Madchester was a music and cultural scene that developed in the Manchester area of North West England in the late 1980s, in which artists merged alternative rock with acid house and dance culture as well as other sources, including psychedelia and 1960s pop. The label was popularised by the British music press in the early 1990s, and its most famous groups include the Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets, the Charlatans and 808 State.
The rave-influenced scene is widely seen as heavily influenced by drugs, especially ecstasy (MDMA). At that time, the Haçienda nightclub, co-owned by members of New Order, was a major catalyst for the distinctive musical ethos in the city that was called the Second Summer of Love.
The “baggy” sound generally includes a combination of funk, psychedelia, guitar rock and house music. In the Manchester context, the music can be seen as mainly influenced by the indie music that had dominated the city’s music scene during the 1980s, but also absorbing the various influences coming through the Haçienda.
Alongside the music, a way of dressing emerged that gave baggy its name. Baggy jeans (often flared) alongside brightly coloured or tie-dye casual tops and general ’60s style became fashionable first in Manchester and then across the country – frequently topped off with a fishing hat in the style sported by the Stone Roses’ drummer Reni. The overall look was part rave, part retro or part hippie, part football casual. Many Madchester bands had football casual fans and a number of bands even wore football shirts. Shami Ahmed’s Manchester-based Joe Bloggs fashion label specialised in catering for the scene, making him a multi-millionaire.
In mid-1989, media interest in the Manchester scene continued to grow. In September, the Happy Mondays released a Vince Clarke remix of “Wrote for Luck” as a single. In November, four important singles were released: “Move” by the Inspiral Carpets, “Pacific State” by 808 State, the Happy Mondays EP Madchester Rave On and “Fools Gold”/”What the World is Waiting For” by the Stone Roses.
The Happy Mondays record, featuring the lead track “Hallelujah!”, coined the term “Madchester” – it had originally been suggested by their video directors the Bailey Brothers as a potential t-shirt slogan
Madchester Rave On is the second EP by the Happy Mondays. It was released in November 1989 on Factory Records. The track “Hallelujah” became the band’s breakthrough release, reaching the top twenty in the UK and leading to the band’s first Top of the Pops appearance.
Shortly afterwards, the Happy Mondays released Madchester Rave On – The Remixes, a three-track EP of club DJ remixes. In the US, three of the EP tracks and two of the subsequent remixes were compiled into the seven-track US EP Hallelujah.