History of Inspiral Carpets

  1. Madchester bands
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  3. History of Inspiral Carpets

Since their formation in 1983, Inspiral Carpets have gone on to become one of the most iconic bands of the ‘Madchester’ era. From the early days of their debut album ‘Life’, to the acclaimed and successful ‘Dung 4’, and beyond, they have influenced generations of musicians, and their music is still heard in pubs, clubs and festivals around the world. In this article, we will explore the history of Inspiral Carpets, from their formation to their eventual disbandment. The British band Inspiral Carpets was an integral part of the 'Madchester' music scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Drawing from a mix of psychedelia, post-punk, and Manchester's 'baggy' sound, they released several well-known songs and albums, becoming one of the most important bands of the era.

The band formed in Oldham in 1983, initially under the name 'Cow'. After a few line-up changes, including the addition of vocalist Stephen Holt, they changed their name to Inspiral Carpets in 1986. They signed to Cow Records, run by label manager and producer Martin Hannett, who helped them record their first single, 'Planecrash'. The song was released in 1987 to critical acclaim and became a minor hit. In 1988, they released their debut album, 'Life', which included the singles 'Joe', 'This Is How It Feels', and 'Dragging Me Down'. This album propelled them to success and showcased their distinct blend of psychedelic rock and dancefloor sounds.

In 1990, they released their second album 'The Beast Inside', which included their hit single 'Saturn 5'. This album saw a slight change in sound for the band, with a more electronic-based approach, though still with their signature sound. The album was followed by two successful singles, 'I Want You' and 'She Comes in the Fall'.Their third album, 'Revenge of the Goldfish', was released in 1992. The album featured the hit singles 'Dragging Me Down' and 'Generations', as well as two further singles which were not as successful. Despite this, the album was well-received by critics and fans alike.

Inspiral Carpets

went on to release two further albums in 1994 and 1996 before disbanding in 1998. During their time together, they had become an important part of the Madchester scene and had earned a strong reputation amongst music fans.

They have since reformed several times for reunion shows and continue to be held in high regard by fans of the genre.


Despite never achieving commercial success on a global scale, Inspiral Carpets are remembered as one of the most important bands of the Madchester scene. Their influence can be heard in many of the alternative bands that followed, from Oasis to The Stone Roses. They are credited with helping to shape the 'baggy' sound of Manchester during the late 1980s and early 1990s and remain an important part of British music history. The band continues to have a cult following, with their music still being played at festivals and clubs.

Inspiral Carpets are often cited as a major influence by many current bands, including Kasabian, The Charlatans and The Courteeners. Their legacy lives on in the music they created, and their influence is still felt today.


Inspiral Carpets were influential in shaping the sound of Madchester. Their blend of post-punk, psychedelia, and dancefloor beats was unique at the time and has since become a hallmark of the genre. They were also one of the first bands to play what has come to be known as ‘shoegaze’ music.

The band's influence was evident in their songwriting approach, which was heavily influenced by the sounds of 1960s psychedelic rock and 1970s punk. The combination of these two styles was a key factor in the development of the Madchester scene. Inspiral Carpets' music also incorporated elements of electronica, funk, and dub, creating a unique sound that blended traditional instruments with modern production techniques. Inspiral Carpets also had a major influence on the Manchester music scene.

They helped to create an atmosphere of openness and creative expression that gave rise to many of the bands that followed in their wake. Inspiral Carpets were one of the first bands to embrace the then-emerging rave culture, playing warehouse parties alongside DJs such as Mike Pickering and Dave Haslam. This further helped to shape the sound of the Madchester scene. The band's influence was felt beyond Manchester as well. Other bands such as The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, and The Charlatans all drew inspiration from Inspiral Carpets' pioneering sound.

The influence of Inspiral Carpets can still be heard in many modern bands today. Inspiral Carpets remain an important part of British music history. Their distinct blend of post-punk, psychedelia, and dancefloor beats helped define the Madchester scene, and their influence can still be felt in modern music. The band's legacy continues to inspire musicians today, ensuring that the memory of the Madchester era lives on.

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