Anthony Howard Wilson
20 February 1950
|Died||10 August 2007 57) (aged|
|Resting place||Southern Cemetery, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester|
|Education||BA in English|
|Alma mater||Jesus College, Cambridge|
Anthony Howard Wilson (20 February 1950 – 10 August 2007) was a British record label owner, radio and television presenter, nightclub manager, impresario and a journalist for Granada Television, the BBC and Channel 4.
As a co-founder of the independent label Factory Records and founder-manager of the Haçienda nightclub, Wilson was behind some of Manchester's most successful bands, including Joy Division, New Order, and Happy Mondays. Wilson was known as "Mr Manchester",dubbed as such for his work in promoting the culture of Manchester throughout his career.
He was portrayed by Steve Coogan in Michael Winterbottom's film 24 Hour Party People (2002), and by Craig Parkinson in Anton Corbijn's film Control (2007).
Depending on what he was working on, he would switch between alternate versions of his name. For example, when he was being a serious formal and respectable persona, such as certain TV presenting appearances, he would use "Anthony H Wilson", or for example when reporting for Granada Reports he was referred to as "Anthony Wilson", otherwise he would go by "Tony Wilson" most commonly while on Factory Records business.
Wilson was born 20 February 1950 in Hope Hospital, Pendleton, Salford, Lancashire, to Sydney Wilson and Doris Knupfer, and moved to Marple, near Stockport, Cheshire, at the age of five.After passing his Eleven plus exam, Wilson attended De La Salle Grammar School in Weaste Lane, Pendleton, Salford. He developed a love of literature and language, ignited by a performance of Hamlet at Stratford upon Avon. Wilson started his professional career in 1968 at the age of 17, working as an English and Drama teacher at Blue Coat School in Oldham. He later graduated with a degree in English from Jesus College, Cambridge.
After his graduation in 1971, Wilson began as a trainee news reporter for ITN, before moving to Manchester in 1973, where he secured a post at Granada Television. He presented Granada's culture, music and events programme, So It Goes. Through the 1970s and 1980s he was one of the main anchors on Granada Reports , a regional evening news programme, where he worked with Judy Finnigan and Richard Madeley among others. He continued in this line of work even at the height of his success in the music industry.
He reported for ITV's current affairs series, World in Action in the early 1980s and hosted editions of After Dark , the UK's first open-ended chat show, first on Channel 4 and later BBC Four. Journalist Fergal Kinney wrote in 2021: “His appearances on Channel 4’s freewheeling late-night debate show After Dark...are exhilarating, pitched somewhere between a malevolent David Dimbleby and a slightly effete Jonathan Meades.”Paul Morley's book From Manchester with Love: The Life and Opinions of Tony Wilson quotes Wilson as nearly falling asleep on the programme but waking up to hear one of the guests attacking him for naming his band Joy Division.
In 1988, Wilson hosted The Other Side of Midnight, another Granada weekly regional culture slot, covering music, literature and the arts in general. Wilson co-presented the BBC's coverage of The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium with Lisa I'Anson in 1992. He hosted the short-lived TV quiz shows Topranko! and Channel 4's Remote Control in the 1990s, as well as the Manchester United themed quiz, Masterfan, for MUTV.
In 2006 he became the regional political presenter for the BBC's The Politics Show . He presented a weekly radio show on Xfm Manchester – Sunday Roast – and a show on BBC Radio Manchester. In October he joined Blur bassist Alex James, Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq and previously unknown presenter Emily Rose to host the 21st century version of the 1980s music programme, The Tube , for Channel 4 Radio which ran until 2 March 2007. His final music TV show was filmed in December 2006 for Manchester's Channel M. Only one episode, entitled "The New Friday", was recorded before Wilson became ill.
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 which was dominated by such genres as Disco, progressive rock and arena rock, saw the Sex Pistols at Manchester's Lesser Free Trade Hall, in June 1976, an experience which he described as "nothing short of an epiphany". [ citation needed ]He booked them for the last episode of the first series, probably the first television showing of their revolutionary British strand of punk rock.
Wilson 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 Happy Mondays, Joy Division and New Order – 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.[ citation needed ] The scene was termed "Madchester" in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
He made little money from Factory Records or the Haçienda, despite the enormous popularity and cultural significance of both endeavours. [ citation needed ]Both Factory Records and the Haçienda came to an abrupt end in the late 1990s.
In 2000, Wilson and his business partners launched an early online music store, Music33.
A semi-fictionalised version of his life and of the surrounding era was made into the film 24 Hour Party People (2002), which stars Steve Coogan as Wilson. After the film was produced, Wilson wrote a novelisation based on the screenplay. He played a minor role (playing himself) in the film, A Cock and Bull Story (2005), in which his character interviews Coogan. Wilson also co-produced the Ian Curtis biopic, Control (2007), being portrayed on this occasion by Craig Parkinson. He died a few months before its release.[ citation needed ]
Wilson was a partner in the annual In the City [ citation needed ]and Interactive City music festivals and industry conferences, and also F4 Records, the fourth version of Factory Records, which was set up to be an online distributor for Wilson's long term protégé Vini Reilly, of the Durutti Column.
