This One Goes Out To Tony Wilson

Tony Wilson and his record label Factory Records, whose high caliber of artistic vision, total artistic freedom and belief in the bands for the long haul, was the inspiration for indie record store clerk & club DJ Marshall Dickson in 1993 to start his own independent record label, 24 Hour Service Station.

In 2007, when Wilson passed away from cancer, Dickson was stirred to put together a fitting tribute to his hero. Upon discovery that a charity had been established in Wilson’s name to aide children with creative & musical skills, the pieces came together. This began the concept of a covers collection of New Order songs entitled Ceremony that would benefit the charity and be dedicated to Tony Wilson. By late 2008, the project became an international endeavor when Ceremony was helmed by partner Sonshine Ward, who seeked out contributing artists from around the globe that were equally inspired by Wilson and moved by his passing.

As our gift to him, Ceremony is released on February 20th 2010, for what would have been Tony Wilson's 60th Birthday.

Here are some thoughts about Tony Wilson from the Contributing Bands and also some of Tony's Close Friends:

  • Kevin Cummins
    Kevin Cummins (Photographer)
    I knew Tony Wilson, founder of Factory Records and cultural impresario, for almost all his life; we were at Salford's De La Salle Grammar School together. He was the brightest pupil, a bit of a trainspotter really. He was always going to do something big.
    When Joy Division came along Tony was just as excited as me and the band, despite being that bit older. He was like a kid when it came to music. He believed in bands when no-one else did, and was prepared to spend his own money making things happen. He was the catalyst for everything that happened on the Manchester music scene from the 1970s.
    Tony didn't mind anyone lampooning him. But it's a shame that lots of people thought he was Steve Coogan's caricature in 24 Hour Party People. In fact, he was very kind, very generous, and very, very smart.
  • Katja Ruge
    Katja Ruge (Photographer)
    When I moved to Manchester, I was a huge New Order fan and often visited the Factory office to deliver prints for the photographer I was working for. That is when I met Tony the first time, I was naive and young, and didn't really know who he was. A few weeks later I was asked to take pictures for a German music mag at the Factory Records office and that's where I met Tony again. Years later, for my book fotoreportage23-in search of ian curtis, I got in contact with him again, it was difficult to find an appointment because I was working and living back in Hamburg. Finally, we met in a restaurant for lunch, drank red wine, talked and talked. I was again fascinated and was too shy to say "hey we met before". He invited me to come to his loft to do the photoshoot. While he finished some work I had time to view old pictures and watched him while he was writing. After awhile he turned around and said, "now I know you girl, you've been to the factory office many times and took pictures of me already", we smiled at each other like we know each other for ages. One of these beautiful moments.
  • Dermo (Northside)
    Dermo (Northside)
    Tony loved life and the people in it. He was a man of the arts and hearts, a real people person. An understanding, creative pioneer and one of us. God bless you Tony x
  • Tony Michaelides (Factory Records)
    Tony Michaelides (Factory Records)
    Tony Wilson was one of a kind, a truly remarkable kind.... and a kind I doubt we'll see the likes of ever again. Passionate, opinionated and always one to crave a reaction, any reaction. I'm just glad I knew him.
  • Flight
    Although from Liverpool we have a great fondness and respect for Anthony H Wilson (he was always ribbing Liverpool and it’s people) and all that he tried to achieve with Factory Records. He was, in many ways, the man who revived Manchester’s music scene and brought the world not just Joy Division and New Order but other great artists such as Durutti Column and Section 25 right through to The Happy Mondays and the whole ‘Madchester’ scene. We are honoured to be asked to contribute to an album that not only marks our respect for JD/NO but also for Anthony Wilson and for a charity that helps young, disadvantaged children get a start in the world of music. Music has no classes and no distinctions – it is for everyone, everywhere. Respect to all involved in the great work that goes into such a charity. - FLIGHT
  • The Detachments
    The Detachments
    A man of taste with vision, belief and steadfast artistic principles. I love everything his label undauntedly stood for. He was a true maverick. Also a stalwart guardian of the Northwest of England. An intrepid, unique character who's heart was always in the right place.
  • Christian Webb & Adam Knowles
    Christian Webb & Adam Knowles
    Tony Wilson often put his passion for music before financial gain. He was willing to deviate from normal record company procedure, and you could see was clearly proud of the achievements of the bands in Factory. Tony was a maverick; he took risks and signed an impressively diverse set of talent to Factory Records. It’s a shame that the music industry is lacking individuals like Tony, to help new bands emerge.
  • Razed In A New Division Of Agony
    Razed In A New Division Of Agony
    Tony Wilson is probably one of the most important people in music history. Without him, we wouldn't have Joy Division or New Order, two of the most cited influences among artists and bands since, not to mention the Happy Mondays, A Certain Ratio, or the entire Madchester scene as we know it.
  • Kites With Lights
    Kites With Lights
    I think he understood where music was heading in a certain period of time… and he helped to share that amazing music with the rest of the world, it’s important to remember Tony and the people he believed in.
  • Pocket
    Anyone with that much vision and insight needs to be relished with reckless abandon. The man was a genius. --Richard Jankovich
  • Johnny Parry
    Johnny Parry
