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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 August 2007, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK
Tributes paid to 'Mr Manchester'
Anthony Wilson
Anthony Wilson was an influential figure in the "Madchester" scene
Hundreds of tributes have been paid to Tony Wilson, the man behind some of Manchester's most successful bands.

The founder of Factory Records, the label which launched New Order and the Happy Mondays, died on Friday at the age of 57.

Wilson, dubbed Mr Manchester, had been suffering kidney cancer after being diagnosed last year.

TV presenter Terry Christian said: "No Tony Wilson, no Manchester music scene."

Stephen Morris, from Joy Division and New Order, who were signed to the Factory Records label, said he owed him his career.

He would get the abuse and the vitriol that we all get if we're on television and it would amuse him
TV Presenter Richard Madeley

"New Order wouldn't have came to be what they are without Tony and the Factory Record label because he was very passionate about music and he believed the band should have total freedom," he said.

"He was I think, the only person in the music industry that didn't believe in contracts.

"You'd see him do deals with record companies and the whole thing was done on the back of his hand. You could literally do what you want."

TV Presenter Richard Madeley said: "He really didn't care what his colleagues or what the viewers thought about him because he had total belief in himself, and that was the most charming thing about Tony.

Floral tributes laid to Anthony Wilson
You are a true icon, an inspiration
Note on floral tribute

"He would get the abuse and the vitriol that we all get if we're on television and it would amuse him."

Coronation Street star Michael LeVell, who plays mechanic Kevin, said Wilson was "one of the biggest and liveliest characters".

"He was never a man to mince his words. He just said what he thought and if you did not like it, 'stuff you'.

"He was a godsend to Manchester."

Paul Ryder, brother of Sean and the bassist of the Happy Mondays, shared his memories of Wilson.

"I was seventeen years old and I first met him, and I was a bit nervous.

"This was before we signed to Factory, his words to me were, you might not make any money on Factory, but I can guarantee you, you will see the world.

"And I thought that will do for me."

Truly a great Mancunian... Anthony Wilson will be missed by many but only forgotten by a few
Councillor Jim Battle

Dave Haslam, who Wilson gave a job DJ-ing at the Hacienda, said: "I'm just one of the many, many people, he opened doors for... He gave people like me an opportunity."

Peter Saville, from Factory Records, told BBC Newsnight Wilson was good at spotting things that become important.

He said: "Tony to me was an intellectual in popular culture. So whether it was television or music Tony brought a kind of gravitas to it and a sense of importance to it."

The deputy leader of Manchester City Council, Jim Battle, called Wilson a "truly great" Mancunian, saying he generated pride in the city.

'Massive loss'

Mr Battle said: "Anthony Wilson placed Manchester on the world stage at the leading edge of music and culture.

"Truly a great Mancunian. Anthony Wilson will be missed by many but only forgotten by a few."

BBC Radio Manchester presenter Terry Christian said he was absolutely devastated.

"I loved Tony. To me he is irreplaceable. It is a massive loss to Manchester," he said.

A bolshy, no nonsense yet compassionate character. Tony Wilson epitomised the Mancunian psyche, his legacy will live on forever.
Councillor Mike Amesbury

"Tony was so full of life. He was fantastic and I never got tired of his company."

He added: "He was the icon figure we could all kick against. He was the whole representation of Manchester."

Flowers and tributes are also being left outside the Hacienda apartments in Whitworth Street West where Wilson's nightclub once stood.

One tribute said: "What a legend Manchester has lost, love will never tear us apart."

Another said: "You are a true icon, an inspiration, I truly wish that I could have known you.

"Your spirit will live on in Manchester. The people and the city will never, ever, forget you."


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