Happy Mondays

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Happy Mondays
The band onstage
Happy Mondays performing in 2006
Background information
OriginSalford, England
Years active1980–1993, 1999–2001, 2004–2010, 2012–present
LabelsFactory, Elektra
MembersShaun Ryder
Gary Whelan
Mark "Bez" Berry
Mark Day
Dan Broad
Past membersKav Sandhu
Paul Davis
Paul Ryder

Happy Mondays are an English rock band formed in Salford in 1980. The original line-up was Shaun Ryder (vocals), his brother Paul Ryder (bass), Gary Whelan (drums), Paul Davis (keyboard), and Mark Day (guitar). Mark "Bez" Berry later joined the band onstage as a dancer/percussionist. Rowetta joined as a second vocalist in 1990.[1] They were initially signed to Tony Wilson's Factory Records label.

The group's work bridged the Manchester independent rock music of the 1980s and the emerging UK rave scene, drawing influence from funk, house, and psychedelia to pioneer the Madchester sound.[2] They experienced their commercial peak with the releases Bummed (1988), Madchester Rave On (1989), and Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches (1990), with the last going platinum in the UK.[2] They disbanded in 1993, and have reformed several times in subsequent decades.


First incarnation[edit]

The band were signed to Factory Records after passing a demo tape to Phil Saxe, a trader at Manchester Arndale who was on friendly terms with Mike Pickering, a DJ at the Haçienda nightclub.[3] Saxe became the band's manager.

Their first release was the "Forty Five EP", often called the "Delightful EP" after its first track. It was released on Factory Records in September 1985.[1] Their first album, Squirrel and G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out), was released in 1987 and was produced by John Cale. This was followed by two further albums: Bummed, in 1988, produced by Martin Hannett, and Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches, in 1990, produced by Paul Oakenfold and Steve Osborne. The latter, recorded at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, went platinum in the UK, selling more than 350,000 copies. Singles "Step On" and "Kinky Afro" from this album both reached number 5 in the UK singles chart.[4]

By the late 1980s, the Happy Mondays were an important part of the Manchester music scene and personified rave culture. Numerous world tours meant the band had international success as well as massive success in their home country. The line-up of the band during this first and most important ten-year phase never changed, and the six original members Shaun Ryder, Paul Ryder, Gary Whelan, Paul Davis, Mark Day, and Mark "Bez" Berry remained a tight unit until the first incarnation came to an end in 1994.[5] The band headlined the Friday night at Glastonbury Festival 1990.[4] In November of that year, Paul McCartney commented in NME: "I saw the Happy Mondays on TV, and they reminded me of the Beatles in their 'Strawberry Fields' phase."[6]

Musically, the band fused indie pop guitars with a rhythmic style that owed much to house music, Krautrock, funk, and northern soul.[7] Much of their music was remixed by popular DJs, emphasising the dance influences even further. In style and dress, they crossed hippy fashion and ideals with 1970s glamour. Sartorially and musically, the band helped to encourage the psychedelic revival associated with acid house.[citation needed] One of their most popular songs is "Lazyitis (One Armed Boxer)", featuring a surreal duet between Ryder and Karl Denver. In February 1991, Happy Mondays played in Rock in Rio 2 at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,[8] and famously went to meet Ronnie Biggs in Brazil[9] with Piers Morgan, who at the time was a writer for The Sun newspaper. The Mondays also influenced many bands around the Northwest and beyond, including the Stone Roses, Oasis, and the Charlatans. A multi-city US tour followed, with the group returning home early in May 1991.[10] In 1991, they played to 30,000 people at Elland Road, Leeds, said to be the Happy Mondays' own Spike Island.[11] By July that year, they revealed details of a fourteen track 'official bootleg' live album, Baby Big Head, recorded at the Elland Road concert. The official record label release, Live followed later in the year.[12]

Yes Please! followed in 1992, produced by Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, recorded at Eddy Grant's studio in Barbados.[13] The album was a commercial failure that bankrupted Factory Records.[14]

