TF Archives

Madchester's Tony Wilson Dies, Aged 57

Author: Sparklechops
Friday, August 17, 2007
Before Tony Wilson turned his hand to pop music and nightclubs, 'Madchester' was still known simply as Manchester.

More than anyone else, Wilson was responsible for putting the Northern English city on the map, having founded both Factory Records in the late 70s and The Hacienda club in 1982.

Wilson died of cancer last Friday August aged 57, following a long illness and emergency surgery to remove a kidney in January. In the last weeks of his life, he had been prescribed Sutent, a costly drug not funded by the National Health Service, and was being helped out financially by Members of The Happy Mondays.

Both ventures became legends of their time, spawning names such as Joy Division, New Order, The Happy Mondays, The Smiths, Stone Roses and Oasis.

The Hacienda was arguably the most popular club of them all, with Michael Winterbottom's 2002 movie '24 Hour Party People' documenting the scene it created at the centre of the 1980s universe. Everyone who was anyone played there, including Madonna who performed her first ever UK gig at the venue in 1983.

After the club closed its doors in '97, Wilson went on to set up an annual Manchester music conference, host successful radio shows on BBC and XFM and he even set up a coalition in 2004 called The Necessary Group, which campaigned for regional devolution.

All this comes at a time when hit biopic 'Control' hits cinemas around the country, a film depicting the short life of Joy Division's Ian Curtis, who tragically cut his life short in 1980.