Marion (band)

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Background information
Origin Northern Quarter, Manchester, Greater Manchester, England
Genres Indie pop, Britpop, alternative rock
Years active 1993–2000, 2006–2008, 2011–2012, 2014–present
Labels London Records, Island Music Publishing, Marion Recordings/Townsend Records
Associated acts New Order, Jaime Harding, Haven, RYNA, Bad Lieutenant
Members Jaime Harding
Matt Smithson
Blair Murray
Past members Anthony Grantham
Phil Cunningham
Jake Evans
Murad Mousa
Damien Lawrence
Nick Gilbert
Julian Phillips
Jack Mitchell
Che Hargreaves
Johnny Regan
Wayne Ward
Nick McCall
Notable instruments
Singing, Harmonica, Guitars, Bass, Drums

Marion are an English alternative indie group, originally formed in 1993, in Macclesfield, Cheshire.



Jamie Harding and Phil Cunningham had played together in various bands (such as Cloud, Push The King and The Shags), starting in their school days. After leaving school, Harding was immediately forced into work by his mother, taking a job in a garage.[1][when?]


A group formed around Harding who sang, with Anthony Grantham on guitar, Nick McCall on second guitar, Murad Mousa on drums and Damian Lawrence on bass. At the start of 1993, they adopted the name Marion for the band, in tribute to Harding's gran.[1] They recorded a a demo and McCall's brother suggested sending it to Joe Moss, the former manager of The Smiths. Moss, who liked it and to agree to manage the band.

The Harding became friends with Moss. Moss taught Harding about music history going back to 1920s blues. Moss had previously done for this Johnny Marr at the start of The Smiths.[citation needed]

McCall was asked to leave by Geoff Travis, as he was only 15, and Cunningham was recruited to play guitar. Moss helped Harding find Cunningham as well as Grantham and Mousa. Moss found a permanent rehearsal space for Marion in the basement of the Night & Day Cafe on Oldham Street in Manchester's Northern Quarter. The band rehearsed for nine months. They spent between six and seven days a week writing and rehearsing. They then went on to play London gigs and attract a major record company deal.

Record labels and debut album[edit]

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.

The group continued to tour. They supported Morrissey, Radiohead, Ian McCulloch of Echo & The Bunnymen and Manic Street Preachers.[citation needed]

Constant gigging helped them into the charts with a Top 10 Selling Album in the form of their debut This World & Body in February 1996.

Second album and hiatus[edit]

After a gruelling eighteen month international tour for debut album This World & Body Marion were finding it difficult to write a second album.

It was at this point that Moss brought in Johnny Marr to co-write and produce what would become The Program album. The album had been recorded and was ready for release but Harding had become too ill to work due to his drug habit. This led to the album not been given a proper release or any promotion. The Program was the first record that Johnny Marr ever sang on.

Later the band went on its first hiatus. Harding would later explain in an interview that tiredness from constant touring and disillusionment in the music industry caused the disbanding. For example, he mentioned the record label asking the original chorus of The Powder Room Plan to be rewritten.[2]

Other projects[edit]

Marr had always been impressed with Cunningham's The Stooges-esque guitar playing and recruited him into the live version of Electronic. This lead to Phil becoming a full-time member of New Order in the early 2000s. Cunningham's playing style resulted in New Order's live sound becoming heavier and more rock and roll. Cunningham became a permanent member of New Order and has been involved in the writing of various New Order and Bad Lieutenant records.

First reformation[edit]

In 2006, Harding and 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. They played half new songs and half older Marion songs.

In August 2007, Carl from the band, via 'The Marion Archives', announced that the band were still together but had suffered some major setbacks. The open letter states that the response to the reformation was far greater than they expected. However, Hargreaves had broken his neck and Harding had been admitted to hospital with a blood condition. Harding had to have open-heart surgery. He was described as being 'unwell' but that he was making a slow and steady recovery. The letter stated that the band hoped to be playing around Christmas 2007.[3] On 18 October 2008, the band supported Puressence at Manchester Academy 1.[4]

In October 2008, it was announced that the October and November gigs had been cancelled, due to Harding contracting pneumonia. The gigs were not re-scheduled.[5]

Second reformation[edit]

In 2011, the 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 Marr's new solo band.

Marr's solo band that released the album 'The Messenger' in February 2013 and went on a number of world tours.

Third reformation[edit]

Marion started writing, recording and playing live shows once again. The new line up included ex-Twisted Wheel drummer Blair Murray, ex-Maupa bassist Matt Smithson and Marion singer, songwriter and frontman Jaime Harding. Marion is due to be the main support act for Buzzcocks at the Manchester Academy venue's 25th Anniversary on 10th October 2015.[citation needed]


Marion were linked to the 1990s Britpop music scene, appearing on the 'Britpop Now' BBC television special, and other TV and Radio Britpop programmes. They played a live performance of Sleep on Channel 4's The Word in February 1995. The group played the Glastonbury Festival three times, along with festivals in the UK and Europe. The group completed two tours of Japan and four short tours of America.





  • "Sleep EP" - (March 1996) No. 17 UK (re-mix)
  • "Sparkle EP - Japan only" - (May 1998)
  • "Live in the studio sessions EP" - (April 2008)


  1. ^ a b Record Collector, No. 198, February 1996
  2. ^ Interview with Jaime Harding, 8 February 2006
  3. ^ "The marion archives - news". Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  4. ^ "Marion to support Puressence". Retrieved 30 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "". Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  6. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 350. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

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