Steve Hanley (musician)

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Steve Hanley
Hanley in 2016
Hanley in 2016
Background information
Birth nameStephen Hanley
Born (1959-05-29) 29 May 1959 (age 63)
Dublin, Ireland
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
Instrument(s)Bass guitar, guitar
Years active1976–present
LabelsBeggars Banquet, Phonogram, Rough Trade, Newmemorabilia

Stephen Hanley (born 29 May 1959) is an Irish-born English musician who grew up in and lives in Manchester, He is best known as the bass guitarist in the Fall from 1979 to 1998. His distinctive and muscular basslines were a signature part of their sound, often carrying the songs' instrumental melodies. Hanley is second only to Mark E. Smith in longevity in the band. With Peter Hook, Andy Rourke and Gary Mounfield, he is widely considered one of the pre-eminent Manchester bassists of his generation.[1] He has always been very private and rarely interviewed; for this reason his 2014 autobiography The Big Midweek: Life Inside The Fall was highly anticipated. On publication it was met with widespread acclaim for its frank honesty and dry, no nonsense humour.[2]

He is currently a member of Brix & the Extricated with guitarist and vocalist Brix Smith Start.[3] He also plays bass with The House Of All, consisting of a number of other ex-Fall members, whose debut album was released in January 2023 to widespread acclaim.


The Fall: Steve Hanley and Brix Smith, Perverted By Language tour, Hamburg, 13 April 1984

In 1978 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. In a late 80s interview, Smith said that "the most original aspect of The Fall is Steve...I've never heard a bass player like him. He is The Fall sound."[4] Hanley co-wrote the music for over 100 Fall songs on more than a dozen albums; including the tracks "Rowche Rumble", "Fiery Jack", "Container Drivers", "Lie Dream of a Casino Soul", "Totally Wired", "Winter", "The N.W.R.A.", "To Nkroachment: Yarbles", "I Am Damo Suzuki", "Jerusalem", "Van Plague?", "Yes, O Yes", and "Free Range".

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]

Hanley, live with The Fall, 1980

Following his departure from the Fall, he formed Ark with Burns, Crooks and former Creepers bassist Pete Keogh, the band releasing the album Brainsold in 2002,[5] and joined the Lovers in 2001, a group fronted by Tom Hingley of Inspiral Carpets. Both these bands also featured Paul Hanley. 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,[6] as was his brother Paul Hanley. "The Big Midweek" a book chronicling Hanley's time in the Fall, written by him with Olivia Piekarski, released by Route Publishing on 15 September 2014.[7] He was also a member of Brix & The Extricated alongside brother Paul, Steve Trafford and Jason Brown.[8]

His 2014 autobiography The Big Midweek: Life Inside the Fall was met with critical acclaim.[9] As of 2023, Haney plays bass with The House Of All, a band consisting of his brother Paul, and other ex-Fall members Martin Bramah, Simon Wolstencroft, and Pete Greenaway. Their critically and fan acclaimed self-titled debut album is due for release in April 2023.[10][11]


Album Date of release Label
Dragnet 26 October 1979 Step Forward Records
Grotesque (After the Gramme) 17 November 1980 Rough Trade Records
Slates 27 April 1981 Rough Trade Records
Hex Enduction Hour 8 March 1982 Kamera Records
Room to Live 27 September 1982 Kamera Records
Perverted By Language 12 December 1983 Rough Trade Records
The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall 8 October 1984 Beggars Banquet Records
This Nation's Saving Grace 23 September 1985 Beggars Banquet Records
Bend Sinister 29 September 1986 Beggars Banquet Records
The Frenz Experiment 29 February 1988 Beggars Banquet Records
I Am Kurious, Oranj 31 October 1988 Beggars Banquet Records
Extricate 19 February 1990 Phonogram
Shift-Work 22 April 1991 Phonogram
Code: Selfish 23 March 1992 Phonogram
The Infotainment Scan 26 April 1993 Permanent Records
Matador Records
Middle Class Revolt 3 May 1994 Permanent Records
Cerebral Caustic 27 February 1995 Permanent Records
The Light User Syndrome 10 June 1996 Jet Records
Levitate 29 September 1997 Artful Records


  1. ^ a b "Dave Simpson – The Fallen". Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  2. ^ Lee, Simon. "After The Fall". Los Angeles Review of Books. Preview: 11 December 2014
  3. ^ Brix & The Extricated Totally Wired Hebden Bridge. Hebden Bridge Trades Club Sat 30 May 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2017
  4. ^ Melody Maker, 18 June 1983
  5. ^ Couture, François "Brainsold Review", AllMusic. Retrieved 3 March 2018
  6. ^ "Music - Factory Star". BBC. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  7. ^ "Buy Book | The Big Midweek". Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  8. ^ "Brix & The Extricated". Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  9. ^ Hoskyns, Barney"The Big Midweek: Life Inside the Fall". The Guardian, 1 October 2016
  10. ^ Disalvo, Tom. "Mark E. Smith’s family hit out at “extremely offensive” new project by former members of The Fall Mark E. Smith’s family hit out at “extremely offensive” new project by former members of The Fall". "NME, 2 February 2023. Retrieved 2 February 2023
  11. ^ "‘It’s a homage to what Mark E Smith taught us’: ex-Fall members House of All deny exploiting band’s legacy". The Guardian, 2 February 2023. Retrieved 2 February 2023


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