Factory Communications Ltd. - A Chronology

Frank Brinkhuis © 1991/1998



In 1976 and '77, TV-presenter Tony Wilson had been hosting So It Goes, an alternative music show on Manchester's Granada Television. By bringing bands like Sex Pistols, Magazine and Buzzcocks on TV, Wilson had become a local personality. The story goes, that on January the 24th 1978 he decided to diversify his interests, and teamed up with his friend Alan Erasmus, an unemployed actor, to form The Movement of the 24th January (a name taken from the Situationist International Movement Of March 22nd). The same day he phoned an another old friend, Vini Reilly, to ask him whether he wanted to join a band Erasmus and himself were managing, called The Durutti Column.


The Factory club

A couple of months later, on May the 19th, Wilson opened The Factory club mainly out of his strong wish to support young bands from the Manchester area. The Factory run on Friday nights at the PSV/Russel Club, in Hulme. Among the bands billed for the 4 opening nights were The Durutti Column, Cabaret Voltaire and Joy Division. The poster for the evenings was designed by Peter Saville, who had heard from Richard Boon, manager of Buzzcocks, that Tony Wilson was opening a club and needed an appropriate poster. Although the poster wasn't finished in time to promote the first night, soon afterwards Saville became partner of Wilson and Erasmus.
The Factory proved to be a great success, and in September the partnership decided to release a double-EP, A Factory Sample, featuring bands who had played at The Factory. It was then, during a discussion between Wilson and Saville, that the strangest catalogue in the music industry was born. When Wilson told Saville that their EP would be FAC 1, Saville replied that his first poster for the club was FAC 1 and the EP would be FAC 2. From then on Factory constructed its own, entirely self-referring history by catalogueing not only records, cassettes and videos, but also important events, posters, badges, TV programmes, concerts, T-shirts, buildings, stationery, advertising campaigns, Xmas cards, etc.
In October, Martin Hannett, a local producer most known for his production on Buzzcocks' Spiral Scratch, joined as a director too, after producing most of the tracks for FAC 2.


A Factory Sample

A Factory Sample, featuring Joy Division, The Durutti Column, John Dowie and Cabaret Voltaire, appeared in January 1979, and marked Factory's start as a record company. The double 7" EP, financed by Wilson with money from an inheritance, sold out its edition of 5000 in three months time, and generated a net profit to Factory of GBP 87,-. The label set up offices in Alan Erasmus' apartment, at 86 Palatine Road in Didsbury, to stay there until September 1990.
Factory's first main release, Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures LP was put out in May. The same month also saw A Certain Ratio's debut 7" All Night Party, and Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark's debut 7" Electricity. OMITD would soon leave Factory, to sign a deal with Virgin's offshoot Dindisc, who later appointed Peter Saville as their in-house designer.
On August the 27th, Factory and Liverpool's Zoo Records organised the Zoo Meets Factory Halfway festival in Leigh, featuring Joy Division, OMITD, Echo And The Bunnymen and A Certain Ratio. The festival was attended by a mere 300 people.
September the 13th The Factory Flick, a series of short films by Charles Salem and Malcolm Whitehead (later of Ikon), starring Joy Division, A Certain Ratio and Ludus, was shown at Scala Cinema in London. The same month The Factory closed down for half a year.
In October, Joy Division's Transmission single got released. The band's manager, Rob Gretton, subsequently became Factory's fifth partner.


The Return Of The Durutti Column, Closer

Shortly after recording their tracks for A Factory Sample in the summer of 1978, The Durutti Column had split over musical differences. Guitarist Vini Reilly had decided though to go on alone as The Durutti Column and recorded an album with the help of Martin Hannett, The Return Of The Durutti Column (a title taken from a 1966 Situationist comic strip), that was issued in January 1980. The LP came packed in a heavy sandpaper sleeve, so that when it was placed in the racks, it would damage the other records (back in 1957, Situationist writer Guy-Ernest Debord had published a book bound in sandpaper).
In April, The Factory reopened for a short series of Friday night dates, before closing down permanently.
Then, on May the 18th, on the eve of an American tour, Joy Division's singer Ian Curtis, most likely the greatest live performer of his generation, committed suicide at his home. Ironically, Joy Division's single Love Will Tear Us Apart, released in June, climbed the UK charts to reach number 13.
Joy Division's second album, Closer, hit the shops in July. Many people were disgusted by the sleeve, depicting an ultra realistic tomb scene, photographed in some Italian graveyard. Few knew however that Peter Saville had completed the artwork a month before Curtis' death.