    Tony Wilson has been a pioneer in the battle to maintain truly creative work in an industry that continually insists on investing firstly in the business rather than the music. Even after losing Tony Wilson, his legacy continues. Still bringing musical opportunities, this time to children via the Tony Wilson Award.
  • The Bedford Incident
    The Bedford Incident
    A genuine visionary and honest man who told it like it was and gave the impression that he would never be swayed from his artistic integrity. The world is a darker place without him, but his legacy will be heard for a long time to come.
  • Fornever
    I used to say some people make money and some make history. - Tony Wilson... The world might be a better place if more people aspired to the latter... --Josh Heinrich
  • The Sheaks
    The Sheaks
    Tony Wilson was a true believer...just as much as John Peel or Greg Shaw. Not just because he had the foresight to see the potential in bands like Joy Division or the Happy Mondays and help connect them to the resources needed to function, but also because he had the necessary insanity to cannibalize business sense -- and apparently common sense, as well -- in the name of a record label that became a beautifully and impossibly lost cause. In fact, the real genius (and hopefully, the lasting legacy) of Tony Wilson was that he realized, in this life, it’s the lost causes that really are maybe the only ones worth fighting for.
  • Marc Deon
    Marc Deon
    Tony Wilson was simply the pulse of greatness and I give him high praise for nurturing young musicians and allowing them to grow as artists. Without this careful cultivation, we may not have known bands like Joy Division, New Order, Section 25, Happy Mondays... and so on. The words pioneer and visionary are understatements when speaking of Tony’s contributions to, among other things, dance music and club culture.
  • GD Luxxe
    GD Luxxe
    I once sent a demo (sometime back in the 80's) to Factory Records with no hope at all that I get a reply, but some days later I found a letter from Mr. Wilson in my post box. So, I quite liked him, even though he told me that "unfortunately my songs were not what they were looking for " :).
  • Win Win Winter
    Win Win Winter
    Tony Wilson was an Indie Rock music and artistic cultural hero. He was an original thinker, found and promoted unconventional music without consideration for the almighty $. He took chances. He put the Sex Pistols on televison introducing punk rock to the world. My favorite quote of his, "Some people make money and some people make history."
  • Glomag
    I never met Tony Wilson, but my favorite music comes from Manchester and centers around the activities of Tony Wilson and Martin Hannett. From Joy Division to Magazine to The Fall to New Order, that city somehow produced the greatest music in my lifetime and much of it was nurtured by Tony Wilson.
  • CBentley
    Tony was a dreamer and visonary with a genuine passion and enthusiasm for the artists he helped bring to us all. It's tough to imagine what the music scence would have been like without him.
  • Kingsbury
    Tony loved music, and spent his whole life bringing it to people. We wish more people did that.
  • The Dark Romantics
    The Dark Romantics
    When we read that we were to share our thoughts on Tony Wilson, we all said the same thing: "Who is Tony Wilson?". Once we googled him though, we realized his importance to music in general. We did see 24 hour Party People, but only because a few of us were in a band called "The Party People". Laugh it up!
  • Manumatic
    Tony Wilson brought real music to people that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. I wish there had been someone like that here in the States.
  • TurboVamps
    The only thing I know about Tony Wilson is what I saw in 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE. His willingness to take chances and make Factory Records a label that promoted artistic freedom resonates with all of us in TURBOVAMPS. When I think of what the music world would have missed out on without Tony's vision, it makes him seem that much more important. I grew up on JOY DIVISION, NEW ORDER and OMD because my dad listened to them. Those bands might not have had a chance if it weren't for Tony Wilson. -- Andrew TV,
  • Sibling
    The news reader who brought us Joy Division. You couldn't make it up.
  • Last Year's Model
    Last Year's Model
    What first comes to our minds about Tony Wilson is the amount of control he gave his musicians over their music. In the best instances this lead to the most amazing art. Tony's faith in his artists allowed his label to see creative output unlike any label before or after.
  • Wedgepiece
    Perhaps the only record company exec who actually cared about the music before the profit. He was one of a kind.

Anthony Howard Wilson

Tony Wilson

Anthony Howard Wilson, commonly known as Tony Wilson (20 February 1950 – 10 August 2007), was an English record label owner, radio presenter, TV show host, journalist for Granada Television, and he was the founder and manager The Haçienda nightclub. He was one of the five co-founders of Factory Records. Factory Records was a Manchester based British independent record label which featured several prominent musical acts on its roster such as Joy Division & New Order.

Tony Wilson

Record label owner, broadcaster, journalist, pop impresario and nightclub founder - Anthony Wilson was famous for many things, but perhaps he was most famous for being a self-styled professional Mancunian.

Did you know?

The Tony Wilson Awards will see a number of children and young people who can demonstrate a special talent or ambition in the arts or creative skills, receive extra assistance in the form of grants to help them develop their talents.

This financial year The Salford Foundation Trust as a whole has supported 63 young people. Averaging around £350 per grant. Under the Tony Wilson Award they have supported 28 young people. This included the music tuition for anything from piano, violin, saxophone, purchasing instruments, drama and singing lessons.

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