Friday, August 7, 2009

Tony Wilson

Tony Wilson was an English record label owner, radio presenter, TV show host, nightclub manager, impresario and journalist for Granada Television and the BBC. Wilson was the music mogul behind some of Manchester's most successful bands. He was the founder and manager of The Haçienda nightclub, and was one of the five co-founders of Factory Records. Wilson was also known as Mr. Manchester, dubbed as such for his work in promoting the greater cultural status of Manchester throughout his career.

Wilson's involvement in popular music stemmed from hosting Granada's culture and music programme "So It Goes". Wilson, who intensely disliked the music scene of the mid 1970s, saw the Sex Pistols at the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall, in June 1976, an experience which he described as "nothing short of an epiphany" . He booked them for the last episode of the first series, probably the first television showing of the then-revolutionary British strand of punk rock.

He was the manager of many bands, including A Certain Ratio and The Durutti Column, and was part owner and manager of Factory Records, home of the Happy Mondays and Joy Division - the band managed by friend and business partner Rob Gretton. He also founded and managed The Haçienda nightclub and Dry bar, together forming a central part of the music and cultural scene of Manchester. The scene was termed "Madchester".

He never made a fortune from Factory Records or the Haçienda, despite the enormous popularity and cultural significance of both endeavours. Both Factory Records and the Haçienda came to an abrupt end in the late 1990s.

Wilson died of a heart attack in Manchester's Christie Hospital on 10 August 2007 aged 57.

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