Terribly sad news at the end of the day Friday: Brit-pop mogul, television personality, and writer Tony Wilson died at the very young age of 57. Wilson was the legendary founder of Factory Records, which helped discover Joy Division (later becoming New Order) as well as the Happy Mondays. Wilson also ran the famous Hacienda nightclub in Manchester, UK which was a breeding ground for innovative musicians in the early 1980s. Prior to getting himself in the music industry, he was a journalist and television host, often breaking innovative bands on his programs. Wilson’s life during this period was made into the exceptionally entertaining Michael Winterbottom film, 24 Hour Party People (2002). If you haven’t seen that terrific film, featuring an amazing performance by Steve Coogan as Wilson, seek it out immediately.
Wilson also helped launch the popular UK music festival, In the City, reportedly inspired by his frequent trips to SXSW. Wilson was a SXSW Music Festival fixture up until his diagnosis with cancer in 2006. His off-kilter and inspired panel appearances will forever be the stuff of legend. He will be greatly missed. As a tribute, I’d like to share this charming scene from the end of 24 Hour Party People where Coogan, as Wilson, meets God (also as Wilson):
And for the authentic Tony Wilson, check out this Pitchfork interview, held only two months ago.