One of the might-have-beens of the mid-'90s Britpop explosion, Marion made for a slightly inconsistent but often quite striking band. Based out of Manchester, the five-piece took declared inspiration from earlier musical giants of the city such as Joy Division and the Smiths (in the case of the latter, to the extent where they recruited that band's old manager Joe Moss to handle their affairs). Strong hints of older rock & roll crept in as well, from the Beatles to the Buzzcocks, making for a sometimes captivating blend topped off by frontman Jaime Harding's passionate (almost to a fault) singing. Harding and guitarists Phil Cunningham and Tony Grantham had known each other since they were teenagers, but Marion as a "proper" group only began in 1993. Drummer Murad Mousa, an acquaintance of the three, and bassist Julian Philips, later replaced by Nick Gilbert, filled out the original lineup of the group. Early singles via Rough Trade and other labels, as well as an increasingly high profile series of opening slots for the likes of Morrissey and Radiohead, lead to a full deal with London Records. Possibly pushing the Smiths connection a bit, some pre-album singles were recorded with Stephen Street, but Al Clay did the production honors on their debut This World and Body, which appeared in 1996.