Second incarnation[edit]

Happy Mondays disbanded in 1993, and Shaun Ryder and Bez formed Black Grape with ex-Paris Angels guitarist "Wags" (who would later go on to serve in the 1999–2000 reincarnation of the Mondays) and ex-Ruthless Rap Assassins star Kermit.[1] Seven years passed, and in 1999 Happy Mondays re-formed,[15] with founding members Shaun Ryder, Paul Ryder, Gary Whelan and Bez but without Paul Davis and Mark Day. In the place of Day and Davis were Wags and a number of other session musicians including Ben Leach who had once been a member of The Farm, percussionist Lea Mullen, and rapper "Nuts". Also joining the new line-up was soul diva Rowetta Satchell (who sang back-up on Pills, Thrills, and Bellyaches, as well as Yes Please!, and who would go on to have solo success). The band toured extensively in the UK and internationally, selling out the 20,000 capacity Manchester Arena and two nights at Brixton Academy, and released a new single, a cover version of the Thin Lizzy hit "The Boys Are Back in Town". The single reached number 24 in the UK Singles Chart.[16] They provided support for Oasis on their "Standing on the Shoulder of Giants" arena tour, played at the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan, numerous European festivals including T in the Park and also toured Australia the same year. Although critically acclaimed and playing to sell-out crowds, the band once more ceased their activity in 2001 following the departure of bass player and founding member Paul Ryder.[17]

A fictionalised depiction of the band is featured in the 2002 film 24 Hour Party People, with Danny Cunningham as Shaun Ryder and Paul Popplewell as Paul Ryder. Paul Ryder himself had a cameo role in the film as a gangster and Rowetta appeared in the film as herself.[18]

Third incarnation[edit]

2004 saw another re-formation, comprising original members Bez, Whelan and Shaun Ryder along with another group of musicians. Shaun Ryder recruited Kav Sandhu to join on guitar & bring in a new group of musicians. Kav brought on-board bassist Mikey Shine, keyboard player Dave Parkinson & guitarist Jonn Dunn. Dave Parkinson was later replaced by Dan Broad. Backing singers on the first tour were Angie Brown and Ron Carroll.[19] from 2004 to 2006 the band were managed by Danny Newman, MD at London Club Turnmills brother of London Club DJ Tall Paul. Rowetta's backing vocal role was now being performed by Julie E. Gordon who toured with the band until 2010. Paul Ryder was not present, having sworn to never perform with his brother again following the 2000 break-up,[20] and formed his own band Big Arm. That year, the Mondays released a live DVD of a show in Barcelona. The Mondays played a variety of festival dates in 2005 (including Global Gathering), capping it off with a concert at the Manchester Arena.

In June 2006, Happy Mondays performed in Liverpool, and on 30 July 2006 they were special guests at the Fuji Rock Festival.[21] In August 2006, the band announced that they had completed their first album in fourteen years, with producers Sunny Levine and Howie B, and had signed to Sanctuary Records. A single "Playground Superstar", from the soundtrack for the football film Goal!, was released a few months prior to completion of the new album, Uncle Dysfunktional released in mid 2007.[22] on Noel Gallaghers label Big Brother Records.

Happy Mondays performed before another re-formed act, Rage Against the Machine, at the 2007 Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California. They were introduced by Tony Wilson. Bez missed the show because he could not get into the US due to "passport issues".[23] The band then toured throughout the summer of 2007 including a trip to the Numusic Festival in Norway. They played Splendour in the Grass in Australia in July 2009, and the UK V Festival in August 2009.

Happy Mondays toured the US and Canada with The Psychedelic Furs in late 2009 with Paul Ryder's son and Shaun Ryder's nephew Jake Ryder filling in for Gaz Whelan on drums.[24]

Happy Mondays appeared at the Wizard Festival in North-East Scotland in August 2010.[25]

This version of the band continued until 2010. Members Mikey Shine, Jonn Dunn & Dan Broad continued to back Shaun Ryder for his solo tour until 2011, surrounding the release of his autobiography.

Fourth incarnation[edit]

On 29 January 2012, Shaun Ryder announced on radio station Xfm that the band would return with the original and definitive lineup of himself, his brother Paul Ryder on bass, Gary Whelan on drums, Rowetta as female vocalist, Mark Day on guitar, Paul Davis on keyboards and dancer Mark Berry. They appeared on ITV's This Morning, and were interviewed by Philip Schofield. Shaun Ryder pronounced that amends had been made, friendships reinstated and that it was just like the old days, but without the madness. They did a 13-date UK tour in May 2012, most of which were sold out, and an extra date was added at London's Brixton Academy due to the demand for tickets.[26] The tour included other shows at the Manchester Arena, plus other dates in Bournemouth, Glasgow, Dublin, Leeds, Sheffield and Nottingham. To coincide with the band's reformation tour a best of album, Double Double Good was released in July 2012, as well as a live recording of the band's May 2012 gig in Brixton. The band went on to play gigs in Chile and Argentina in May 2012 and then a number of European festivals in the summer of 2012, including Ireland's Sea Sessions, Scotland's T in the Park, the band were headliners at Camp Bestival in Dorset in July 2012 and they performed at the V Festivals in August 2012. They then travelled to Majorca and Ibiza to play the Ibiza and Majorca Rocks events.

The band announced in September 2012 that they were writing their first album with the original lineup in more than 20 years.[citation needed]

The band played two nights at the Roundhouse, London and in Manchester in December 2012. They travelled to Dubai in April 2013 to perform and in May 2013 played gigs at Bristol's Vegfest and one in Brighton. June 2013 brought gigs at the Isle of Wight Festival and Scarborough, then in July 2013 they played at the Warrington Music Festival and at Sandown Park Racecourse in Esher, Surrey. They played dates in Belfast, Crewe and Dublin in August 2013. In October 2013 they travelled to Spain to do gigs in Barcelona and Madrid then in November 2013 they kicked off a 16 date UK tour to celebrate 25 years since their second critically acclaimed album Bummed was released, and the band plan to play most of the songs from that infamous album. The band signed to Creation Management in 2015. They have announced an international tour to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches.

In September 2015, a special programme on Watch called Singing in the Rainforest followed the band as they travelled to Panama to record a new song with an isolated tribe called the Embera.[27] The band composed a track with members of the tribe for a performance, penning the track "Ooo La La to Panama". Although billed as the first original line-up recording since 1992, Paul Davis was not present, and no mention of him was made. Gaz Whelan confirmed via the Happy Mondays Twitter account (in answer to a question from a Twitter user named ormi_shinobi) that Davis had left the band.[28]

The band toured New Zealand and Australia in February and March 2019, performing their 1990 album Pills 'N' Thrills And Bellyaches.

On 15 July 2022, the band announced via their Facebook page that Paul Ryder had died in the early hours of that morning. He was 58 years old.[29]

Year Song title Album Label
1988: "Wrote for Luck"
Bummed Factory Records
1989: "Hallelujah"
Madchester Rave On EP Factory Records
1990: "God's Cop"
Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches Factory Records

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Awards Work Category Result
1989 NME Awards "WFL" Best Dance Record Won
1990 Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches Best LP Won
Themselves Best Band Won
Smash Hits Poll Winners Party Nominated
Best New Act[30] Nominated
1991 Best Indie Group[31] Won
Brit Awards Best British Newcomer Nominated
Best British Group Nominated
2013 Q Awards Bummed Q Classic Album Won
2016 Ivor Novello Awards Themselves The Ivor's Inspiration Award Won




