JOY DIVISION "Unknown Pleasures" (1979)
The darkest band ever? Joy Division didn't last long. Singer Ian Curtis, second from left,who struggled with epilepsy and depression, hanged himself in 1980. But the group's influence led to goth and bands from the Cure to Interpol. The long-awaited Curtis film "Control" is due this fall.
BUZZCOCKS "Singles Going Steady" (1979)
No one has matched pop to punk as well, and the band helped found indie rock and its ethos. Early singles "Ever Fallen in Love?" and "What Do I Get" capture the painful yearning of adolescence.
NEW ORDER "Power, Corruption & Lies" (1983)
Made up of the surviving members of Joy Division, this group was never as radical as the original, but it managed to merge darkness with the dance floor. Epitomized Factory Records' sharp graphic design.
THE SMITHS "The Queen Is Dead" (1986)
The band that saved English rock from synthesizers — and arguably the finest British group of the last 25 years. Morrissey's mournful, literate lyrics met the shimmering haze of Johnny Marr's folk-inspired guitar to become perfect, if often angst-ridden, pop songs. Their early work retains its power, but this is their masterpiece.
THE FALL "50,000 Fall Fans Can't Be Wrong" (2004)
What to do with the Fall? Probably Manchester's longest running band and one of its most influential: We might not have Pavement or Sonic Youth, for instance, without it. But the Fall's shards of sound can be hard to listen to. This recent release is a fine sampler.
THE STONE ROSES "The Stone Roses" (1989)
The group's ravishing and ambitious debut announced itself as an instant classic, one that brought attitude and swagger as well as great rock guitar and a hint of danceability, to mid-'60s pop. Sometimes chosen as the greatest British rock album of all time.
OASIS "(What's the Story) Morning Glory?" (1995)
The band is more famous than it has any right to be, but this record still stands up for its anthemic, Beatlesque force.
BADLY DRAWN BOY "The Hour of Bewilderbeast" (2000)
Damon Gough, who grew up in Bolton and now lives in Manc, makes folky, sometimes rambling songs that resolve into perfect melodies. There's good stuff on all his albums, but he has yet to top his debut.
DOVES "The Last Broadcast" (2002)
A sometimes brooding group that makes big, swooning, anthemic songs that combine Radiohead, the "shoegazer" style of music and, sometimes, the dance floor.
VARIOUS ARTISTS "24 Hour Party People" (2002)
This soundtrack from the great film about the Manchester music scene and the old Haçienda club includes the Durutti Column, Happy Mondays and 808 State.