Some Famous (and Infamous) Artist Managers

Here's a short companion piece to Steve Parton's "The Ins & Outs of Artist Management" feature from the Sept./Oct. 2019 issue of Canadian Musician. Get your copy at:

Brian Epstein
Brian Epstein was a record store owner who first saw The Beatles at The Cavern Club. He became their manager in 1962. Thankfully for all of us, he was not deterred when Decca Records rejected The Beatles with that famous comment: "Guitar groups are on the way out, Mr. Epstein."

Tom Parker
"Colonel" Tom Parker was the kingmaker, and is credited for making Elvis the beloved legend of early rock; however, he made many poor management decisions and reportedly took far more than a normal manager's share of the star's income.

Andrew Oldham
The Rolling Stones' manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, was 19 when he took on the band. He encouraged their bad boy image, in contrast to those four nice lads from Liverpool. Ultimately, the plan worked.

Peter Grant
Peter Grant's imposing physique and persuasive personality ensured nobody cheated his band, Led Zeppelin. He saw that Page, Plant, Jones, and Bonham were paid on time and retained artistic control. Grant refused to let Led Zeppelin appear on TV, citing the lack of quality in broadcast television. This cleverly forced people to buy tickets to their shows.

Bruce Allen
Vancouver’s Bruce Allen was responsible for bringing us Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Bryan Adams, Michael Bublé, and other Canadian icons. He's also well-known for overseeing the Northern Lights project, which recorded the song "Tears Are Not Enough" in support of Ethiopian famine relief.

Bernie Breen
Toronto powerhouse manager Bernie Breen’s current roster includes The Tragically Hip, Matthew Good, Headstones, actor/musician Hugh Dillon, and producer/Blue Rodeo member Colin Cripps. Bernie is a Canadian Screen Award and JUNO Award winner.

Sharon Osbourne
Sometimes you can just marry the artist you’re representing: Sharon Osbourne and her husband Ozzy were the industry’s most famous artist/manager power couple. Sharon’s father was Black Sabbath’s original manager in 1976, when Ozzy was the singer.

René Angélil
Another example of an artist being managed by a spouse is that of Celine Dion and René Angélil. René actually discovered Céline when she was 12. He knew she'd be a star, and he guided her to dominate the pop world. They married much later and he remained her manager until his passing in January 2016.

Lou Pearlman
Known more as a conman and fraudster, Lou Pearlman was the Backstreet Boys' manager. He created the group by conducting a massive talent search, then went on to do the same with N'SYNC and other pop groups. Eventually, he was convicted of fraud.

Troy Carter
Troy Carter started managing Lady Gaga after she was dropped from Def Jam Records. He brought her out of the club scene and helped her become the star of stage and screen that she is today.

Steve Parton is a manager with Hammer Artist Management. His roster is full.

Author image
Andrew King is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician. He is also a co-host of Canadian Musician Radio and NWC Webinars’ series of free music and entertainment industry webinars.
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