Marion are an English rock band, formed originally in 1993, in Macclesfield, Cheshire.
They became unfairly synonymous with the Britpop music scene, releasing two acclaimed albums 'This World And Body' and 'The Program,' alongside appearing on the Britpop Now
BBC television special.
Through extensively worldwide touring they became the band to see and beat live, picking up a hugely loyal fan base.
Influenced by local stars like Joy Division and Buzzcocks and they were even hailed as possible successors to The Smiths.
Gigging relentlessly soon paid off as the band signed initially to Rough Trade releasing their debut single 'Violent Men'
. They then went on to sign to London Records in October 1994 and released a succession of singles; 'Sleep' , 'Toys For Boys' and 'Let's All Go Together'
. They continued to tour and built a fan base, via the NME Brats Tour and support slots with Radiohead and Morrissey in 1995. They also gained notoriety around this time when Sleep' was used in an advert for Citroen cars, and this led to an appearance on Channel 4's 'The Word' programme and an appearance on the cover of Melody Maker in April of the same year.
Early 1995, saw the band start recording their first album, 'This World and Body' with producer Al Clay. They recorded the album through May and June, before playing the Glastonbury Festival
. It was released in early 1996 and promoted with singles 'Sleep' (re-recorded and reissued) and 'Time'
. The album went top 10 and touring continued, including trips to Europe, Japan and America.
The band largely disappeared from sight in 1997 to record their second album 'The Program', with former guitarist of The Smiths, Johnny Marr. Around this time, cracks began to appear in the band, in part due to the excesses of the rock and roll lifestyle taking hold. However, amid the delicate chaos, a single, 'Miyako Hideaway' was released in early 1998, and the band played gigs and festivals in support, even once again travelling to Japan. The album wasn't released until September that year when it almost apologetically crept onto the shelves of shops with little or no promotion. Another single, 'Sparkle', was released, but only in Japan.
In May 1999 following an American tour, the band disbanded and went their separate ways.
Harding went on to work with friend Wayne Ward, writing and demoing tracks, with a view to releasing an E.P. (tentatively titled Sisters) under the name Marion. While numerous tracks were produced from this collaboration, running from 1999-2005 in various sessions, involving both Johnny Marr and Joe Moss. Nothing has so far ultimately come of it. From the result of these sessions, the following tracks were recorded: 'Can't Help You', 'Loaded All This To Say' and 'Anyway'. Harding went on to take time away from the music business, heading off to Eastern Europe for a prolonged break.
Phil Cunningham continued to play guitar, joining as a touring guitarist for Electronic and working with bands Run Run Run and Label. (Harding even joined Label on stage at one point to run through a couple of Marion tracks - 'Sleep' and 'The Only Way'). He then went on to join New Order
when Gillian Gilbert left the band for personal reasons. Tony Grantham has also continued in the music business, initially in Chalk then RYNA and most recently The Switch.
Murad left the music business, while bass player Julian Phillips joined a number of bands including Echo & The Bunnymen
, Elextrafixion and Vinny Peculiar.
At the beginning of 2006, Harding and Cunningham started working together again, writing new songs, and planning to put together a band for a gig in Bath in early April. Bringing in local musicians Jake Evans on guitar and Che Hargreaves on bass, and recruiting Jack Mitchell from Haven on drums, they duly played a show comprising both old and brand new songs. Initially, this was meant to be a one-off show under the name Marion, with a new name to be chosen at a later date, but it was ultimately decided to keep performing under the same name. Further sold out shows were played in Manchester and London in September and then again in December of the same year to even bigger crowds, with new songs debuted both times. Cunningham continued to divide his time between Marion and New Order.
On 24th August Carl who at the time was managing the the band, via The Marion Archives
, announced that the band were still together but had suffered some major setbacks. The open letter stated that the response to the reformation was far greater than they expected but that since both Che had broken his neck and Harding had been admitted to hospital, with a blood condition that required open-heart surgery. He was described as being 'unwell' but that he was making a slow and steady recovery.
Fast forward to September 2011 and after several nights out in Macclesfield and London, Marion came together again in the form of original members: Jaime Harding
, Phil Cunningham
, Anthony Grantham
, Julian Phillips
alongside drummer Jack Mitchell
was duly re-launched alongside the band's Facebook site
announcing their much anticipated return, with a big comeback show at Manchester's Club Academy on Saturday 17th December 2011 which is to be recorded for a live Marion album entitled 'Alive In Manchester'.
