Monday, August 20, 2007

Tony Wilson R.I.P. (1950-2007)

Photo by Aidan O'Rourke

Joy Division, "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (YSI link) 320 DJ

New Order, "Blue Monday (original 12" mix)" (YSI link) 320 DJ

I've been out most of the day, walking in the rain and listening to the new Okkervil River (like we agreed to do, remember!?!) I definitely feel in the right mood to finally put this post together. It's taken me a week to feel like I can come to terms with all of the brilliant people who have passed away recently. From Antonioni and Bergman to the Yankees great Phil Rizzuto, it feels like these dark times only get darker. For Pound for Pound, one of the names that has had a massive influence on what we listen to and love, Tony Wilson, passed away last Saturday at the age of 57 from cancer. Wilson was co-founder of Factory Records, the label that gave the world Joy Division and New Order and that we profiled two weeks ago, and the man behind the legendary Hacienda club. He was

It seems impossible to write a heartfelt obituary, especially for someone you never met. So, I'll simply say that Mr. Wilson was a name that any music fan should know and revere. He had an ear for some of the greatest music ever made, an ability to hear the next sound before anyone knew what that sound would be. But, more importantly to me, he loved his city, Manchester, every day he was on this Earth, he did whatever he could to make his city a better place, he spread the word far and wide about how amazing it was. He was known as Mr. Manchester, for that lifetime of support and love. I can think of no better way to be remembered at the end. This article in The Independent might be the best tribute of all - "He was a champion of Manchester right to the end. In his last interview he said: "In the North-west it rains and it rains. And yet we managed to produce the industrial revolution, trade union movement, the Communist Manifesto and even the goddam computer. Down south, where the sun never sets, you took all our money and what did you produce? Chas and fucking Dave.""

We're going to take this week coming up to continue our look at the music of Factory Records and the Hacienda, in honor of the life of Tony Wilson. I hope that everyone gives it a listen and takes a moment to remember the man behind so much of it. Above are two of the classics the man helped give us. Pitchfork has a nice rememberance of the man, complete with lots of great video clips. Jody Rosen has a tribute in Slate, while the BBC lays out the 5 most influential things about Wilson. They're all fine and nice, but I'm gonna try to let the music that man championed speak for itself and Mr. Wilson. He will be missed.