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[Archived] Tony Wilson - Rip

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I was at a gallery opening a about 4 weeks ago. It was shoewing Leonard Cohens work and it was opened by Tony Wilson, who described Cohen as his hero. I said to Lady Chesh that Wilson really didn't look well, but just assumed that he had been out for the night with Sean Ryder.

I thought he was a bit of a knob on the whole, but did great things for the manchester scene, so great credit goes to him for that.

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i'll never forget blue monday by new order and how the sleeve cost than what they made. tony said something like "we won't sell that many anyway". it only became the biggest selling vinyl or something of the 80's. pure class.

thanks for the music tony. joy division, new order, happy mondays, the hacienda. happy memories!

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As I know New Order, Joy Division, Happy Mondays and the like they were never my "scene". I did like Joy Division and New order for a bit but not an enduring love for either band. However, watching the movie that centered around the scene "24 hour Party people" I must say I have much more respect for Mr. Wilson. Sure he was a jag-off at times but look at the blokes he was managing!

I would've loved to have gone to The Hacienda in the glory days.

I just got to know him and his influence and now he's gone...

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I first went to the Hacienda in 1988. As you entered the building, there was orginally a little kiosk with the woman collecting entrance mony. Behind here on the wall, was a portrait of the gaffer, Tony Wilson looking down on you as you entered! As I recall , Rob Gretton (New Order manager) was hugely involved in the setting up the Hacienda also.

As for the club, up to point when it got out of control, it was awesome. The first time i went, we parked up Whitworth street, and wlaked down. The wall along what would have been the back of the stage almost throbbed, and the indiscriminate pounding of the bass line of any Balearic tune one eminated from behind it.

As you walked through, there were long plastic strips hanging down from the ceiling, like in an abbatoir or similar, which added to the industrial feel being strived for by Factory. It was apparently based on the warehouses of East Lancs where the illegal raves took place. The dance floor was cordoned off by traffic cones, and for such a monster club was not very large. But people danced anywhere, on the steps, in the bogs but best of all the stage. Backlight by strobes, I will never forget the sight of hundreds of clubbers, with their hands in the air, looking like a stop frame animation as the movements were randonly picked out by the strobes.


As you went to the back , there was a long bar, then turn left to go upstairs. There where small recesses at the side of the steps as you went up, where people would discreetely toke away, then past the back of the locked DJ booths, (Graeme Park was my favourite) then another set of seats to watch the dancers below from. There was also a set of corridors and seats below floor level for cooling off in, and I saw several well known people down there in a state over the years. Bizarrely saw Mick Hucknall walking round the club once, with a cane with a jewell in it looking like he owned the place, but noone took any notice of him! Plonker!

Got nasty near the end, and getting in was pot luck-the bouncers picked people at random to knock back, and to be honest was not really a nice place to go by then.

Tony Wilson joins co-founder Rob Gretton in music heaven, as Rob passed away several years ago also.


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Tony Wilson was an "arrogant, pretentious tw*t" ......

...... according to the Daily Telegraph obit.


Tony Wilson was an "arrogant, pretentious tw*t" ......

...... according to Tony Wilson :)

Love it. Jim, posting that shows you have no idea but I hear that Jerry Lee Lewis was a bit of a rascal.

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Tony Wilson was a rum bugger. He knew how to find great bands & great music, yet he couldn't organise a ######-up in a brewery as signified by the collapse of Factory Records which, at the time, held the rights to New Order and a few other iconic bands which were money spinners.

I'll be grateful to him for seeing a fledgeling Madonna at the Hacienda along with "The Fall;" "The Birthday Party;" "New Order;"

"A Certain Ratio;" "Joy Division;" and many others.

But he had the business sense of a hamster.

Oh well, cheers Mr Tony Wilson, thanks for everything..

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  • 5 months later...
i'll never forget blue monday by new order and how the sleeve cost more than what they made. tony said something like "we won't sell that many anyway".

It became the biggest selling 12" single of all-time in the UK. It's fair to say that Tony Wilson's business acumen was pretty poor. Which other record company would sell over a million copies of a single and end up losing money over it?

I feel personally that 'Blue Monday' is a good record - but not an outstanding one. New Order insisted on singing 'Blue Monday' live on Top Of The Pops in 1983, rather than miming to it. The live performance of the song sounded pretty awful in comparison to the studio version. Whenever the live version of the song was shown on Top Of The Pops, the single went down in the charts. But when 'Blue Monday' wasn't shown on TOTP, the single tended to go up in the charts.

The song had a very lengthy topsy-turvy chart history. It entered the singles chart at #37 in 1983 and then went up and down like a yo-yo in the charts for ages. Just when you thought that the record was finally about to disappear from the top 40, it started creeping back up again.

It orginally spent 21 weeks in the top 40 in 1983 (and was in the top 75 for most of the year) , reaching a peak of #9. A remixed version of the song reached #3 in 1988.

This leads me on to the reason why I'm bringing this topic back up again. For anyone who missed a recent documentary on the BBC called "Factory Records: Manchester from Joy Division to Happy Mondays", it's available to watch for the next five days on BBC iplayer and it's worth watching, because it's an interesting look at Wilson's Factory Records label.

New Order and the story of the 'Blue Monday' single are obviously featured in the programme. There's a brief look also at The Smiths, with speculation as to why they were not signed to Factory Records, with Tony Wilson giving an interview before his untimely death at the young age of 57. When he died in August last year, the Union Flag on Manchester Town Hall was lowered to half mast in recognition of the impact that Tony had made in Manchester.

As I said on my earlier post on this thread, Wilson was a man of contradictions. He could be charming one day and then a completely arrogant barsteward the following day. He was articulate in media interviews, but he also had that traditional Mancunian chippiness about him and he wasn't a man to be trusted with money at all.

For anyone interested in seeing the documentary (which contains some strong language) click on the link HERE - and then click on the Factory: Manchester picture.

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Just to add to AESF's comments.

There is currently an exhibition all about The Hacienda & all its many facades on at The Urbis in the centre of Manchester next to Victoria Station.

I visited with the daughter on Saturday, true to form she didn't want to watch a video of The Birthday Party, certainly didn't give a damn that I was in the audience.

The youth of today eh?

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