  • Shaun Ryder – lead vocals, guitar (1980–1993, 1999–2001, 2004–2010, 2012–present)
  • Gary Whelan – drums (1980–1993, 1999–2001, 2006-2008, 2012–present)
  • Mark "Bez" Berry – dancer, percussion (1980–1993, 1999–2001, 2004–2010, 2012–present)
  • Rowetta – vocals (1990–1993, 1999–2001, 2012–present)
  • Mark Day – guitar (1980–1993, 2004–2010, 2012–present)
  • Dan Broad – keyboards, samples, programming, musical director (2006-2010, 2016–present)


  • Paul Davis – keyboards, samples, programming (1980–1993, 2012–2015)
  • Kav Sandhu – guitar, keyboards (2004–2008)
  • Paul Ryder – bass, keyboards (1980–1993, 1999–2001, 2012–2022; died 2022)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 421–422. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
  2. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  3. ^ Robb, John (2009). The North Will Rise Again: Manchester Music City 1976-1996. London: Aurum Press. p. 261.
  4. ^ a b Toiler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 471. CN 5585.
  5. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 479. CN 5585.
  6. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 478. CN 5585.
  7. ^ David Szatmary Rockin' In Time A Social History of Rock and Roll ISBN 978-0-205-93624-3
  8. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 481. CN 5585.
  9. ^ "In Pictures: A life on the run". BBC : London Calling. BBC. 6 August 2009. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  10. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 484. CN 5585.
  11. ^ Howe, Jon. "Are You Man U, You? - When The Happy Mondays Played Leeds' Elland Road". Sabotage Times. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  12. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 486. CN 5585.
  13. ^ Steve Anglesey (4 May 2012). "Mad Mondays: 23 of the craziest tales about Shaun Ryder, Bez and Co" (News article). Mirror Lifestyle. Mirror Online. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  14. ^ Ben Cardew (25 September 2017). "25 Years On: Happy Mondays' Yes Please! Revisited".
  15. ^ Miranda Sawyer (25 February 2007). "It's great when you're straight" (News article). The Observer. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  16. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 242–243. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  17. ^ "Interview: Paul Ryder on Life with the Happy Mondays" (Interview). Live4ever. Live4ever Ezine. 11 May 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  18. ^ "24 Hour Party People". Surrender to the Void. thevoid99 2012. 28 March 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  19. ^ Kitty Empire (10 June 2007). "Pop: Happy Mondays, Astoria, London WC2 | Music | The Observer". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
  20. ^ "Brother in Arms ..." Salford Star. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  21. ^ "Fuji Rock Festival No. 12: What happened?". Fuji Rock. Smash Corporation Ltd. Archived from the original on 19 May 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  22. ^ "Happy Mondays: Biography". The Guardian home. Guardian News and Media Limited. 13 August 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  23. ^ J.P.Gorman (26 April 2007). "Happy Mondays' Bez Denied Visa For Coachella" (News article). Pop Blend. Cinema Blend LLC. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  24. ^ George.A.Paul (20 September 2009). "Psychedelic Furs sharp, Happy Mondays stiff at Mouse House". The Sound Check. 2012 Orange County Register Communications. Archived from the original on 24 April 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  25. ^ "Happy Mondays to cast spell at Wizard Festival". BBC Uk. BBC. 1 April 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  26. ^ Gordon Barr (1 February 2012). "Interview: Shaun Ryder from Happy Mondays". Evening Chronicle. Media Limited. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  27. ^ "Happy Mondays Confirm They'll Play 25th Anniversary 'Pills 'n' Thrills ...' Tour video". NME. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  28. ^ "Happy Mondays on Twitter". Twitter.com.
  29. ^ Monroe, Jazz (15 July 2022). "Happy Mondays Bassist Paul Ryder Dies at 58". Pitchfork. Retrieved 16 July 2022.
  30. ^ "Articles on Smash Hits". Michaelmouse1967.wixsite.com. Archived from the original on 24 August 2018. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  31. ^ "Articles on Smash Hits". Michaelmouse1967.wixsite.com. Retrieved 27 April 2020.


  • Vinylnet Record Label Discographies. link. – Factory Catalogue Numbers.

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