Marion (band)

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Marion
New logo dist.gif
Background information
Origin Macclesfield, Cheshire, England
Genres Britpop, alternative rock
Years active 1993–2000, 2006–2008, 2011–2012, 2014–present
Labels London Records, Marion Recordings/Townsend Records
Associated acts New Order, Jaime Harding, Twisted Wheel, Maupa, Haven, RYNA, Bad Lieutenant
Website www.marionthegroup.com
Members Jaime Harding
Matt Smithson
Paddy McKeown
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 indie rock band, formed in 1993 in Macclesfield, Cheshire.[1]

They split up in 1999, due to lead singer Jamie Harding's drug addiction which saw him stop turning up to rehearse with the band that year.[2]

In 2006, Jaime Harding and Phil Cunningham recruited a new set of musicians and reformed the band. They started working on new material, having played their first live gig together as Marion in more than seven years on 1 April 2006 in Bath. They followed this up with sold-out shows in Manchester and London in September 2006.

As of September 2011, Marion have reformed again - with Jaime and Phil joined by Tony Grantham and Julian Phillips from the original line-up.


Biography[edit]

Pre-history[edit]

Jamie Harding and Phil Cunningham had played together in various bands since their school daying, including Cloud, Push The King and The Shags. After leaving school, Harding was immediately forced into work by his mother, taking a job in a garage.[3][when?]

Formation (1993)[edit]

The Harding became friends with Joe Moss (former manager of The Smiths), after reading Johnny Rogan's controversial book Morrissey & Marr/The Severed Alliance and liked the way Joe Moss was portrayed. 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]

Moss helped Jaime form a committed group of musicians including Anthony Grantham, Phil Cunningham and Murad Mousa who had all been in various bands with Jaime in the past. Once the group was formed, a 5 piece of Jaime Harding (singing, harmonica, lyrics), 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 and Day Café 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.

Constant gigging eventually helped Marion into the charts with a Top 10 Selling Album in the form of their debut 'This World & Body' in February 1996. Before that, Marion supported the likes of Morrissey, Radiohead, Ian McCulloch of Echo & The Bunnymen and Manic Street Preachers

Marion were linked to the 1990s Britpop music scene, appearing on the 'Britpop Now' BBC television special, among many other TV and Radio Britpop programmes, including a live performance of 'Sleep' on Channel 4's cult nineties TV show 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'. 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. 'The Program' was the first record that Johnny Marr ever sang on.

Johnny Marr had always been impressed with Phil Cunningham'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.

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 1st April 2006 in Bath. They followed this up with sold-out shows in Manchester and London in September and December 2006, playing 50% new songs and 50% older Marion songs. Jaime became ill at the start of 2007 and had open-heart surgery, which yet again put Marion on hiatus.
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 Johnny Marr's new solo band that released the album 'The Messenger' in February 2013 and have toured the World extensively since.

Reformation (2015 - present)[edit]

In summer 2015, Harding has formed a new lineup of Marion, including ex-Twisted Wheel drummer Blair Murray, and ex-Maupa members: bassist Matt Smithson and guitarist Paddy McKeown. Twisted Wheel and Maupa were both groups that Harding was a fan of.[citation needed] Marion are due to be the main support act for Buzzcocks at the Manchester Academy venue's 25th Anniversary on Saturday 10th October 2015.

Appearances[edit]

Marion appeared on the 'Britpop Now' BBC television special. 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.[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

Nominating Sleep for track of the day in August 2014, Q Magazine described the band as 'The Johnny Marr-endorsed, overlooked Britpop heroes.'[4]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Singles[edit]

EPs[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/music/marion-back-in-business-1042052
  2. ^ http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/whatever-happened-to-marion
  3. ^ Record Collector, No. 198, February 1996
  4. ^ "Marion – Sleep". Q Magazine. Retrieved 2 August 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 350. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links[edit]