Last Friday Tony Wilson died at 57.
Wilson was the Mancunian entrepreneur who opened the Factory club, where the punk kids came to play, then turned the whole thing into Factory Records. He thereby became the discoverer, manager, and/or career catalyst for Joy Division, New Order, A Certain Ratio, Cabaret Voltaire, Durutti Column, and Happy Mondays, just to name the most prominent.
As such, he was the subject of the cult classic 24-Hour Party People, likely the only great film ever made about an underground record-label impresario. In case you still aren’t sure what made him worthy of such a film, one scene of the movie (one of the scenes that really happened) shows him writing up and signing, in his own blood, what would become the single legal document covering all business at Factory: “We own nothing – the bands own everything – the bands have the freedom to fuck off.“
Wilson’s music-loving hometown of Manchester reportedly lowered the Union Jack over City Hall to half-mast in his honor.