Grew up in Macclesfield, and through his school days played in numerous bands with many different musicians, but the common factor being Phil Cunningham. Together, they formed Marion in 1993. After 5 years, 2 albums, a handful of top 40 singles and a huge number of live performances, the band disintegrated. Feeling disillusioned with the music industry, he retreated from public view and went travelling in Eastern Europe.
7 years later, with his muse fully returned, Jaime once again teamed up with Phil, resurecting the Marion name to start afresh.
After recovering from illness in 2007, he played his first solo gig in May 2008.
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Picture: Chris Delamere
Picture: Azalee Mouille
Where Jaime drifted out of view, away from the music scene, Phil remained involved in various bands in the years after the original Marion line-up disolved, including Electronic, Tailgunner, Label and Run Run Run. He eventually joined, and continues to perform with, New Order. He's back working with Jaime, continuing a songwriting relationship that's lasted over 15 years.
While Marion stalled in 2007, New Order split up and Phil has been working as part of a new project called Bad Lieutenant with memembers of New Order and Blur.
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After leaving Marion in late 1998 Anthony started the noise/no wave rock group Chalk who supported The Fall and released a few singles. Following this was a guitar pop band Ryna and a trip hop outfit called The Switch who have a song on the John Cooper Clark tribute album. Anthony has two adopted children and a well stocked left handed guitar collection.
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"I was running a little club in Macclesfield in 1992.
The club had 4 bands a week playing.
I'd become almost immune to impression, the odd band made me look up from the bar.
One night a little punk band replaced the booked hardcore dance DJ at short notice...., no sound check, they set up as the club was filling up.
Two ramshackle half songs into the set, I was beginning to notice this beautiful powerful and sensitive voice coming from the singer, it was soaring through the room and truly perplexing the Ee'd up crowd who'd turned up expecting to hear nosebleed techno.
I however sensed something special and told the bar staff they're gonna be one down on the bar tonight.
I watched this kid singing, his back mostly turned to the crowd, he looked about 15, and definitely far too young to be stood on that beer soaked floor called a stage.
For the final song of their 20 minute set, I saw the guitarist privately roll up every knob on his amp to full. Fuck sonic correctness and fuck this crowd.
The singer was Jaime Harding.
The guitarist was Phil Cunningham.
The band was The Shags.
The worst and best band to have come through those doors in my time at that club.
Two months later I joined The Shags...... But Jaime had already left.
I left the club to go on a dream holiday to America (I wanted to go to Hollywood to become famous). However, I got mugged at knife point in Toronto and had all my money taken away. I had no return ticket.
I spent the beginning of 1993 riding a bicycle from Toronto to New York City (dressed in a dinner jacket, polka dot shorts and brogues). I lived off food from bins and slept wherever I could find. I nearly and genuinely lost my life 3 times.
I ended up as a chimney sweep in Marysville PA. I looked so bad it was the only job I could get. I was broken.
I finally returned to England at Christmas 1993, went into my favourite pub (The Millstone) and saw Jaime sat at a table with some friends... I was still fucked up from the trauma I'd just come out of, but I needed to tell him how knocked out I was a year ago at that gig.
It was the first time I'd spoken to him and was surprised just how friendly he was, especially when all I knew of him was that nonchalant fuck you performance I'd seen.
I said something corny like "stay with it kid coz you've got what it takes". I also told him I'd joined The Shags specially to be in a band with him. Corny or not, I fucking meant it!
A week later I was sat in my room listening to The Fall and smoking pot when I heard a knock at the door downstairs, I opened my window to look out (too caned to go downstairs).
I saw in the street below Jaime with another guy.
I invited them in and played The Fall, The Chameleons and Joy Division at them really loud. After about half an hour, Jaime and Murad (the other guy) said they've started a band called Marion and want me to be bass player.
I said "I don't play bass......."
They said "we want you in our band."
Jaime also told me they'd knocked on every door on my street until they got to mine, as they didn't know which was my house.
I said "get me a bass and I'll learn."
4 days later I was part of Marion.
16 unbelievably crazy dangerous years later, I'm part of Marion again."
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Jack Mitchell played in Mark Coyle's Tailgunner alongside Phil before joining Haven early 2001. Haven enjoyed some success recording two albums, notching up two top 30 hits, appearing on Top Of The Pops and touring the world extensively. A third album is recorded and may be released at some point in the future.
Has since played in Bad Lieutenant (alongside Phil) and was part of the 2006 Marion line up. Haven continue to keep in touch.
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Picutre: Anna Cerabino