Foreign branches, New Order

Also in July, Factory opened foreign branches in Brussels and New York: Factory Benelux, run by Michel Duval and Annik Honoré (alongside their own label Les Disques Du Crepuscule), and Factory US, managed by Michael Shamberg.
In September, the remaining three members of Joy Division decided to go on as New Order (after dropping band names like 'The Eternal' and 'Sunshine Valley Dance Band'). They played their first gig in Manchester, before leaving for America for a short tour. On their return to Britain, in October, Gillian Gilbert was recruited as New Order's fourth member.
A Certain Ratio's Flight 12", one of Factory's most impressive records ever, was released in November. December saw A Factory Quartet -a double LP featuring The Durutti Column, Blurt, Kevin Hewick and The Royal Family And The Poor- and The Heyday, a Sex Pistols documentary cassette, containing interviews recorded during 1977 by Judy Vermorel. The cassette, notably the Sid Vicious interview, would eleven years later be described by Tony Wilson as "containing Factory's whole philosophy and all the reasons why the label is still around".


Ikon, The Hacienda must be built, FCL Ltd.

February 1981, Factory released New Order's debut single Ceremony. A few months later Factory's video division Ikon was established, operating from the basement of 86 Palatine Road.
A Certain Ratio's first album, To Each, housed in one of the most appalling Factory sleeves ever, was released in June, after a long delay, due to rows over Martin Hannett's mixing job. Hannett likewise put his stamp on Section 25's debut LP Always Now, that got released in August, and sold out it's initial pressing of 10.000 copies within a month, partly due -it must be said- to Peter Saville's magnificent packaging job.
In the meantime Factory and New Order had decided to build a (new) club, FAC 51 The Hacienda (the name was taken from Situationist Ivan Chtcheglov's 1953 essay Formulary For A New Urbanism). They set up Fac 51 Ltd. and purchased a disused sailing yachts showroom in the centre of Manchester. Industrial architect and Peter Saville collaborator Ben Kelly was given carte blanche to design the club.
The decision to build The Hacienda had its effects however. Martin Hannett left Factory when it became clear that the label didn't want to invest money in a recording studio. He was followed shortly afterwards by Peter Saville, who quit because Factory was putting its last penny into The Hacienda, so they couldn't produce any revenues to pay him. Saville moved to London (to found Peter Saville Associates early 1983), but remained associated with Factory as consultant until te label's demise in 1992.
In September Factory turned themselves into a limited company, trading under the name Factory Communications Ltd. The same month, New Order's second single Procession was released. October brought the much anticipated Joy Division double LP Still, that combined out-takes and rare tracks with a live recording of the bands final concert. Only a few weeks later, New Order's debut LP Movement was put in the shops. Around the same time Ikon issued their first video, A Factory Complication through Factory Benelux. The Durutti Column, now comprising Vini Reilly on guitar and Bruce Mitchell on drums, released Lc, in November.


The Hannett lawsuit, The Hacienda opened

1982 embarked rather quietly. The only release of real importance was A Certain Ratio's Sextet LP, in January.
In April, Martin Hannett instituted legal proceedings against Factory over unpaid (overseas) royalties on the Joy Division albums. The lawsuit would drag on until January 1984, when Factory and Hannett settled out of court.
May the 21st, The Hacienda was opened. An ugly pile of bricks on the outside, the inside was an accomplished architectural tour de force. The subtle use of high-tech materials, the strict colour scheme and the strong graphics, got the influential Architectural Review as far as calling FAC 51 "a significant milestone in British interior design". Although the club attracted a lot of attention and the number of memberships soon reached its limit, it was far from successful and often on the verge of a shut down, during the first four years of its existence.
In September, Factory moved into dance music, with Quando Quango's Tingle and 52nd Street's Look Into My Eyes 12" singles. The records were ignored in Britain, but got picked up in clubs in New York.
On Christmas eve, The Hacienda organised their first Christmas party. Co-owners New Order gave away a flexi, Merry X'mas From The Hacienda, FAC 51b, to those attending the party.


