The story of one of the most unusual, progressive, innovative, and important record labels in the history of music, Factory Records, is told in this first-hand account by Tony Wilson, the label’s founder and legendary ex-owner of the Haçienda club in Manchester, England. The story itself goes like this. In 1976, Wilson found himself inspired at a Sex Pistols performance to set up Factory Records. Over the next years, he and his circle friends formed the bands Joy Division, later New Order, and towards the lable’s final years, Happy Mondays - all became some of the most influential British bands on the 80′s. Wilson’s bands are successes with a number of big hits, and the money from them is plowed into the record label and the club. Losing money as fast as they can make it, they eventually bottom out financially and the story closes, leaving behind a trail of musical legend. In addition to Wilson’s own bands, Factory Records brought to the world The Durutti Column, ACR and more.

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The late Tony Wilson spares nothing, especially not himself…

“The musicians own everything. The company owns nothing. All our bands have the freedom to f**k off.” That was the credo of Factory Records. While it lasted, before financial excess and mismanagement brought it down, the label lived up to that credo in a wonderful explosion of lunacy, magnificent in its extravagance, glorious in its trajectory to doom. The story spans pivotal years in music from the early days of punk rock until the mutations of acid house. Factory Records played an important role throughout that period, and Wilson tells his part in the story in an entertaining way that does not spare his own follies. Regrettably gone from the world, Wilson has left it a more interesting place by far. Since the old saying is true and you can’t take it with you, what does it matter that the bands, the record label, and the club, taken together, were a financial failure? In the end that’s true of everyone, and it only matters what you accomplish on the journey.

24-Hour Party People: What the Sleeve Notes Never Tell You
by Tony Wilson
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Trans-Atlantic Pubns (December 2002)
Language: English

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