Being an avid gig-goer and music fanatic, I was interested to find out just who has played inside the four walls of our university. In this three-part series, I’ve delved back through 55 years of amazing music, taking in artists from Manchester legends The Smiths and New Order, to the heavy rock gurus Black Sabbath and Motörhead. I’m starting my timeline in the 1960s and 1970s, along with some of my favourite tracks!


Image: The Hollies The Hollies in 1965

Born in Manchester, and pioneers in harmonic vocals, The Hollies became one of the biggest British pop/rock bands of the 60’s. They played Salford in 1965, the same year this photograph was taken and when they were right in their prime. Hits include ‘Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress)’, ‘The Air That I Breathe’, and ‘He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother’.

My favourite track: Bus Stop – (Top of the Pops 1966)

THE WHO – 1968

Image: The WhoThe Who in 1974

I just can’t believe The Who once played our university! One of the greatest bands of all time IMO, selling over 100 million records across the world, the band played Salford in 1968, coinciding with the release of the hit single ‘My Generation’. The Who have been a major contributor to the music culture scene in Britain since their album Quadrophenia, documenting the life and times of young mod Jimmy, and 60’s mod culture.

My favourite tracks: I’m The Face (The High Numbers), Baba O’Riley (The Who)


Black Sabbath in 1970 on TOTP

Heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath formed in 1968, just two years before they played Salford. With lead vocalist and master of doom metal, Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath helped to shape and define metal as a genre, being one of the biggest influences in music of all time. Their popularity was sparked by an appearance on John Peel’s radio show ‘Top Gear‘, followed by their album Black Sabbath which was released on Friday 13th (spooooky – I expected nothing else from Ozzy) February 1970, reaching number 8 in the UK Albums Chart.

My favourite track: Electric Funeral – (Black Sabbath)


Image: Status Quo
Status Quo in 1978

Opening Live Aid in 1985 with hit ‘Rockin’ All Over The World’, Status Quo have more chart hits than any other rock band. You’ll definitely have heard quite a few of their tunes, without necessarily knowing it was them. Their music is a healthy balance between psychedelic and boogie rock, resulting in a consistent popularity to this day. They even have their own beer brand! Status Quo played Salford in 1972 with the tour of their album Dog Of Two Head.

My favourite track: Pictures Of Matchstick Men (Status Quo)


Image: Hawkwind


Hawkwind are one of the first ever space rock bands with their science fiction lyrics and psychedelic themes, and have also been largely considered as an influential pronto-punk band. There has been over 40 members and contributors to Hawkwind over the years, from 1969 to the present, with Dave Brock remaining the only original member of the band. Motörhead’s Ian (Lemmy) Kilmister was also once a member, and was in fact in the band when they played Salford in 1976. Motörhead themselves also played the university later on in 1977.

My favourite track: Hurry on Sundown (Hawkwind)

Which artists played Salford in the 1980s? Part 2 coming soon!