Happy Birthday to Steve Hanley! – born May 29, 1959

Happy Birthday to Steve Hanley! – born May 29, 1959

Steve Hanley (born May 29, 1959) is an Irish-born English musician, based in Manchester. He is best known for playing bass guitar in The Fall from 1979 to 1998, and afterwards in The Lovers.

Hanley’s distinctive bass lines were a signature part of The Fall, often carrying a song’s instrumental melody without forsaking the bass guitar’s traditional role as a propulsive element of the rhythm section. He is described by critic Dave Simpson[ as “one of British music’s greatest bassists”. Second only to founding vocalist Mark E. Smith in longevity in the group, Hanley co-wrote over 100 songs on more than a dozen albums. Smith spoke publicly of his admiration for Hanley, telling Melody Maker in 1983 “The most original aspect of The Fall is Steve…I’ve never heard a bass player like him…I don’t have to tell him what to play, he just knows. He is The Fall sound.”


In 1976 he played in The Sirens alongside Marc Riley and Craig Scanlon. When Riley left to join The Fall, they became Staff 9, but disbanded when Hanley and Scanlon joined The Fall themselves in 1979. During the first half of the 1980s, Hanley’s brother Paul was also a member of The Fall playing drums and keyboards.

Hanley left The Fall in April 1998 following an onstage altercation in New York, which also resulted in the departures of longtime drummer Karl Burns and guitarist Tommy Crooks. Smith regretted the row and asked Hanley to return, but the bassist declined.

More on Steve Hanley here.


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