AND THIS GOES OUT TWO..

A random selection of the  'who, what and when'  over the last 25 years.

Lucian Grainge - Chairman & CEO of UMG and
David Joseph - Chairman & CEO of UMG UK.

Brandon Bakshi, head of BMI in London.

Ken Berry was at the helm at Virgin worldwide following the sale in 1992.

The Outside Organisation worked in a unique collaboration with Bernard Doherty and LD Communications on The Brits.

 

Also there were The Mobo's and The Mercury Music Prize, when our first ceremony took place just five hours after the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11th 2001.

Another memorable occasion occurred when we accompanied the charming Barbara Orbison to the MTV Awards, so sad to hear of her passing recently.

 

Rocco Buonvino and Noel Magri asked me to invite Peter Andre to the Malta Music Awards to accept the Best International Artist Award

Beverley Knight is quite simply one of the finest vocalists from anywhere of all time ......anyone who has witnessed her performances in the West End production of 'The Bodyguard' will testify to that. Robin Gibb concurred that having spent a lot of his career, particularly with American R&B vocalists she was exceptional.....and lets take into account writing and recording credits with Barbra Streisand, Dionne Warwick, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross and Celine Dion!

Beverley performed Guilty live on one occasion in London and Robin provided backing vocals to her cover of 'Too Much Heaven' in 2010.

World renowned restauranteur Ciro Orsini has been a friend and associate for over 15 years.  We worked together on London venues in Tower Hill and Bishopsgate and his Knightsbridge site is still a regular haunt into the wee hours.

By Royal Command!.. The Princes Trust (Prince Charles seen here with Shakira) was a beneficiary of Capital Radio's Party In The Park. Outward Bound (Prince Andrew, Prince Philip and Prince Albert of Monaco) where Robin was an Ambassador and took his role very seriously joining the kids up in the Lake District and North Wales to experience the amazing work the charity does.    Special mentions must go to Mandy Tarrant and Stuart Baker whose contribution was immensely appreciated by Robin.

Robin was President of The Heritage Foundation which honoured legends from the world of entertainment and honoured their memory with a blue plaque.......some of those included comedy greats such as Kenneth Williams and also Peter Cook( on the site of a The Establishment Club in Soho)as well as stars of film such as Sir John Mills at Pinewood Studios and John Lennon and George Harrison on the old Apple building on the corner of Baker St and Paddington St in Marylebone.

Roger  Daltrey unveiled one for Keith Moon on the site of The Marquee Club in Wardour Street and Robin's brother Maurice was remembered at the Brook Street offices in Mayfair,formally the Robert Stigwood Organisation HQ. Rather poignantly, Robin himself was honoured (picture shows the unveiling at his home in Oxfordshire with his wife Dwina, son RJ as well as Sir Tim Rice, Susan George and David Jensen in September 2012) with a plaque at the family home in Oxfordshire.

The Armed Forces were close to Robin's heart and his final performance on February 14th 2012 was for the Coming Home charity at The London Palladium.  Over five years he fought tirelessly for the construction of the Bomber Command Memorial in London's Green Park, including stating the case when visiting Dresden, a city that felt the effects of the bombing campaign.    It is a mark of the effect of the bridge building he undertook (he wanted the memorial to be a reminder that peace and democracy can come at an awful cost) that the Mayor of that city acknowledged his aims subsequently.    Unfortunately he died just five weeks before Her Majesty The Queen unveiled it on June 28th 2012.   He was also a supporter of Help For Heroes and I've continued to this end with Polo For Heroes , the overwhelming principal of all these charities being to ensure that their sacrifice , so easily forgotten in the more cynical world we live in , is not forgotten once these men and women return home to rebuild their lives with their families. 

Robin collaborated with The Soldiers for the official 2011 Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal by re recording 'I've Gotta Get A Message To You' .

Sporting associations were rather random......it was certainly exciting to be involved in the 2003 Rugby World Cup , held in Australia , with the official England Squad song, 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot' (performed by UB40) , particularly as the victory in the last minute of the final against hosts, from the boot of Jonny Wilkinson ,will remain forever one of the greatest sporting moments ever.

 

The Royal Marsden Hospital,the leading cancer treatment facility was also a worthy cause I was happy to support and here the marvellous Beverley Knight has given her time so generously and I thank her for that.

