Monday, August 13, 2007

Factory Records co-founder Tony Wilson succumbed to cancer last week at age 57. Hugely influential in the Manchester music scene, Tony had a hand in the success of Joy Division, New Order, Stones Roses, and The Happy Mondays. The bands he signed to his label have gone on to influence countless bands, including Bloc Party and The Killers. He was a supporter of the punk scene, he co-founded Factory Records, and his club The Hacienda was reputed to be the birthplace of rave culture. Despite it’s pop culture significance, The Hacienda closed in the 90s because it was losing money: no body was buy alcohol because they were too busy doing drugs and dancing.

If you still haven’t yet, I urge you to watch the brilliant semi-fictional film 24 Hour Party People, which tells Tony Wilson’s story and that of the Manchester scene.

A number of obituaries and eulogies can be found here, and (c/o Chromewaves) NME has remembrances from Creation Records founder Alan McGee, Factory Records graphic designer Peter Saville and Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris and Peter Hook of Joy Division and New Order. You’ll see words describing Tony Wilson like “innovator”, “pioneer”, “visionary”, "larger than life", and “twat”. His contributions to modern music are numerous and I thank Tony for that. God Bless you man, and thanks for all the good music.

I liked the quote from 24 Hour Party People that ALOTT5MA used, that if not said by Tony Wilson, certainly captured his contributions:

"And tonight something equally epoch-making is taking place. See? They're applauding the DJ. Not the music, not the musician, not the creator, but the medium. This is it. The birth of rave culture. The beatification of the beat. The dance age. This is the moment when even the white man starts dancing. Welcome to Manchester."

Here's a terrific segment from a 2002 program called "That Tony Wilson", that pretty much summarizes who Tony Wilson was, with interviews with New Order and Tony himself.

Here's the scene from 24 Hour Party People where Tony Wilson (Steve Coogan) meets God. It may have indeed gone something like this. Top gear mate.

Tony Wilson - wikipedia

YouTube - Joy Division LIVE 9-15-1979 Transmission & She's Lost Control