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Covering Factory

Cover of The Durutti Column LP The Guitar and Other Machines, 1987,Artwork reproduced with the kind permission of Mark Holt / Hamish Muir.

Manchester-based record label Factory Records was born 30 years ago. More than just music, Factory pioneered artwork and architecture which redefined Manchester in the 1980s and 90s.

Cover of Happy Mondays Bummed LP, 1988. Artwork reproduced with the kind permission of Central Station Design.

The label behind bands like Joy Division and the Happy Mondays was started by TV presenter Tony Wilson, who died in 2007. It was run for the love of music rather than as a money-making business.

Happy Mondays LP Yes please! 1992.  Artwork reproduced with the kind permission of Central Station Design

"Factory broke all the rules," says author Matthew Robertson, who has compiled the entire back catalogue of album art. "They did things that would be considered madness still in the music industry."

Cover of New Order 12 inch Round & Round, 1989. Artwork reproduced with the kind permission of Peter Saville

"One of the startling things about Factory records was the amount of freedom they allowed everybody," says Joy Division bassist Peter Hook. "It was a very catalystic environment to be in."

New Order's Blue Monday album cover

The single for New Order's Blue Monday became the biggest-selling 12-inch single in UK history, but the cost of producing one of the intricate sleeve designs meant that the company lost money.

Cover of Happy Mondays 12 inch Judge Fudge. Artwork reproduced with the permission of Central Station Design.

Factory records went bankrupt in 1992. Tony Wilson claimed that the label was on the verge of signing massive selling rock bands Pulp and Oasis before they went bust.

Anthony Wilson dies from cancer
Friday, 10 August 2007, 21:36 GMT |  Manchester
How Tony Wilson changed music
Tuesday, 14 August 2007, 09:31 GMT |  Entertainment
Factory Records remembered
Thursday, 20 September 2007, 19:09 GMT |  England

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