The 2000 Net Aid Concert at the old Wembley Stadium featuring among others George Michael and David Bowie, with the aim of urging the pan government cancellation of third world debt .  Among the eclectic hosts was a certain David Ginola...

 

The remarkably talented Lyndon David Hall was a dear friend to her and he was treated by the dedicated medical team before he passed away and I'm sure we will be ever supportive to both their research and treatment.

Another of Robin's tireless 'extracurricular' activities saw us travel far and wide to deliver speeches and exert pressure on 'rogue' governments who did not adhere to international copyright law.   He affected change in territories as diverse as Croatia,Chile and India and one particularly memorable week was spent lobbying US senators on Capitol Hill in Washington during The World Copyright Conference in 2009 .   This was all done as President of CISAC, always ably and expertly assisted by Silvina Munich from their Paris offices, without whose coordination and energy we would not have achieved so much.    He is pictured here in Brussels in 2011 with the future President ,Jean Michel Jarre.

With his wife Dwina he wholeheartedly supported Against Breast Cancer, a charity created by Pat and Anthony Leathem to tackle secondary breast cancer ,with the patronage of Julie Cowell, and further endorsed at specific events by her son Simon.

With good friend Nic Georgiou , London Fashion Week is always a hoot!     We have collaborated on various events and one particularly comes to mind from 2012 when he brought back the iconic Ossie Clark designs for the contemporary market and launched where else but in West London's Kings Road.     Model Sophie Smith models an original dress at the Proud Gallery reception.

In a slight contrast ,Ray Cooper , our Virgin deputy MD, a devoted Sheffield Wednesday supporter , signed up to the 1993 official Cup Record as the Owls had secured both League and FA Cup Finals against Arsenal......and conspired to lose both!     The Hillsborough Crew's reworking of Little Steven's 'Sun City' (to 'Steel City') led by the then Eastender's star Ian Reddington was not the worst football record  I've heard to be fair......

 

March for some years meant South By South West in Austin, Texas, where for some years it seemed London's record industry decamped on mass.    It was here Newton Faulkner made giant strides towards his record deal and another year Pete Townshend performed with a series of guest musicians.

 

Sometimes it's great individuals who make projects successful (and when paired as in some cases even more so), such as Hugh Goldsmith (Billie Piper, Blue, Newton Faulkner), Martin O'Shea and former George Michael manager Andy Stephen's with Hugh on Natalie Imbruglia (seen here with his current client Susan Boyle).

UB40 also featured spearheading the 'Cover Up' campaign in 2001 for United Nation AIDS Awareness ......why else would I have a thousand condoms in the trunk of the car

In 2005 we teamed up with Richard Holley (pictured with 'Sam' Newton Faulkner) and Nigel Elderton's Peer Music to work on securing a recording deal .   This was achieved when Hugh Goldsmith signed him and we debuted at No1 in August 2007 on the UK album charts, incidentally displacing Elvis Presley!

 

The two legendary Tony's ...Byrne and Blackburn at local media hangout - Sergios.

Some of the great radio people of this generation have become good friends from Mr Entertainment,Lewis Carnie (here with BBC Radio 2 producer Julie Newman), Jeff Smith who I've worked with while he has headed radios 1 and 2 as well as Capital, his irrepressible boss there , the ever present Richard Park and the marvellous Lesley Douglas , so crucial in establishing Radio 2's dominant position in the national radio market.

Attention to detail was vital in the successful campaigns or Longview and Ray Lamontagne . No one was more precise in this factor than Christian Tattersfield ...ably assisted by A & R guru Alex Gilbert .

The Modest 'dream team' of Richard Griffiths and Harry Magee) as well as Jazz Summers for Soul II Soul (his new book a must read) , have all been a pleasure to work for and learn from as I now enter the 'lions den' of talent management.

I can count two Sex Pistols press conferences as memorable......I'll leave the 2002 Crystal Palace 'incident' for another day ,but here are the boys fresh from arriving on a London bus at the 100 Club on Oxford Street in 1996 to announce the 'Filthy Lucre Tour'.....I'm sure John had said prior to this it was never going to happen!  Well it was well worth it.....I remember standing next to both Creation's Alan McGee and Noel Gallagher at The Shepherds Bush Empire who both went to press the following week to proclaim the performances as life affirming (or something to that end).

 

While consulting on the plans to reopen the nightclub under the East Stand at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge we were regular attendees for home fixtures.....still not quite the Eric Morecambe Suite at Luton Town!