Blue Monday, Club hits in NYC

On January the 16th 1983 New Order debuted a new single at The Hacienda. The track, originally written to test the bands new drum machine, was self-produced, and called Blue Monday. It marked a turning point in the band's career, and carried them light years away from Joy Division. The 12" was not released until March however, because Peter Saville (responsible for all New Order's artwork through today) had difficulties finishing the sleeve, resembling a floppy disc. Blue Monday would become the best selling 12" of all time (more than three and a half million copies world wide).
In May New Order's second LP, Power Corruption And Lies was released, while The Hacienda celebrated its first birthday party, that went down in the catalogue as FAC 83.
New Order recorded a new single, Confusion, with the help of American producer Arthur Baker. The 12" was released in August. Confusion was not as strong as Blue Monday, but became a club hit in New York, where Factory started enjoying fame as a hot dance label, with 12"s by Quando Quango, Cabaret Voltaire, Section 25, Marcel King and A Certain Ratio.
In September, James' debut 7" Folklore was released. Because Factory was too busy trying to launch James' career, fellow-townsmen The Smiths decided not to join forces with the label, and signed for Rough Trade.
In October, Swing, a hairdressing salon, opened in the Hacienda basement. Around the same time, Tony Wilson bought some old warehouses in Manchester, to convert them into lofts. Eventually that project was called off. And for Christmas, Factory sent out Hacienda model kits, with the message 'The Hacienda must be built', another quote from Chtcheglov's Formulary For A New Urbanism.


The Tube at the Hacienda, Factory goes to Moscow

January the 27th 1984, Channel 4's The Tube broadcasted from The Hacienda. The Factory All Stars (including Vini Reilly, New Order's Stephen Morris and Bernard Sumner and ACR's Donald Johnson) performed classics like Shack Up, Confusion and Love Will Tear Us Apart.
Special projects director Alan Erasmus flew to Moscow in April, to open negotiations for recordings of young Russian classical musicians for a proposed new Factory Classical Label. His efforts failed when the Russian guy he dealt with in London, got expelled by the Thatcher-government for supposedly being a KGB agent! The poster Factory handed out to commemorate Erasmus' trip, is one of their best ever.
In August the label organised From Factory - A Series Of London Premieres, an entire week of concerts, exhibitions, films and video, at London's Riverside studios. Section 25, Stockholm Monsters, Kalima, Quando Quango, Jazz Defektors and 52nd Street all performed live. As did The Durutti Column, who for this occasion became a nine piece orchestra. They gave the first performance of Without Mercy, that was issued on LP later in the year.
Also in August, Channel 4 broadcasted Play At Home, a documentary about Factory, directed by New Order, and later heavily sampled by Gilbert and Morris for their Loved It CD.
For Christmas Factory and Ikon gave away a video to staff and friends: Bessy Talks Turkey, directed by Claude Bessy.


