From Factory Records to The Hacienda, the world of music owes a debt of gratitude to Tony Wilson, the Salford-born impresario who sadly passed away on this day (10 August) in 2007, at the age of just 57.
As the 2002 film 24 Hour Party People explored, Wilson’s “musical epiphany” took place at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall in June 1976, when he was one of the few in the audience to witness the Sex Pistols’ Manchester debut.
This was just weeks before Wilson commenced hosting duties on So It Goes, a Granada-produced music programme that saw performances by The Clash, XTC, Elvis Costello, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Peter Cook and a host of notables over a two year period.
Not long after that concluded, Wilson gave an interview to The Mancunion, a newspaper run by students at the University of Manchester, about the difficulties getting the often-disjointed So It Goes back on the air, and what was rocking his boat musically at the time.
“It’s my opinion that when music lost its essence at the end of the sixties due to commercialism and lack of energy, there was nothing left of what had been important about the music – the sense of community, the sense of expression and all the rest of it,” he explains, in an interview archived by Manchester Digital Music Archive.
Elsewhere, he says that he believes that the nascent punk movement of the time has faced hostility from TV bosses, despite what he believes to be its ‘cultural importance’.
“It seems right now that TV companies don’t want punk rock on their TV screens. It seems correct, because the music should be threatening, and they should run away from it,” he says. “But if you think of the cultural things that have happened, it’s the most interesting thing to happen in a long time.”
A self-confessed “trouble maker”, Wilson would maintain his boyish passion for musical adventure for another three decades. Long live Anthony H. Wilson!
Click here for the full article on the Manchester Digital Music Archive website.