Wilson identified himself as a socialist and refused to pay for private healthcare on principle.Wilson was also an outspoken supporter of regionalism. Along with others including Ruth Turner, he started a campaign for North West England to be allowed a referendum on the creation of a regional assembly, called the "Necessary Group" after a line in the United States Declaration of Independence. Although his campaign was successful, with the British government announcing that a vote would take place, this was later abandoned when North East England voted against the introduction of a regional tier of government. Wilson later spoke at several political events on this subject. He was also known for using Situationist ideas.
Wilson was married twice, first to Lindsay Reade and then to Hilary, with whom he had a son, Oliver, and a daughter, Isabel. In 1990 he started a relationship with Yvette Livesey, a former Miss England and Miss UK, who was his girlfriend until his death in 2007. ..., written by David Nolan and published in 2009.Livesey has since co-operated with a biography of Wilson's life, called You're Entitled to an Opinion
After Wilson developed renal cancer and had one kidney removed in 2007, doctors recommended he take the drug Sutent. Manchester Primary Care NHS Trust refused to fund the £3,500 per month cost of providing the drug, while patients being treated alongside him at the Christie Hospital and living just a few miles away in Cheshire did receive funding for the medication.A number of Wilson's music industry friends, including former Happy Mondays manager Nathan McGough, their current manager Elliot Rashman and TV stars Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan, formed a fund to help pay for Wilson's medical treatment.
Wilson said: "This [Sutent] is my only real option. It is not a cure but can hold the cancer back, so I will probably be on it until I die. When they said I would have to pay £3,500 for the drugs each month, I thought where am I going to find the money? I'm the one person in this industry who famously has never made any money. I used to say 'some people make money and some make history', which is very funny until you find you can't afford to keep yourself alive. I've never paid for private healthcare because I'm a socialist. Now I find you can get tummy tucks and cosmetic surgery on the NHS but not the drugs I need to stay alive. It is a scandal."
In early 2007, emergency surgery was performed to remove one of his kidneys.This forced the postponement of plans to create a Southern Hemisphere version of the In the City festival. Despite the surgery, the cancer progressed and a course of chemotherapy was ineffective. Wilson died of a heart attack in Manchester's Christie Hospital on 10 August 2007 aged 57. Following the news of his death, the Union Flag on Manchester Town Hall was lowered to half mast as a mark of respect.
Probate documents reveal his estate was valued at £484,747 after tax. That figure includes the value of his city centre flat on Little Peter Street. The will, signed by Wilson on 4 July 2007, gave Yvette Livesey, 39, his girlfriend of 17 years, the proceeds from their home. He also left her his share of six businesses. His son Oliver and daughter Isabel shared the rest of his estate.
His funeral was at St Mary's RC Church, Mulberry Street, Manchester (The Hidden Gem) on 20 August 2007. Among the music Wilson chose Happy Mondays’ "Bob’s Yer Uncle".As with everything else in the Factory empire, Wilson's coffin was given a Factory catalogue number: FAC 501. He is buried at Southern Cemetery in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester. His black granite headstone, erected in October 2010, was designed by Peter Saville and Ben Kelly and features a quotation, chosen by Wilson's family, from Mrs G Linnaeus Banks's 1876 novel The Manchester Man , set in Rotis serif font. The quotation reads: "Mutability is the epitaph of worlds/ Change alone is changeless/ People drop out of the history of a life as of a land though their work or their influence remains."
The main square of the HOME/First Street development in Manchester, which opened in 2015, is named Tony Wilson Place.
Joy Division were an English rock band formed in Salford in 1976. The group consisted of vocalist Ian Curtis, guitarist/keyboardist Bernard Sumner, bassist Peter Hook and drummer Stephen Morris.
Factory Records was a Manchester-based British independent record label founded in 1978 by Tony Wilson and Alan Erasmus.
ITV Granada, formerly known as Granada Television, is the ITV franchisee for the North West of England and Isle of Man. From 1956 to 1968 it broadcast to both the north west and Yorkshire but only on weekdays as ABC Weekend Television was its weekend counterpart. Granada's parent company Granada plc later bought several other regional ITV stations and, in 2004, merged with Carlton Communications to form ITV plc.
Madchester was a musical and cultural scene that developed in the English city of Manchester in the late 1980s, closely associated with the indie dance scene. Indie-dance saw artists merging indie music with elements of acid house, psychedelia and 1960s pop. The term Madchester was coined by Factory Records' Tony Wilson, with the label popularised by the British music press in the early 1990s, and its most famous groups include the Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets, the Charlatans, James and 808 State. It is widely seen as being heavily influenced by drugs, especially MDMA. At that time, the Haçienda nightclub, co-owned by members of New Order, was a major catalyst for the distinctive musical ethos in the city that was called the Second Summer of Love.
