From the The Guardian (Wednesday 9 August 2006)
Tony Ogden, who has died suddenly aged 44, was the charismatic frontman of the influential Manchester band World of Twist. They came within a whisker of making it big in the early 1990s, and have continued to enjoy cult status and regular airplay on mainstream radio.
World of Twist was formed in Sheffield in 1985 by guitarist Gordon King and singer Jamie Fry, the brother of Martin Fry of ABC, with Tony - born in Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire - on drums. The band soon relocated to Manchester in order to ride the city's musical wave, with Tony taking over as singer. World of Twist's style fused glam-rock sensibilities with pulsating psychedelic pop, dazzling sell-out crowds at the Manchester Ritz, London Astoria and Sheffield Leadmill. An eccentric fusion of high- and low-tech visuals featuring spinning cut-out heads of the band's members, pyrotechnics and fake fur was the backdrop to Tony's magnetic presence, darkly handsome in sleek-fitting clothes.
Ogden was a talented, prolific songwriter - Gordon King had to call by frequently to harvest his songs, which he would otherwise jettison. The band's breakthrough came with his classic The Storm (1990), produced by Factory's Martin Hannett, and World of Twist were propelled into "hotly tipped" status, promptly signing to Circa Records.
However, their singles, including Sons of the Stage (1990), adopted by Oasis as their opening live number, and described by BBC radio's Mark Riley as "one of the greatest songs of all time", failed to break into the top 40. Their only album, Quality Street (1991), featuring Ogden on the cover in a soldier's uniform looking like Terence Stamp in Far From the Madding Crowd, disappointed critics, fans and the band alike.
Radio 1 sessions for John Peel and Mark Goodyear came closer to capturing the sound and energy of their live presence. After being dropped by Circa, World of Twist were courted by Alan McGee at Creation (who claimed they should have been bigger than Pulp), but narrowly missed signing to the label.
Tony had already declared that he would no longer appear on stage, and the band auditioned singers to replace him, but the chemistry of the group imploded under pressure, and they split up. Tony, who was electrifying on stage, with an Errol Flynn kind of virility, completely withdrew from public life, becoming a virtual recluse in his Stockport home.
He continued to write songs, some of which have surfaced on the internet as a project called Bubblegum Secret Pop Explosion, and recently collaborated with Manchester outfit Mum and Dad on Dawn Rider. Admired and namechecked by artists as diverse as Saint Etienne and Jeremy Deller, World of Twist have maintained a devoted and nostalgic following.
Tony was a funny, unpredictable and riveting person to be around. He could also be intensely private and introspective. The band had hired a penny-farthing for the Quality Street photo-shoot. While the others stood around waiting in Regency costumes, Tony leapt on to the bicycle and rode up and down the Tunbridge Wells street.
That's the sort of person he was, hungry for life's experiences. There was an edginess, daring and excess about him, which ultimately tipped him over the edge, but for a while his star burned brightly, and the world seems a duller place without him.
by Ellie Arnold