Sonic State were saddened to hear of the death last Friday of Tony Wilson, an enormously influential character on the British music scene. Tony passed away as a result of kidney cancer at the age of 57 in hospital in his home town of Manchester.
Tony Wilson was perhaps best known for founding Factory records and bringing us Joy Division, New Order and The Happy Mondays but he was also instrumental in bringing punk music to a wider audience, notably, while working as a presenter on Granada television, giving the Sex Pistols their TV debut in 1976 and hosting TV debuts for both Elvis Costello and The Jam.
Tony founded Factory Records in the late 1970s and the label provided an outlet for Manchester bands including Joy Division, New Order, The Happy Mondays, Durutti Column and A Certain Ratio. New Order's Blue Monday, released on Factory became the biggest-selling 12-inch single in UK history.
Tony also set up the Hacienda nightclub in 1982 which became host to many bands and DJâ€™s and was at the heart of the â€˜Madchesterâ€™ scene. The 2002 film, 24 Hour Party People, is a semi-fictional story of the scene with Tony Wilson being portrayed by Steve Coogan.
Another Wilson achievement was setting up â€˜In the Cityâ€™ â€“ an annual UK forum for finding new talent and discussing the future of the industry. Oasis, Radiohead and Suede all played at the first In the City in 1992. BBC Obituary: