07 Jan Robert Stigwood passed away at the ripe age of 81
The universe has seen the passing this week of a man who has had more influence on the history of rock `n’ roll music than any other single individual.
Known for his contributions to music industry projects and concepts, Mr Stigwood will likely be most keenly remembered for his role as the manager of the Bee Gees, the production of the Saturday Night Fever movie/soundtrack, and not forgetting his near partnership with Brian Epstein in the management of The Beatles.
Many of my colleagues will have their own memories of the one and only R. Stigwood, who was born in the unlikely city of Adelaide , the son of an electrical engineer. His first job emerged in Adelaide where he was an advertising copywriter, an initial occupation he shared with your reporter. He travelled to London in the late ‘50s. He kicked around on the sidelines of rock for several years.
In 1965, a Chuck Berry tour he had promoted failed to draw at the box office and Mr Stigwood was forced to declare bankruptcy. Determined to maintain positive appearances, he hired a chauffeur-driven limo to transport him to his court hearing. That was the way he would always operate.
Robert Stigwood was a serious mover and shaker. For instance, he was the man who introduced Eric Clapton to George Harrison, and to the film set gipsy Patti Boyd, who ultimately married each of them. She was a pretty sharp mover herself. I had a few memorable dealings with Mr Stigwood myself. In 1967, he signed a record production deal with Roland Rennie, the managing director of Polydor/Polygram Records UK, the UK affiliate of the German recording giant, DGG. This led him into some lucrative financial backing deals with London investment circles which would be of enormous benefit down the track.
I was able to interest Roland Rennie in Australia’s King of Pop, young Mr Normie Rowe. Polygram supported Normie in the recording of several hits including Ooh La La and It’s Not Easy, cut in a London studio with the backing of guitarist Jimmy Page and bass player John Paul Jones, later to be members of Led Zeppelin.
Mr Stigwood had a huge influence on the early Oz music scene but after become intimately involved in the U.K. picture, he became disinterested in the local industry back home.
He played a key role in the evolution of British MOR music merchant Andrew Lloyd Weber.