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, ARK, The Reclaimers, Brix & the Extricated

Steve Hanley (born 29 May 1959) is an Irish-born English musician, based in Manchester. He is best known for playing bass guitar in The Fall from 1979 to 1998, and afterwards in The Lovers.

Hanley's distinctive basslines were a signature part of The Fall, often carrying a song's instrumental melody without forsaking the bass guitar's traditional role as a propulsive element of the rhythm section. He is described by critic Dave Simpson[1] as "one of British music's greatest bassists". Second only to founding vocalist Mark E. Smith in longevity in the group, Hanley co-wrote over 100 songs on more than a dozen albums. Smith spoke publicly of his admiration for Hanley, telling Melody Maker[2] in 1983 "The most original aspect of The Fall is Steve...I've never heard a bass player like him...I don't have to tell him what to play, he just knows. He is The Fall sound."


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.

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.[1]

Following his departure from The Fall, Hanley formed ARK. In 2001 he joined The Lovers, 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 also briefly a member of fellow ex-Fall member Martin Bramah's group Factory star,[3] 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 [4]

As of May 2015, he was a member of Brix Smith And The Extricated alongside brother Paul, Steve Trafford and Jason Brown.[5]


With The Fall[edit]

Studio albums[edit]