THE austere words etched on Martin Hannett’s headstone read, ‘The Creator of the Manchester Sound.’ Two decades after his death, the mysterious and extraordinarily prolific Factory Records producer is to be remembered with a book, documentary and exhibition about his life.

Hannett died of heart failure, aged 42 in 1991, after a ferocious battle with alcohol and heroin addiction.

Yet since his death, the work of the man behind Joy Division’s classic albums, Unknown Pleasures and Closer, has rarely received close attention.

Now record label owner and Lancashire-born author Chris Hewitt, a friend of Hannett, has painstakingly put together the documentary, He Wasn’t Just the Fifth Member of Joy Division — since two decades worth of interviews, tapes and notes were dropped at his door.

“Martin Hannett was a great pioneer,” said Hewitt, who has also penned the book. “Without him, Joy Division and New Order would not have been anything more than a third rate punk band. They go off around the world talking about their albums, but Joy Division didn’t understand him at the time because he was so far ahead of the game.

“Martin Hannett created the Joy Division sound — he put Manchester music and the north on the map.”

Sadly, Hannett’s family was destitute when he died, and Hewitt said he was keen to put the record straight.

“When somebody wrote an uncomplimentary book about him, I decided to try and redress it with the film, about how he played a huge role in the careers of Joy Division, New Order, The Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses, and hopefully it will.

“Martin was a firm believer that you shouldn’t have to go to London to break a band, and that records should reflect the environment that they come from.”

From the late 70s until the mid-80s, Hannett worked with a variety of artists, recording early singles by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, John Cooper Clarke, Paul Young and U2 before they moved on to the majors.

The documentary DVD will be released in May.