Steve Hanley (musician)

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Steve Hanley
Steve Hanley c. 1980
Background information
Birth name Stephen Hanley
Born (1959-05-29) 29 May 1959 (age 57)
Dublin, Ireland
Genres Post-punk
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Bass guitar
Years active 1976–present
Labels Beggars Banquet, Phonogram, Rough Trade, Newmemorabilia
Associated acts Factory Star, The Lovers, The Fall, The Sirens, Staff 9, The Reclaimers, Brix & the Extricated

Steve Hanley (born 29 May 1959) is an Irish-born musician and song writer, who grew up in and is based in Manchester. He is best known as bass guitarist in The Fall from 1979 to 1998. Hanley's distinctive and muscular basslines were a signature part of The Fall, often carrying a song's instrumental melody. Second only to founding vocalist Mark E. Smith in longevity in the group, Hanley wrote the music over 100 songs on more than a dozen albums; including notable Fall tracks such as "Container Drivers", "Totally Wired", "Look, Know", "Winter", "The N.W.R.A.", "I Am Damo Suzuki", "Frenz", through to the later classic "Bill is Dead", which he has said is his favourite Fall song.

According to Smith, "The most original aspect of The Fall is Steve...I've never heard a bass player like him. He is The Fall sound."[1]

Hanley was described by journalist Dave Simpson as "one of British music's greatest bassists".[2] His autobiography "The Big Midweek: Life Inside The Fall" was published to critical acclaim in 2014.[3]


In 1976 he played in The Sirens alongside Marc Riley and Craig Scanlon. When Riley left to join The Fall, they became Staff 9, but disbanded when Hanley and Scanlon joined The Fall themselves in 1979. During the first half of the 1980s, Hanley's brother Paul was also a member of The Fall playing drums and keyboards. Steve Hanley left The Fall in April 1998 following an onstage altercation in New York, which also resulted in the departures of longtime drummer Karl Burns and guitarist Tommy Crooks. Smith regretted the row and asked Hanley to return, but the bassist declined.[2]

Following his departure from The Fall, he joined The Lovers in 2001, a group fronted by Tom Hingley of Inspiral Carpets. Both these bands also featured Paul Hanley, Steve's brother. The Lovers released two albums, Abba Are The Enemy, released in 2004, and Highlights which was released in March 2008. The band split amicably in 2012.

He was briefly a member of fellow ex-Fall member Martin Bramah's group Factory star,[4] as was his brother Paul Hanley. "The Big Midweek" a book chronicling Hanley's time in The Fall, written by him with Olivia Piekarski, was published by Route publishers on 15 September 2014 [5] He is currently a member of Brix & The Extricated alongside brother Paul, Steve Trafford and Jason Brown.[6]

His 2016 biography "The Big Midweek: Life Inside the Fall" was met with critical acclaim.[7]


With The Fall[edit]

Studio albums[edit]