More music innovators pay tribute to Tony Wilson

Bernard Butler and The Streets' manager praise Manchester legend

More of music’s innovators have paid tribute Tony Wilson, who died yesterday (August 10).

Joining the likes of New Order‘s Stephen Morris and Peter Hook plus Alan McGee, both Bernard Butler and The Streets‘ manager Tim Vigon have added their voice to praise the Factory Records legend.

Former Suede guitarist Butler chose to simply thank Wilson for his influence.

“Thank you Mr Wilson,” he wrote, “for New Order, [a]Joy Division, Martin Hannett (producer), Peter Saville (sleeve designer, FAC 73 (’Blue Monday’), 93 (’Confusion’), 103 (’Thieves Like Us’), pop music: the art form, giving me a chance, thank you.”

Meanwhile Vigon – a fellow Manchester United fan with Wilson – recalled the impact the he had had on his home city of Manchester.

“When I was growing up in the North West, Wilson was omnipresent, and when I reached my teens, the bands he released and championed changed my life,” he said. “I heard New Order for the first time in a friend’s car and from there on in music became my first love. If you lived your social life in Manchester at that time, Wilson‘s influence was everywhere, we all loved those early James records, Joy Division, New Order and the Mondays, ACR, Durutti Column, it was hard to find people who loved music who weren’t immersed in Factory and everything that came with it – it was something you could completely believe in.”

He also recalled visiting the legendary club Wilson helped to run: “Going to the Hacienda was different to going to any other club. There was a sense of reverence about a night out there. If you were going to the Hacienda, you made a special effort, you built up to it and whenever you walked in, you always knew you were somewhere that had something different. The people, the atmosphere, the music, it was inexplicably special – and the first thing you saw when you walked in to the Hac was a giant picture of Wilson, staring right at you. A monument to his legendary ego.”

Vigon concluded: “Music became my career, I manage bands for a living now and Tony Wilson is one of the reasons that I do it. My work brought me together with Wilson on a number of occasions, and I can say , without any shadow of a doubt, sitting in a room with him, listening to his passionate theories about music, culture, football and the city he loved, were some of the most memorable and inspiring moments of my life. Even when we were in a way working together, I was still in awe of Tony, he had always been pretty much a hero of mine and even though I managed, as so many people did, to have my falling outs with him, and he could be an absolute nightmare at times (!), I have to say, that nothing ever blighted my love or respect for the man.

“His belief in what he did was pure and unwavering to the point of madness, the financial disasters that are so well documented are part and parcel of the genius of Wilson that meant that the things that he did pull off really mattered. Sometimes he made things happen by sheer force of will and sometimes, like every great creative, even he couldn’t pull it off.

“He’s made his mark on music, popular culture, and on a whole city in a way that very few people ever will. He’s the ultimate professional Northerner and he’s a big part of making Manchester the place it is. It won’t be the same without him.”

You can ready Tony Wilson’s obituary on NME.COM now.

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And see the NME Office Blog for our Tony Wilson comment and tribute, then leave a comment with your own.

Plus see next week’s NME – on UK newsstands from August 15 – for our special tribute issue to Tony Wilson.