 

No 5 Cavendish Square in central London my home from home for so many years, venue of so many lunchtime showcases when the BBC Club was being refurbished.

Robin opening the International Boat Show at Excel in London's Docklands with Sunseeker.

 

First encountered in record shop in Borehamwood in the Summer of 1987, though his publishing hat with the Hit Sheet and to his role at Trinifold, there is only one Paul Kramer.

We had booked Robin and RJ to appear on the Piers Morgan Tonight show on CNN, (recording on this particular week in New York rather than on the West Coast) which fell a few nights after the Premiere at Westminster Central Hall,on the night The Titanic would have docked in New York 100 years earlier.....unfortunately a booking we were not able to make...

Robin never backed out of shows, even if not feeling too well.....here he is pictured with Robbie Williams when they both appeared for John Caudwell's Children charity at the Banqueting Hall in Whitehall, Central London .

 

There are too many film and theatre projects, too many Premiers and Opening Nights to mention here.....although there are some highlights that immediately spring to mind such as working on 'Backbeat', the Stu Sutcliffe Hamburg era Beatles film with Stephen Dorff and Ian Hart a film produced by former Virgin founder Nic Phillips......and artist related films as diverse as The Spice Girls in 'Spiceworld' and 'The Filth and the Fury' with The Sex Pistols!    Jerry Lee Lewis at Hammersmith Odeon in support of Dennis Quaid's 'Great Balls of Fire' sticks in the memory too.
One of the great pleasures of working with Robin was touring.    Although Robin would state that certainly post 'Fever', The Bee Gees became less of a touring outfit and concentrated more on their songwriting and studio work, Robin enjoyed performing and I was lucky enough to tour around the world and invitations came in from every corner of the globe,  the songs of the Gibb brothers were truly global.  Certain nights stick in the mind such as our trip to The Lebanon and a hot night in Beirut , performing for Jordanian Royalty in the splendour of Ishtar beside The Dead Sea and with Israeli rock star Aviv Geffen in the Port of Tel Aviv following a day in Jerusalem .

 

Robin received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Russian Music Awards in Moscow and performed with the multi platinum artist Valeriya.    Robin recorded vocals to her version of 'Staying Alive' at a London recording studio.....Valeriya's husband is the Russian entertainment impresario Losif Prigozhin who I'd recommend looks after you whenever you visit the Russian capital  ....he literally knows everyone!

With the stars of the BBC's hit comedy Gavin and Stacy (including Rob Brydon,Ruth Jones and Larry Lamb) and Sir Tom Jones , Robin recorded a new version of the brothers song 'Islands In The Stream' for Comic Relief , providing Robin with yet another No 1 hit stretching the decades of No1 songs written by Gibb, Gibb and Gibb to six. The video filmed in an amusement arcade in off season Barry Island in South Wales was a hoot!

Robin had always had a great admiration for Princess Diana , so when he was asked to be Ambassador of her Diana Award he was happy to accept.    The award recognised the special contributions of those in the community less fortunate , yet still with the courage to make a difference.   Led masterfully by Maggie Turner OBE we attended ceremony's both in London (often at 10 Downing St as the Labour Government of Tony Blair and subsequently Gordon Brown were solidly behind the principles set up under Blair in 1999) and both Robin and Dwina were often visibly moved by the courage and bravery of the recipients.    They both believed Diana would have approved of the worthy contribution of this award within the community .
My earliest days at Polydor were dominated by Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Phantom of the Opera' and continued through the next 15 years with 'Aspects of Love' and 'Bombay Dreams'.
 
Other highlights were the transition from screen to theatre of Disney's 'Tarzan' particularly attending the European Premiere of the stage production in The Hague with the composer of the songs from the score Phil Collins and the excellent Madness musical 'Our House' .
 
From a TV perspective the Channel 4 series 'Big Brother' was landmark television in what it opened the door to subsequently as regards reality television.
BBC Radio and TV's Electric Proms was a great example at the BBC at its best, utilising all the terrestrial and digital platforms at its disposal to maximum effect.    When asked to present 'Saturday Night Fever' at The Roundhouse in Chalk Farm, North London, he was joined by a host of stars including Sam Sparro, Gabriella Climi , Charlene Spitteri and his old friends from Boyzone Ronan and the late Stephen Gately , who sadly died some months later.     A unique and special night....