James, New Order in Japan, Happy Mondays

Early 1985, Factory wanted James to make an album, but the band don't think they were good enough yet. A compromise was found: a 7"EP, James II, issued in February, including Hymn From Village. Around the same time The Smiths were ready to release their third LP on Rough Trade...
The Durutti Column and New Order toured Japan in April and May. Both had their shows filmed for future video release.
In May, New Order issued a new single, The Perfect Kiss, and a new album, Low-Life, on one and the same day. The 11 minutes long promotional film for The Perfect Kiss was shot live in New Order's rehearsal studio by noted feature film director Johathan Demme.
May the 20th The Hacienda celebrated its third birthday, and the poster advertising the event, bore the meaningful message "Three At Last". The club was still "a hole in the ground, where Factory and New Order drop all their money in," to quote Martin Hannett.
July saw the opening of Factory Australasia, in Sydney Australia, that soon would become Factory's most successful foreign offshoot.
In September, Factory released Delightful, the debut 12" by Happy Mondays, who, like James, were brought to Factory's attention by Hacienda DJ and Quando Quango front-man Mike Pickering.
After a tour with The Smiths, James left Factory for Sire, because they thought they didn't get enough support from the label.
Peter Saville was so horrified with John Robie's remix of New Order's Subculture, that he refused to design a sleeve. In consequence the 12" was issued in a plain black die-cut sleeve.
In November Factory released their first CD, Domo Arigato, by The Durutti Column, recorded during the Japanese tour. Tony Wilson sounded the praise of the compact disc in an article in The Catalogue, but the very same month Factory started to re-release most of their back-catalogue on cassette!!
By the end of the year it became clear that both EMI and CBS were eager to sign New Order. New Order and Factory agreed that the band only had to give six months notice if they wanted to leave. But they stayed.


The Railway Children, Festival Of The Tenth Summer

February 1986 Mike Pickering became Factory's head of A&R and signed The Railway Children. He also started DJ-ing the Nude nights, on Friday at The Hacienda, playing house music from Detroit and Chicago, as the first DJ in England to do so. Slowly, the so called acid-house movement started to grow.
February the 8th, New Order played a benefit gig, From Manchester With Love, at Liverpool Royal Court, in aid of the labour councilmen of the Militant Tendency. In the meantime Factory sponsored the renovation of an old water mill at National Trust's Styal Village, near Manchester airport. By donating a water mill blade, they got a brass plaque, reading "This Bucket Donated By FAC 148".
The next month a deal was signed with Out Promotion, a London agency, as it dawned upon Wilson and co. that their records no longer sold themselves.
July 12th to 20th, Factory organised the Festival Of The Tenth Summer -concerts, design exhibitions, fashion shows, films, seminars and not to forget a badge- to celebrate Manchester's 10 years of punk. The festival culminated in a concert a the G-Mex Centre, featuring New Order, The Smiths, The Fall, Pete Shelley and A Certain Ratio. A compilation LP and video were planned for release, but never materialised.
In August New Order released State Of The Nation, recorded in Tokyo on their 1984 Japanese tour, in April 1985. Their fourth album, Brotherhood, was released in September. During the party to celebrate the release of the album, held at White Columns gallery in New York, Peter Saville unveiled Compact, a sculpture and video installation, specially made for New Order and Factory.
Factory's video dept. Ikon, moved their headquarters to Altrincham, and issued the long awaited Japanese live performances by New Order, Pumped Full Of Drugs, and The Durutti Column, Domo Arigato. Still in September, The Railway Children released their first single, A Gentle Sound.
Peter Saville's metallic design for the Brotherhood sleeve, that wasn't ready in time, was finally issued with a special edition of the album, in November. The same month Factory released A Certain Ratio's Force, the band's first proper album since 1982's I'd Like To See You Again.


Mad Fuckers, True Faith, Dry

In April 1987 Factory issued Happy Mondays' debut album Squirrel And G-Man, and The Railway Children's firstling Reunion Wilderness.
The Hacienda's fifth birthday, on May the 21st, was heavily celebrated, and it looked as if the club's lean times were over. A few weeks later Factory started an ambitious film project, Mad Fuckers!, a US$ 2,5 million feature length car chase/youth exploitation movie, that was to be directed by The Bailey Brothers, know for their videos for Happy Mondays.
New Order's True Faith single, released in July, heralded a new era for both the band and the label. The single becomes New Order's first top five hit. In August, their singles collection Substance 1987, hit the stores. The double-album reaches number three in the UK charts. Not very long afterwards rumours go that New Order are going to split. The NME (October 17 1987) even publish a memorial, written by Mirna Minkof (aka Cath Carroll). She wrote: "Sometimes it seemed like New Order had build and peopled Manchester and like all great institutions, their presence is so well-integrated that you take them for granted. Now that our heroes have ceased what will become of a city who's sole representatives are now The Fall?". It would take another seven years before new Order would finally call it a day (or at least it seems so). And by that time so much had changed in Manchester's music scene, that no one really cared about the band's demise.

