Manning was the founding member of two Leeds based bands in the 1980s, Let's Eat! and Bailey's Return. He was also recruited in 1987 to be the keyboards player (joining Julie King) in art-rock band Through The Looking Glass. This band split up a year later and a more pop based offshoot, KingGlass, emerged which continued for a further year.
Manning and local keyboardist/vocalist Andy Tillison had an early unsigned band called Gold Frankincense & Disk Drive. This band's final line-up included David Albone on drums and a guest spot from Van der Graaf Generator organ player Hugh Banton. One piece by this line-up, "A Gap in the Night", was later included on Parallel or 90 Degrees' The Corner of My Room before being reworked for the second album by The Tangent.
Tillison and Manning also recorded the album No More Travelling Chess at this time, which consisted of a set of covers of material by Peter Hammill plus a couple of original pieces. This album was first released as a mail order cassette item (before an augmented and remastered version was eventually released by Cyclops Records in 2001 -under the band name of Parallel or 90 Degrees).
Tillison and Manning then formed the new band, Parallel or 90 Degrees, with Sam Baine also on keyboards.
Manning has gone on to release his own albums, five for the Cyclops label and three more for USA label, ProgRock Records. With a further change of record label, the 2007 release, Songs From The Bilston House was released on the Festival Music (F2) label based in the UK (as have all subsequent Manning album releases).