Band manager, producer and impresario Robert Stigwood has died at the age of 81.
The Australian looked after the affairs of Cream in the 1960s and continued to work with Eric Clapton after the band split.
Along with Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, the Bee Gees and several other acts, Stigwood found success as producer of musicals including Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar, and movies such as Saturday Night Fever, Grease and The Who’s Tommy.
He’d started out as a co-owner of Robert Stigwood Associates, a theatrical agency that led to his career as the UK’s first independent record producer, alongside colleague Joe Meek.
He’s remembered as the victim of a notorious incident in 1966, when competitor Don Arden threatened him with violence for discussing a potential management switch with the Small Faces. In some versions of the story Arden vowed to throw Stigwood out of his own office window – in others Arden is said to have hung him out of the window by his feet.
He went on to forge a partnership with Beatles manager Brian Epstein in 1967 and worked closely with Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun. Later, his Robert Stigwood Organisation transformed from a “rock management concern” to a “multimedia entertainment empire.”
Spencer Gibb, son of the Bee Gees’ Robin, confirmed Stigwood’s death last night, saying: “A creative genius with a very quick and dry wit, Robert was the driving force behind the Bee Gees career, as well as having discovered Cream, and subsequently managing Eric Clapton.
“RSO Records pretty much defined the late 70s. I would like to thank Robert for his kindness to me over the years, as well as his mentorship to my family.”