In the autumn of '87, The Railway Children sign a deal with Virgin, and A Certain Ratio left Factory for A&M, who offered the band a multi-album deal (to drop them after 2 albums). Factory bought premises in Manchester's Oldham Street for a new bar, Dry, "that will be to the bars, what The Hacienda is to clubs," as Wilson put it.
In December, The Durutti Column released The Guitar And Other Machines. The album was simultaneously issued on DAT, to become the world's first ever new release on the new digital format.


The 10th Anniversary, Blue Monday 1988, Bummed

Factory's 10th anniversary, on January the 24th 1988, passed by without too much notice, except for the Factory Tenth Anniversary Wall Planner, sent out to friends and connections. In the meantime, the news was that New Order would be doing a Sunkist orange juice commercial in the USA, using the music from Blue Monday. The lyrics to the song were changed for the commercial (Orange Monday!), but (luckily) Sunkist decided not to use the track.
In February, Factory released The Durutti Column's entire early Factory UK back catalogue as a 4CD-set, The First Four Albums, along with the label's first ever CDVideo, When The World, also by The Durutti Column.
Punk historians Fred and Judy Vermorel waged a tactical campaign at Britain's national publishers association BPI, the policing mechanism that seeks to control pop music in Britain. Factory (not members of the BPI) released Vermorel's Stereo/Porno single, "specially commissioned for the BPI Awards 1988," as the label of the single read.
Early March, Miaow, fronted by Cath Carroll, split after two singles for Factory, and just before the release of a third 7", Dusty Springfield, and debut LP Priceless Innuendoes. The album and single were subsequently scrapped.
May saw the release of New Order's Blue Monday 1988, a US remodelling of the 1983 original, by Quincy Jones, head of Qwest, Factory's label in the USA.
In July, Factory were at the heart of controversy, when they re-released Joy Division's Atmosphere single, in the wake of the Substance 1977-1980 compilation album. The video for Atmosphere, directed by Dutch photographer Anton Corbijn, depicted a procession of monks, carrying blow-ups of photos of Ian Curtis, shot in 1980 by Corbijn himself! Many people missed the point and Factory and Corbijn were accused of tastelessly 'flogging the dead horse'. A CDVideo release of Atmosphere was cancelled at the eleventh hour.
July the 1st, Channel 4 TV broadcasted Wired Feature Joy Division, a short documentary featuring the members of New Order, Wilson, Gretton and Erasmus.
In August, house music reached its first height in Manchester, during what was later referred to as 'The Second Summer Of Love'. Martin Hannett started recording with Happy Mondays, for their second album.
After 10 years of verbal agreements with artists and bands and with so many bands having left, the first official Factory contracts were signed up in September. Cath Carroll was the first artist to sign (reportedly for an 8-album deal!), followed soon by Happy Mondays. The same month Factory acquired a building near the centre of Manchester, to house their new offices. Before rebuilding started -in the summer of 1989- the site was used for flyposting, and plastered from bottom to top with fly posters, on every new Factory release.
Tony Wilson flew to Hollywood, to try to raise money for Mad Fuckers!. There was even talk of a second Bailey Brothers film, The One Armed Boxer, but that idea was pretty soon abandoned.
Happy Mondays' second album Bummed, masterminded by a still brilliant Hannett, saw its release in November, when New Order delivered the Fine Time single, taken from their forthcoming album.
On December the 17th, New Order and Happy Mondays played G-Mex together. The flick book from New Order's Blue Monday 1988 video, was sent out as a Christmas gift.


