Rob Gretton was the manager of Joy Division, co-founder of Factory Records and the Hacienda night club.
In his early years he was working as a baggage-handler at Manchester Airport. In the evenings he was working at a disc-jockey. One night at Rafters nightclub in central Manchester there was a talent night and at two am he heard a quartet called Joy Division (normally called “Warsaw” playing downbeat misery-making 20 minute set. He saw something in them and convinced them he should be their manager.
Over the next two years they released an album and their reputation rose steeply. Another album was completed but before its release their lead singer Ian Curtis killed himself. Rather than let the group end Rob found a new singer and helped the group through a rebirth as New Order.
As a co-founder of the Hacienda nightclub he was the main force in turning the former yacht showroom into a warehouse-size venue (he’d seen such clubs in New York.) Though a massive success, forming the elixir of “Madchester”, cheap drugs helped turn things sour. Soon the scene became “Gunchester” and, along with Factory Records, it was wound up.
Sadly Rob died of a heart attack at 46 leaving a partner and two children.
He was portrayed by Paddy Considine in the 2002 film 24 Hour Party People which dramatized the rise and fall of Factory Records. He was also played by Toby Kebbell in the 2007 film Control (about the life of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis.)
Passing by in April 2019...
Tony Wilson and Rob Gretton should have been buried next to one another…