Factory Records: Artists

"Nineteen eighty-four was a quiet year. James, who had issued their quirky folk-pop debut 'Folklore' the previous year, languished, while the long-standing legal battle with former director Hannett was resolved and Rob Gretton's molar construction entered into the annals of history (Fac 99).

"By this time, however, a bunch of itinerants from Little Hulton had become regular faces on the scene and at the end of '85 issued their first single, 'Delightful, This Feeling, Oasis' under the name Happy Mondays. Historically it eclipsed releases by Abecedarians, Red Turns To... and The (enduring) Wake, but failed to match the strident melody of James' 'Hymn From A Village' for sheer quality. James would have their day, but not on this label.

"By this time, a movement towards minimalistic American dance music (ironically inspired by New Order and the Cabs) was evident in the Hacienda. Too early in the decade to have a clear influence on what would become renowned as 'Madchester', DJ (and member of Quando Quango) Mike Pickering became A&R man and (somewhat perversely) signed Gary Newby's guitar outfit The Railway Children. They issued their sublime debut, 'A Gentle Sound', followed by the warmly-received album 'Reunion Wilderness' and added to the label's commercial success during '87. New Order scored their first Top Five hit with 'True Faith' (after the equally impressive 'Bizarre Love Triangle' mysteriously failed to trouble the statisticians six months before) and the Mondays released their first LP 'Squirrel and G-Man 24 Hour Party People Plastic Face Carn't Smile (White Out). A Certain Ratio were the label's second departure of the year as they joined A&M for what turned out to be an uncomfortable one-album tenure.

"Investing in new office property in Princess Street, the move was delayed and both New York and Brussels headquarters closed down.. In the wake of more rumours of financial difficulties Factory suddenly got real. During the mid-'80s the company became less maverick, employing more sophisticated marketing techniques in line with the rest of the music industry. While this failed to dissuade James from jumping for US major Sire, other acts such as the Mondays and Cath Carroll signed the label's first ever written contracts and even New Order made an agreement to give six months notice before quitting Factory. Happy Mondays' 'Bummed', an uncut diamond of a record, preceded New Order's first Number One album, 'Technique'. While the nation was caught under the spell of acid house and The Hacienda became a Mecca for dance music, Anthony H announced his resignation - temporarily of course - over a bet with Rob Gretton, who correctly predicted that New Order's 'Round and Round' 45 would fail to dent the upper echelons of the charts (Fac 252). It reached a humble Number 21.

"The new era dawned for Factory with Happy Mondays' 'Wrote For Luck'. Employing the dance remix, if not for the first, but certainly the most effective occasion, the rode the giant wave of the balearic dance movement, Shaun Ryder and co becoming the unlikeliest of heroes to be adopted by the new pop generation.

"In truth, it was The Hacienda, as opposed to the label, that became the focal point of events during this time. Alan Erasmus won acclaim for his burgeoning classical offshoot with agit-composer Steve Martland's 'Babi Yar' LP. Old faces like Kalima and The Durutti Column continued along their way, while Northside and Peter Hook's Revenge offered little in terms of musical inspiration. Happy Mondays ruled the roost with massive releases like 'Hallelujah', 'Step On' and the 'Pills 'N' Thrills And Bellyaches' LP, but even they weren't generating the kind of sales required to keep the organisation in the black."

- extract from 'Young Gifted and FAC' NME 17 October 1992

FACT 400 - Palatine - Selling Out

FACT 400 - Palatine - Selling Out