Technique, Factory Classical, Revenge, Electronic

New Order's sixth album, Technique was released in January 1989, supported by Advertising Technique: a GBP 22,000 billboard campaign at 150 sites all over Great Britain, and a series of commercials on Granada TV.
A second single, Round And Round, got released in February, and Tony Wilson bet Rob Gretton that he would resign as chairman, if the single wouldn't go top five. Round And Round reached only number 13, but Wilson stayed.
In March New Order's Bernard Sumner started working on a solo project, and Ikon cut their ties with Factory to become self-reliant. The Mondays teamed up with 60's star Karl Denver, for a new version of Lazy-itis, that was released in May. A few months later Factory also released a new house version of Denver's old hit Wimoweh.
After ten years of non- and anti-advertising (i.e. the infamous black pages with the message: "another bloody Factory ad, generously paid for by our distributors Pinnacle") all new Factory releases were from now on duly advertised and promoted in the press.
In May, The Hacienda flew to Amsterdam, to celebrate its 7th birthday in The Roxy club. In June, an entire page in NME was dedicated to Factory and catalogued as FAC 227, while in July Dry201 opened its doors.
In August New Order embarked on a huge American tour. A new 12", Run, was released in a limited edition in England, but not on the other side of the Atlantic, after the band lost a publishing battle over the track, being found guilty of ripping off John Denver's Leaving On A Jet Plane!
The American tour was a financial success (it was rumoured that the band members each earned $ 1 million!), but nearly caused the band to split. On their return, the 4 members decided to concentrate on solo-projects for a while, and to put New Order on ice. Technique in the meantime, didn't become the "significant world force," Wilson had anticipated. The album sales in Canada and the USA did not come up to expectations.
Factory's new Classical Label launched its first series of albums in September. In November, Happy Mondays released the Madchester Rave On EP, again produced by Hannett. Peter Hook's 'hobby band' Revenge, made their debut with Seven Reasons. The next month Electronic, comprising Bernard Sumner and ex-Smiths Johnny Marr, also put out their first single: Getting Away With It.
Early December, Factory opened The Area, a memorabilia shop in Affleck's Arcade, in Oldham Street, just across the street of Dry201. And the British Football Association commissioned New Order to write England's official song for the 1990 World Cup, in Italy.


Madchester, The Hallucienda, FAC 251, Classics In Motion

The 'Madchester' cult grew out of any proportion in the early months of 1990. Record labels were eager to contract anything with a Manchester connection. Factory only signed the unknown band Northside, during a belated Xmas party in February.
In an interview in The Face Wilson was quoted by Nick Kent saying: "Ian Curtis dying on me was the greatest thing that's happened to me. Death sells," to add, that he had no problem making money on the death of a good friend. Five years later, long after the damage was done, The Face's editor Sheryl Garrett would admit that the qoute was made up and that Wilson had never said it!
In March, The Hacienda officially became The Hallucienda. A 16 year old girl died from an ecstasy overdose, and the police threatened to close down the club. The NME claimed that Wilson single handedly switched the A-and B-sides of Northside's debut single, because he thought the drugs-reference of Shall We Take A Trip was good fun.
England New Order's World Cup anthem World In Motion was released in May. The single became New Order's first number one hit, and the England team went on to reach the semi-finals in Italy. That last thing surely was a bigger surprise than the first!
In June, The Hacienda's 'Trance American Tour' hit New York, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and other American cities. Revenge released the long awaited One True Passion album. Later it was revealed that Factory spent GBP 15,000, to have the album remixed, because they were unhappy with the original mix.
Factory's 1990 New Music Seminar campaign went under the title From Manchester With Love. Wilson told the Americans they were musically brain dead, and presented new British music as some kind of massive drug deal.
On September the 29th, Factory at long last opened their new offices, FAC 251, in Charles Street. People invited for the opening party received Loved It - The Old Factory, a CD by New Order's Stephen and Gillian.
Classics in Motion was the name given to a series of classical showcases in Glasgow, Manchester and London, featuring Rolf Hind, Steve Martland, Graham Fitkin and I Fagiolini.
Happy Mondays' 'music for parties' album Pills 'n' Thrills And Bellyaches, was released in November. Only but a shadow of Bummed, the album was unanimously voted best album of the year by the British music press, who had hyped the band to death over the course of 1990.


