Annotations

Then and now

Greg Wilson Home Studio – Wigan 1983

Then:

…Greg Wilson is an honorary Manc born in Liverpool who is generally acknowledged as the godfather of the early eighties Manc electro scene. He is one of the first British DJs to have used three turntables. Remembered for his nights at Legend and the Haçienda…
‘MANCHESTER DJ GURUS’
THE FACE, 1990

…by 1982 he was established at Wigan Pier, thrilling all and sundry with his brew of electronica and soul. He was given a dying Wednesday at Legend, Manchester’s most influential black music venue, and blew enough life into it to spread queues round the block and gain punters countrywide. Forget the Haçienda, where Wilson began the first full–on dance night, Legend was the start of it all. His secret, the dastardly mixing techniques he’d picked up in Europe plus this weird and wonderful new form of music sweeping across from New York…
SLEAZE NATION MAGAZINE
AMANDA CAZA, 1998

…Greg Wilson was entranced by the stripped down electronic sounds that were coming out of New York where, in one of the weirdest quirks in rock history, black kids in the ghetto started to get hip to Kraftwerk. Taking the atmospheric synth music of the German outfit, they re–invented it as a dance music of their own. The computer age was dawning and here was a music that matched the nu digital time…Electro is one of the key forebears of nineties pop culture…
‘THE NINETIES – WHAT THE F**K WAS THAT ALL ABOUT?’
JOHN ROBB, 1999

…Wilson’s work on the decks every Wednesday (at Legend) drew the attention of Mike Shaft, who was then fronting a black music show on Piccadilly Radio. Although not a big fan of the new dancefloor sounds, he invited Wilson to do mixes for the radio show. These were probably some of the most taped programmes in Manchester radio history…
‘MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – THE POP CULT CITY’
DAVE HASLAM, 1999

…Greg helped pioneer the early stages as resident deejay at the legendary Wigan Pier and Manchester Legends venues. Greg was one of the first British deejays to consider seriously the art of deejaying and mixing was beyond the simple act of sticking a platter on a turntable before swilling ale and checking out the available talent (although I’m pretty sure Greg did his fair share of these activities too!). Greg’s mixes on Manchester Piccadilly Radio were significant interludes and he was also the first British deejay to mix live on TV when appearing on the now defunct The Tube show…
‘CLASSIC ELECTRO MASTERCUTS’, BLUES & SOUL
BOB KILLBOURN, 1994

…‘the whole black side of Manchester has been completely ignored’ says Greg Wilson, Manchester’s first electro DJ, on the wheels of steel at Wigan Pier and Legends in ’82. A disco–chemist, he experimented with mixing and NY’s new styles…Legends stepped out a whole 18 months before The Face’s cover feature caught up…By the start of ’83, white hipsters were changing channels, switching from doom–rock to dance beats. ACR, New Order, Swamp Children and the like tuned into Legends…‘In all things that have been written about Manchester, the thing that led the way hasn’t even been mentioned! The black–white mix! Even when the students arrived (on the scene) the black side kept its identity and everyone began bouncing ideas around’ argues Greg…
‘AND GOD CREATED MANCHESTER’
SARAH CHAMPION, 1990

…Kermit was here, there and everywhere. Everyone knew Kermit. Everyone knew Kermit stories. Everyone knew that one day this man would turn into something important. The story begins way back in the early eighties, at Manchester’s Legends nightspot. On Wednesday night Manchester grandmaster of Electro, Greg Wilson, held hardcore funk sessions sussed enough to educate even the hippest of dudes from old Hulme. All the while, down the road, the Haçienda remained a vast, cold, empty shell, full of echoey indie sounds and a few straggly raincoated students. Greg Wilson was where it began and Kermit would soak in his influences…
‘SHAUN RYDER, HAPPY MONDAYS, BLACK GRAPE & OTHER TRAUMAS’
MICK MIDDLES,1997

…Before retiring from deejaying in 1984, Greg had kicked off the first weekly dance night at The Haçienda and was managing Britain’s best known breakdance crew, Manchester’s Broken Glass. In ’84 he produced Street Sounds’ experimental UK Electro album and has since produced the Ruthless Rap Assassins…
FROM THE SLEEVENOTES OF ‘CLASSIC ELECTRO MASTERCUTS’
IAN DEWHIRST, 1994


Greg Wilson 2011 (Photo by Fluke Photography)

Now:

…Greg Wilson is the Originator…
UNABOMBERS / ELECTRIC CHAIR

…The Electro Grandaddy!…
MR SCRUFF

…A genuine old skool innovator from back in the day…
NORMAN JAY MBE

…the Arch-Deacon Of Superior Electro…
IAN DEWHIRST / MASTERCUTS

…He’d be mixing, I mean to me it sounded like his own versions of the tunes – that also inspired me…
A GUY CALLED GERALD (RECALLING GREG’S LEGEND CLUB NIGHTS CIRCA 82/83)

…a lot of records in my collection were a direct result of listening to you playing…We were always trying to get away from the indie tag and wanted to be played in clubs like Legends by DJs like yourself…
MARTIN MOSCROP OF A CERTAIN RATIO & SWAMP CHILDREN

…Wednesday nights (at Legend) were presided over by DJ Greg Wilson, who, later would also play a major part in shaping the Hacienda’s musical direction, educating audiences in a new streetwise sound…
PETER HOOK / NEW ORDER (FROM HIS BOOK ‘THE HACIENDA – HOW NOT TO RUN A CLUB’ 2009)

…at the time Legend was the closest thing to New York…I loved Greg Wilson as a DJ…
MIKE PICKERING / HAÇIENDA

…One of the greatest DJs the city has ever known…
CITY LIFE / MANCHESTER

…the whole b boy scene in Brighton started that night when you lot came down…when you taught me to scratch it was like a 5 minute “look, that’s how you do it” and I did a few cack-handed attempts. Then I went home and spent about the next month just working out how to do it…
NORMAN COOK (IN CONVERSATION WITH GREG, DISCUSSING THEIR MEETING IN 1983).

…Electro was a real phenomenon in the UK…Some DJs, like Wilson at Legend in Manchester, or future hip hop supreme Tim Westwood at Spats in London switched wholesale to this new sound; many others adopted it as part of their musical menu. By breaking with the past and welcoming the future, it was these renegades of funk who laid the groundwork for both acid house and the UK hip hop scene…
BILL BREWSTER / FRANK BROUGHTON
(FROM THE CENTENARY EDITION OF THEIR BOOK “LAST NIGHT A DJ SAVED MY LIFE”)

…Greg Wilson played a huge part in bringing about the 80’s northern house explosion, so show some flippin’ respec’…
JOCKEY SLUT

…One of the North-Wests top DJs – you were superb, I’m sure you still are… happy memories of those great All-Dayers in Manchester at The Ritz and Tiffanys in the ’80s…
RICHARD SEARLING (SEMINAL NORTHERN SOUL DJ CASTS HIS MIND BACK TWO DECADES)

…Greg was truly inspirational for me. It was so great to hear a musical journey and learn so much about the history of mixing. Every track was a winner and so many I had never heard before…
RALPH LAWSON (FOLLOWING GREG’S ‘COMEBACK’ APPEARANCE)

…You can’t afford to miss legendary 1980’s electro-funk DJ Greg Wilson as he returns to the fray…
THE GUARDIAN GIG GUIDE

…Greg Wilson is the best DJ for me and always will be…
ANDY MEECHER OF CHICKEN LIPS

 


© Greg Wilson, 2012

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