 

Polydor Managing Director David Munns during my tenure of the late 1980's .....after a period at the helm of EMI , he has more recently been manager of Bon Jovi.

 

Robin may be well known for his links with Tony Blair , but he was pragmatic when it came to politics and due to the number of causes and charities he gave his time to he had friends across the political spectrum as illustrated
when lending support to Ken Livingstone's Mayoral campaign and then at the theatre for a performance of 'Yes Prime Minister' with John Whittingdale MP(Chairman of the Media,Culture and Sport Select Committee) and Vanessa Brady (President of The Society of British Interior Design) .

 

REM headlining in Trafalgar Square in honour of Nelson Mandela in 2001 in the shadow of South Africa House which was poignant considering I'd attended a rally there organised by the Anti-Apartheid Movement  back in 1985 , while Mandela was still incarcerated on Robben Island.
A special night in Dusseldorf with the late Larry Hagman and Jamie Oliver.
Gary Farrow is one of the all time legends of record promotion.   He invited us to assist (The Corporation) at the opening of the AEG owned O2 Arena in the summer of 2007 .   Among early shows from Justin Timberlake,Barbra Streisand and Elton John were the landmark 21 Nights of Prince . Within a year the former 'white elephant' that was the Millennium Dome, became , under the stewardship of David Campbell , the most successful venue in the world, eclipsing Madison Square Garden in New York.
Robin's relationship with Bill Wyman and his Rhythm Kings originated from a request from the legendary Stones bassist for Robin to guest at a show they were performing at the Sporting Club in Monaco where others guests included Mary Wilson, Donovan and Eddie Floyd.

 

While in Monaco Robin guested with with Victoria Silvstedt on an ITV documentary about the tax haven.

 

Paul Kinder, leading A&R veteran, who spent successful years at Virgin during my tenure , now at Cooking Vinyl.
The first Band Aid single was released at Christmas in 1984 while I plied my trade in retail , and went on to be one the biggest selling singles ever until Elton John's reworking of 'Candle In The Wind' took the mantle in September 1997 following the death of the Princess of Wales .
In 1988 we re-worked 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' with contemporary hit producers Stock, Aitken and Waterman and a host of pop stars of that period including Bros, Wet Wet Wet,Kylie Minogue and the legend that is Cliff Richard and duly became Christmas No1 four years after the first single.  This was not to be the last time the song would be given a makeover and I'd be surprised if it doesn't happen for the 30th anniversary too.
Jon Webster masterminded the hugely successful 'Now That's What I Call Music' inception back in 1983 and it still leads the way in the Compilations market today. During the 90's the expert duo of Steve Pritchard and Peter Duckworth launched numerous titles that ran to many volumes including the 'Best Ever' collections too.

Television and radio legend Bob Harris receives a special award from his friend Robin Gibb at Abbey Road Studios in St John's Wood.

The annual decampment to Ibiza became a fixture each August for Radio 1 , with Pete Tong leading the procession of DJ's broadcasting their shows from the 'white isle' and I enjoyed many a weekend there.    One such occasion saw Jamie Cullum play from Cafe Del Mar as the sun set and while filming a documentary for the BBC in 2001 , Boy George took to the decks, a trip made all the more entertaining with the presence of the legendary Philip Sallon.
Charitable as ever Robin recorded a special edition of the hugely popular TV quiz 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?' , hosted by Chris Tarrant , joined by his good friend, broadcaster Mike Read,  where they faced Sir Terry Wogan and Chris Evans.   All proceeds to their designated charities.

 

Jon Webster was the Virgin supremo on my arrival at Kensal House (the stunning building on Harrow Rd, home to Virgin in those days) . He once said to me that if he saw pluggers in the office they were not doing their job which in those pre internet days was probably pretty spot on!    On leaving Virgin he has held several key industry roles including those at the BPI and now at The Music Managers Forum.

 

14th February 2012 London Palladium .... Last ever performance by Robin Gibb.

There are always significant people in your career journey and I've mentioned a few here, but few have been as ever present and staunchly loyal and supportive at Alexis Grower. With a reputation second to none and more hit acts signed than he cares to remember, I think one thing stands out as being the measure of the man ...f your contented clients over many years count John Lydon and Motörhead's Lemmy Kilminster among their number you are in pretty safe hands.   With his team at Magrath LLP I look forward to working together closely over the launch and beyond of West One Pacific.

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