May 21 – Some Bands Would Do Best Sticking To Making Music

Great musicians, bad business persons! New Order (with the help of their Factory Records label) found another way to lose money on this day in 1982 – opening a huge nightclub!

The Hacienda opened in Manchester on this day. The band would then go on to put out the biggest-selling 12″ single of all-time (“Blue Monday”) and lose money on it too! They accomplished that by making the die-cut record cover ridiculously expensive and then selling the EP wholesale at a lower than normal price. They went on to lose as much as 18 million pounds (about $25M) on the huge nightclub which, as the city’s Evening News note is “still Manchester’s best-known nightclub,” even though its been closed for years.

One would think it was a great plan. The city was a growing music center, had a population of over half a million people and was noted for young people who liked to party, including the band itself. But, while the big brick building on Whitworth Street in the city’s “gay village” was the band’s home base as well as the regular hangout for Happy Mondays and other bands,and hosted concerts by The Smiths and Madonna on her first trip to the UK, it was often in trouble due to drug overdoses and shootings. And, bad luck for New Order, by all accounts it drew a crowd that fancied huge amounts of ecstasy and other drugs but seldom ponied up for an expensive drink from the bar.

It closed in 1997 and in 2002 was re-developed as an apartment building. It still has an engraved cornerstone marking its past as The Hacienda- FAC51. The “FAC51” is a nod to its past. That was the code the record label gave the building, just as they had all of their records. Peter Hook wrote a book about the club, titled How Not to Run a Club.

7 thoughts on “May 21 – Some Bands Would Do Best Sticking To Making Music

  1. badfinger20 (Max)

    Oh man… how the hell do you lose 25 million dollars and not close way before then. Yea they had heart and ambition…just needed an accountant.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. badfinger20 (Max)

        Dave it’s mind boggling when you thinking about it. When would enough be enough? They didn’t lose it in one night.

        Like

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