The Haçienda was a nightclub and music venue in Manchester, North West England, which became famous during the Manchester years of the 1980s and early 1990s. It was run by the record label Factory Records.
Peter Hook is an English musician, best known as the bassist and co-founder of the rock bands Joy Division and New Order. Hook often used the bass as a lead instrument, playing melodies on the high strings with a signature heavy chorus effect. In New Order, he would do this, leaving the actual basslines to keyboards or sequencers.
24 Hour Party People is a 2002 British biographical comedy-drama film about Manchester's popular music community from 1976 to 1992, and specifically about Factory Records. It was written by Frank Cottrell Boyce and directed by Michael Winterbottom. The film was entered into the 2002 Cannes Film Festival to positive reviews.
A Certain Ratio are an English post-punk band formed in 1977 in Flixton, Greater Manchester by Peter Terrell and Simon Topping, with additional members Jez Kerr, Martin Moscrop, Donald Johnson (drums), and Martha Tilson (vocals) joining soon after.
Paul Robert Morley is an English music journalist. He wrote for the New Musical Express from 1977 to 1983 and has since written for a wide range of publications as well as writing his own books. He was a co-founder of the record label ZTT Records and was a member of the synthpop group Art of Noise. He has also been a band manager, promoter and television presenter.
Manchester's music scene produced successful bands in the 1960s including the Hollies, the Bee Gees and Herman's Hermits. After the punk rock era, Manchester produced popular bands including Joy Division, New Order, The Smiths and Simply Red. In the late 1980s, the ecstasy-fuelled dance club scene played a part in the rise of Madchester with bands like the Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets and Happy Mondays. In the 1990s, Manchester saw the rise of Britpop bands, notably Oasis.
XFM Manchester was a commercial radio station broadcasting alternative and indie music to Manchester in North West England.
Robert Leo Gretton was the manager of Joy Division and New Order. He was partner in and co-director of Factory Records and a founding partner of The Haçienda. For ten years until his death in 1999, Gretton ran his own label, Rob’s Records.
Control is a 2007 British biographical film about the life of Ian Curtis, singer of the late-1970s English post-punk band Joy Division. It is the first feature film directed by Anton Corbijn, who had worked with Joy Division as a photographer. The screenplay by Matt Greenhalgh, was based on the biography Touching from a Distance by Curtis's widow Deborah, who served as a co-producer on the film. Tony Wilson, who released Joy Division's records through his Factory Records label, also served as a co-producer. Curtis' bandmates Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and Stephen Morris provided incidental music for the soundtrack via their post-Joy Division incarnation New Order. Control was filmed partly on location in Nottingham, Manchester, and Macclesfield, including areas where Curtis lived, and was shot in colour and then printed to black-and-white. Its title comes from the Joy Division song "She's Lost Control", and alludes to the fact that much of the plot deals with the notion that Curtis tried to remain in control of his own life, and yet had no control over his epilepsy and pharmaceutical side effects.
So It Goes was a British TV music show presented by Tony Wilson on Granada Television between 1976 and 1977. It is most famous for showcasing the then burgeoning punk rock movement. It was named partially in reference to Kurt Vonnegut's 1969 novel Slaughterhouse-Five.
The Manchester International Festival is a biennial international arts festival, with a specific focus on original new work, held in the English city of Manchester and run by Factory International. The festival is a biennial event, first taking place in June–July 2007, and subsequently recurring in the summers of 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021. MIF23 will take place in summer 2023. The organisation is based in Blackfriars House, adjacent to Blackfriars Bridge but is due to move to a new £110 million new home, Factory International, in 2023.
David Nolan is a British television producer and author, specialising in music and popular culture biographies, covering subjects from the Sex Pistols to Simon Cowell. He is a former lecturer at Salford University.
Media in Manchester has been an integral part of Manchester's culture and economy for many generations and has been described as the only other British city to rival to London in terms of television broadcasting. Today, Manchester is the second largest centre of the creative and digital industries in Europe.
Anthony Clive "Tony" Morris was a British newsreader for Granada Reports, produced by ITV Granada. He previously worked as a reporter and bulletin presenter for BBC North West Tonight and for a brief period was a reporter for the BBC national news.
St John's is a proposed £1 bn development of a 6 hectare plot within central Manchester, England. The site is being developed by Manchester Quays Ltd (MQL), a partnership between Manchester City Council and Allied London.
Graeme Park is a British house music DJ and is widely credited as one of the original founders of the UK's rave/club scene, notably as a leading figure of The Haçienda club in Manchester, England.
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