Hannett's death, Cities In The Park, Palatine

January 1991, Factory's Classical Dept. released a second series of albums. The Hacienda won a licensing case against the Manchester police, but nevertheless closed down voluntarily only 3 weeks later, following allegations of gang warfare. The Area was closed down too, for good.
Early February rumours went that Factory wanted to open a bar in Glasgow, Ten, as well as one in Liverpool. Factory did buy however a part of the old Daily Telegraph Newspaper building in the heart of Manchester, that they wanted to turn into a new club, in the future.
In April, Martin Hannett died, presumably due to his long time drug addiction. The same month Peter Saville -out of touch with music- announced that he would no longer design for Factory, except the odd New Order project.
May the 10th The Hacienda re-opened, right in time to celebrate its 9th birthday. Also in May, Electronic released their eponymous debut album. June saw debut albums from Cath Carroll, Northside and The Wendys. The script for the Mad Fuckers! was finished, and casting had starteds. It very much looked as if Factory was more alive than ever.
In July, Factory announced In The City, the British equivalent of the New Music Seminar. The first seminar was planned for September 1992.
The second day of the huge Cities In The Park festival, in Heaton Park, Manchester, on August the 4th, was made into a special Factory event, featuring Happy Mondays, Electronic, Revenge, The Durutti Column, Cath Carroll, Adventure Babies and The Wendys. The event was sub-titled 'In Memoriam Martin Hannett'. Just a week later Factory released Martin, a tribute album, containing an anthology of the legendary producer's work with Joy Division, New Order, U2, A Certain Ratio, Buzzcocks and others.
Early September, the news leaked out that Factory were in very serious financial trouble, and near to bankruptcy. People were made redundant and some record companies, including Mute, London and Warner Bros., made bids on the label. The label was not sold though, and claimed it had sorted out its finances.
Late October, The Other Two, aka Gillian Gilbert and Stephen Morris of New Order, finally made their 'solo' debut with Tasty Fish, a slice of classic pop, that failed to chart, because Factory couldn't get the records in the shops in time. New Order went back into the studio in November, to record tracks for their seventh album.
After an embarrassing interviews in NME and Melody Maker, Happy Mondays were dropped by the public and the press, who were shocked by the racist and homophobic ideas of band members Shaun Ryder and Bez. Subsequently the Mondays' single Judge Fudge failed to chart. The follow-up single, a cover version of The Bee Gees' Staying Alive, was simply scrapped by Factory.
December the 2nd, Palatine, The Factory Story 1979-1990, saw its release. The handsomely packaged but slightly disappointing 4-album set marked the end of an era, since the label seemed to be on the brink of losing identity and credibility.


Financial trouble, The Hacienda's 10th birthday, Bankrupt!

The label's first sign of life in 1992 was an EP by Revenge, Gun World Porn, around the time that the word was that Phonogram subsidiary London wanted to buy out Factory. Factory confirmed that London wanted to take a share in the label and that a deal was imminent.
Happy Mondays, about to go back into the studio to record their fourth studio album, couldn't agree with Factory about the producer. In the end Talking Heads duo Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth is chosen, and the band start recording. But due to multiple drug addictions and personal conflicts, the recording took very long. New Order too spent ages in the studio to record their new album.
Adventure Babies' Barking Mad single, in May, was only Factory's second release of the year. Also in May, The Hacienda's 10th birthday was celebrated with a whole string of events, including a 'secret' Pet Shop Boys gig at the club.
Jon Savage's The Hacienda Must Be Built!, a book tracing the club's history, was also announced, but in typical Factory style, didn't hit the shops until September. In the meantime, the deal with London still couldn't be finalised, while new albums by Adventure Babies and Steve Martland didn't get the anticipated reaction.
In September, when New Order finally left the studio having spent more than GBP 400,000,-, Happy Mondays' new album ...Yes Please! was released. Both the press and the public weren't very impressed and the album sales were poor. The second single from the album, Sunshine & Love, was released on November the 9th. It turned out to be the last record Factory would ever release, because on 'black Monday' November the 23rd the label went into receivership with a GBP 2,500,000,- debt. The exorbitant recording costs of the Mondays and New Order albums, the effect of interst rates on the property owned by Factory and a general lull in the music industry were the main causes. A last minute saving arrangement with London collapsed, when it became clear that million sellers New Order -and not Factory- owned the rights to their material.

Frank Brinkhuis, 1991/1998.

This page, and all contents, are Copyright © 1991/1998 by Frank Brinkhuis.