Tony Wilson passed away last week, and I barely had time to let it soak in as I was traveling for work. He was easily one of the most inspirational people in my business, and a person who's hand I always wanted to shake but never did (although being in his presence twice). His business model favored creativity over profit, something easily considered unacceptable today, and at the time he did it. The first pressing on the #1 selling 12 inch of all time, New Order's "Blue Monday" had such expensive packaging that his Factory Records lost money every copy they sold. Where is a man like this today, in a business that is almost entirely comitted to turning a profit whatever the cost. Tony Wilson made art, and was someone I strived to model myself after. Joy Division/New Order, Happy Mondays, Durruti Column, OMD, and so many more all go their start with Tony Wilson at the helm. Factory Records, originally with a 1 page contract written in blood and a numerical release schedule has a catalog that shapes music today. I visit Manchester because of Tony Wilson's love and passion for the North and it's music.
I miss Tony Wilson already, and I long to put on a New Order record and just say "Thank You".
The Independent has an obituary here.