The book was conceived originally as a companion book, about Martin Hannett’s equipment, to Chris Hewitt’s other book “Martin Hannett - Pleasures of The Unknown” and the DVD “Martin Hannett - He wasn’t just the 5th member of Joy Division”. As material was being collected for this second book on Hannett, the project expanded to include a lot about his work at Strawberry Studios, Stockport and subsequently a section about Strawberry Studios in the years before Martin Hannett started to hire the place and then another section developed about the Rabid Records HQ on Cotton Lane in Withington, Manchester. Rabid was probably the first punk label to put bands into Strawberry Studios. If Rabid and Factory couldn’t afford to record the whole session at Strawberry Studios then they would use Pennine in Oldham and Cargo in Rochdale. Martin Hannett would bring the tapes to Strawberry for final mixing.
The headstone at Martin Hannett’s grave in Manchester’s Southern Cemetery states “Creator of The Manchester Sound”. He certainly created the Manchester punk / post punk sound and a lot of that he created in Strawberry with his array of electronic toys shown in this book. You could also credit Strawberry Studios with creating the earlier pre-punk Manchester sound. Graham Gouldman obviously wrote material for Herman’s Hermits / The Hollies, Eric Stewart was a Mindbender and when they recorded as Hotlegs and then 10cc they clearly put Manchester on the map and the studio was also used pre-punk by Manchester area bands like Barclay James Harvest and Sad Cafe. The common thread running through Strawberry Studios operation, Factory Records operation, Martin Hannett and Tosh Ryan’s Rabid / Absurd Record labels operation, was that they all believed that bands and the music industry should not have to go off to London to record and put records out. They believed in the bands from Greater Manchester towns as a force to be reckoned with and wanted to create a Manchester-based music industry. As 2017 is the 50th anniversary of Strawberry Studios and the 40th of Rabid Records we can be thankful that these musical pioneers in Manchester Rock laid those foundation stones