A Certain Ratio are an English post-punk band formed in 1977 in Wythenshawe, Manchester. While originally part of the punk rock movement, they soon added funk and dance elements to their sound.
The group's longest serving original members are Martin Moscrop (born 24 September 1960) (guitar, trumpet) and Jez Kerr (bass, vocals). Another current member, Donald Johnson (drums, vocals, bass), joined after the first drummerless single. Two of their original members have left the band: Simon Topping (left in 1983 for Quando Quango and later joined T-Coy), plus guitarist Peter Terrell, who left in 1982. Keyboardist Andy Connell, who joined in 1982, left to form Swing Out Sister in 1985. The band's name is taken from the lyrics of Brian Eno's song "The True Wheel" from the 1974 album Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy).
A Certain Ratio's first recording contract was with Factory Records in 1979. They released The Graveyard and the Ballroom only on cassette in 1980. This led them to put out another experimental album; To Each..., released in 1981, was the band's official debut album. With growing popularity and success, the band signed with A&M Records in 1987, and Good Together was released in 1989. The album failed to produce a hit, leading to the band's departure from the label. In the early 1990s, they signed with Rob's Records, owned by New Order manager Rob Gretton.
The band appeared three times in session on BBC Radio 1's John Peel show – 1 October 1979 (from Maida Vale), 29 June 1981 (Langham) and 20 November 1982 (Maida Vale again).
In 1990 Creation Records reissued the albums on CD and in 2002 Soul Jazz Records reissued the albums with bonus tracks (but using the same masters as the Creation editions.) Further re-issues and a live recording from 1980 have also been made available on the LTM label.
Although the band does not play full-time, they continue writing, recording, and performing. A Certain Ratio performed in the US for the first time since 1985 on 16 November 2008, headlining the Part Time Punks Festival at The Echo in Los Angeles.
A Certain Ratio were managed by Tony Wilson. They are featured in the film 24 Hour Party People where Tony Wilson (played by Steve Coogan) describes them as "having all the energy of Joy Division but better clothes." Martin Moscrop was Musical Supervisor of 24 Hour Party People.
The band announced their live return with a headline performance at London's Offset Festival, in September 2009, playing alongside fellow post-punk artists The Slits, following a one-off live performance commemorating Factory Records in Dublin, in March 2009.
They performed at the Plan K, Molenbeek in West Brussels on 12 December 2009 as part of the event, 'A Factory Night (And Then Again)'. This event also featured Section 25, The Wake, The Names and Biting Tongues.
Towards the end of 2009, the band announced a live appearance at a fund-raising event at Brighton's Concorde 2 venue on 7 March 2010. Their 2008 album, Mind Made Up was re-issued via LTM Recordings during 2010, along with a redux version of the 1986 set, 'Force'.
In May 2011, they performed on The Satellite Stage at Friends Of Mine Festival at Capesthorne Hall near Macclesfield, and were introduced by their friend Terry Christian.