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Dear readers, we've got two very special stories featured covering Manchester UK's legendary music scene for you over in our Live4ever Web-zine. Visit our Brit Rock Daily to read all about Factory Records and the people behind it and check out our exclusive interview with Manchester's Brit Pop Rockers "The Answering Machine".
Here's a short excerpt to hopefully wet your apetite for more:
Factory Records - The Rise And Fall of UK’s Legendary Indie Label
On this day in 1992, Factory Records was finally declared bankrupt, ending one of the most fascinating stories in British music. Here we take a run through the rise and fall of the legendary label and the people behind it.
In 1973 Tony Wilson, a Manchester born Cambridge graduate, returned to his home city to persue a career in journalism. He took a job as a reporter with Manchester’s independent station Granada Television, and became known for his ‘Kamikaze Corner’, in which he would undertake various stunts including a stab at Hang-gliding which was later recreated in the 2002 film ‘24 Hour Party People‘. In July 1976, Wilson was given the chance to combine his burning passion for music with his television career when he landed the presenters job for a new Granada music and culture programme called ‘So It Goes‘. Brought in to rival the BBC’s established music shows ‘Top Of The Pops‘ and ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test‘, the programme gave Wilson the platform to premiere a clutch of new bands who were emerging from the burgeoning punk scene, a scene which Wilson had fallen in love with.
Just a month before ‘So It Goes‘ hit the airwaves for the first time, Wilson had been present at the Sex Pistols‘ now legendary gig at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall, and Wilson subsequently gave the band their television debut on his show which also introduced the likes of Iggy Pop, Blondie, Patti Smith and The Jam to the north of England.
Not content with merely giving bands their break on his TV show, Wilson took his musical interest one step further when he began managing a small group of local bands including A Certain Ratio with his friend Alan Erasmus, who at the time was an actor who had landed a few small roles in programmes such as the long-running soap Coronation Street. It was in his new found status as a Manager that Tony Wilson visited the Stiff-Chiswick challenge at a local club called ‘Rafter’s‘ in April 1978. Amongst the acts playing that night were Joy Division, a four-piece who were led by enigmatic frontman Ian Curtis. Said to be angered at having to go on stage last, the band delivered a blistering performance which captivated Wilson. Rob Gretton, a DJ at the club that night, immediately approached Joy Division and became their manager. Gretton would soon become a partner and leading player in Factory.
The next step for Tony Wilson was to find a venue to showcase his own bands as well as other groups which were emerging from the North West of England. Eventually, Wilson and Erasmus settled on a venue called The Russel Clubin the Moss Side area of Manchester. They were given a Friday night spot and the club, on the suggestion of Erasmus, became known as The Factory on those Fridays. It was to promote this new club night that Wilson and Erasmus first enlisted the talents ofPeter Saville, an art student, who’s subsequent art designs for Factory would become almost as legendary as the bands themselves.