 2012)
- "Violent Men" - (June 1994)
- "Sleep" - (February 1995) No. 53 UK
- "Toys for Boys" - (May 1995) No. 57 UK
- "Let's All Go Together" - (October 1995) No. 37 UK
- "Time" - (January 1996) No. 29 UK
- "Sleep EP" - (March 1996) No. 17 UK (re-mix)
- "Miyako Hideaway" - (March 1998) No. 45 UK
- "Sparkle EP - Japan only" - (May 1998)
- "Live in the studio sessions EP" - (April 2008)