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Formed in Manchester in 1977, The Fall were the brainchild of the mercurial Mark E. Smith. Over the years, he ruthlessly went through a battalion of musicians while taking the group through a personal odyssey of hiy wayward musical and lyrcal excursions. The first line-up featuring Una Baines, Martin Bramah, Karl Burns and Tony Friel made their debut on Bingo Master's Breakout, a typical example of Mark E. Smith's surreal vision
Initially signed to the small independent label Step Forward, the group recorded three singles, including the strange Fiery Jack plus Live At The Witch Trails
In 1980, the unit signed to Rough Trade and went on to release the critically acclaimed but often wilfully bizarre singles How I Wrote Elastic Man and Totally Wired. Meanwhile, a whole series of line-up changes saw the arrival and subsequent departures of Marc Riley, Mike Leigh, Martin Bramah, Yvonne Pawlett and Craig Scanlon. The Fall's convoluted career continued to produce a series of discordant, yet frequently fascinating albums from the early menace of Dragnet to the chaotic Hex Enduction Hour. An apparent change in the group's image and philosophy occurred during 1983 with the arrival of Mark's wife Brix (Laura Elise Smith). As simultaneously continued recording with her own group, the hard pop-orientated Adult Net. She first appeared on The Fall's Perverted By Language and her presence was felt more strongly when the group unexpectedly emerged as a potential chart act, auccessfully covering R. Dean Taylor's There's A Ghost In My House and later the Kinks' Victoria
The fusion of Brix's Rickenbacker guitar sound with Mark E. Smith's deadpan vocals and distinctive phrasing and accentuation proved intriguing beyond expectations
On later albums such as This Nation's Saving Grace and The Frenz Experiment, they lost none of their baffling wordplay or nagging, insistent rhythms, but the work seemed more focused and accessible. The line-up changes had slowed, although more changed were afoot with the arrival of drummer Simon Wolthenscroft and Marcia Schofield
Proof of Mark E. Smith's growing stature among the popular art cognescenti was the staging of his papal play Hey! Luciani and the involvement of dancer Michael Clark in the production of I Am Kurious Oranj
Any suggestions that The Fall might be slowly heading for a degree of commercial acceptance underestimated Mark E. Smith's restless spirit
By 1990, Brix had left the singer and the group, and Marcia Schofield followed soon after
Unpredictable and unique, The Fall under Mark E. Smith's guidance remain one of the most uncompromising yet finest groups in British rock history

Albums: Live At The Witch Trails (1979) | Dragnet (1979) | Totale's Turns (It's Now Or Never) (1980, live) | Grotesque (After The Gramme) (1980) | Slates (1981) | Hex Enduction Hour (1982) | Room To Live (1982) | Perverted By Language (1983) | The Wonderful And Frightening World Of... (1984) | This Nation's Saving Grace (1985) | Bend Sinister (1986) | The Frenz Experiment (1988) | I Am Kurious Oranj (1988) | Seminal Live (1989) | Extricate (1990) | Shiftwork (1991) | Code Selfish (1992)

Dates when they played with Joy Division:
Friday 3 June 1977 Squat Manchester (UK)
Sunday 2 October 1977 Electric Circus Manchester (UK)
Saturday 28 July 1979 Mayflower Club Manchester (UK)



Line-up: Una Baines | Martin Bramah | Brix (Laura Elise Smith) (19831990) (guitar) | Karl Burns | Tony Friel | Mike Leigh | Yvonne Pawlett | Marc Riley | Craig Scanlon | Marcia Schofield | Mark E. Smith (vocals) | Simon Wolthenscroft (drums)