Tony Wilson Passes Away

It is with a heavy heart that we bring this news. We just got word that Tony Wilson has passed away today, Friday August 10, in the hospital after battling cancer. You can read the official obituary from the BBC below. On Monday look out for a special tribute from us to Tony. He will be dearly missed. Tony Wilson was 57 years old.

Phil Saxe, who worked at Factory Records with Tony Wilson said it best, "Part of me, part of Manchester, part of modern British music has died tonight. Tony was a genius, basically. He was a visionary in that he helped bands, who otherwise wouldn't have made it, who were a bit out of the ordinary. He helped them realise their dreams and through that probably realised himself to be Mr Manchester."

We were lucky enough to have Tony pen a special piece for us about his the state of the music industry: "Oh Lord, Leave Me Record Shops" By Tony Wilson

Obituary from BBC
Anthony Wilson
Tony Wilson was staunchly proud of his Salford roots.

Record label owner, broadcaster, journalist, pop impresario and nightclub founder - Anthony Wilson was famous for many things, but perhaps he was most famous for being a self-styled professional Mancunian.

Tony Wilson was widely regarded as the man who put Manchester on the map for its music and vibrant nightlife. He remained active on the city scene until his death on Friday aged 57.

He was born in Salford's Hope Hospital on 20 February 1950.

He attended De La Salle Christian Brothers' school, before going on to read English at the University of Cambridge in 1968.

In the 1970s he went to work for Granada Television in Manchester, where he fronted programmes including music show So It Goes and current affairs magazine World In Action.

He later went on to be long-time host of the early evening Granada Reports.

Wilson was a founder of Factory Records in the late 1970s, the label behind Joy Division, New Order and The Happy Mondays.

The Hacienda was one of the most famous clubs in the world. He continued to work in television even at the height of his work with Factory records.

In 1982, he set up The Hacienda nightclub, which became known as perhaps the most famous club in the world in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

It became the heart of the "Madchester" scene, playing host to bands such as New Order, The Smiths, The Stone Roses and Oasis.

Even Madonna played her first UK gig at the Whitworth Street club in February 1983.

The club was famous for its dance nights, particularly house music nights where DJs Mike Pickering, Sasha and Dave Haslam regularly played.

In the early 1990s the club was blighted by cash flow problems and it closed its doors in 1997.

The building was demolished in 2002 and apartments were built in its place.

The semi-fictional story of the club, the music and Wilson's life was documented in Michael Winterbottom's 2002 film, 24 Hour Party People.

His character was played by comedian Steve Coogan to critical acclaim.

Wilson later went on to set up the annual Manchester music conference, In The City, with long-term partner and former Miss England Yvette Livesey.

But it was not just in the music world that he made his mark - he was also a key player in local politics and supported a campaign for a regional assembly for the North West.

In 2004 he set up an unofficial coalition calling for regional devolution, called The Necessary Group.

More recently he presented radio shows Ground Rules and Talk of the Town on BBC Radio Manchester and Sunday Roast on Xfm Manchester.

He was the main presenter of the BBC's Politics Show North West.

Wilson fell ill in 2006, before undergoing emergency surgery to have a kidney removed in January 2007.

Doctors diagnosed him with cancer and he started a chemotherapy course at Manchester's Christie Hospital.

The chemotherapy failed to beat the disease and he was recommended to take the drug Sutent, which is not funded by the NHS in Manchester.

Members of the Happy Mondays and other acts he supported over the years had started a fund to help pay for his treatment.

Tony Wilson Passes Away