The Bee Gees manager Robert Stigwood was announced dead on Monday night. Spencer Gibb, Robin Gibb’s son and Stigwood’s godson, let the world know through Facebook, reports People.
“I would like to share the sad news with you all, that my godfather, and the longtime manager of my family, Robert Stigwood, has passed away. 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…I would like to thank Robert for his kindness to me over the years as well as his mentorship to my family. ‘Stiggy’, you will be missed.”
Gibb issued the following statement.
“Robert Stigwood was an enigma. A victorian figure cast into the sixties to work with Brian Epstein and The Beatles. He hitch hiked from Adelaide to London with a powerful vision to rule the entertainment world. He was almost aristocratic in nature, the mixture of talent and insight from the moment you met him was omnipresent. He signed us as his group at a moment in time when groups were no longer being signed. The odds against us having success was very high but Robert took an act of faith and against the advice of others, became our manager. He also became a member of our family and all the success we had was because of Robert Stigwood. On behalf of Linda and our family we wish you god speed. Every time the first of May comes around I will think of you and I will miss your phone call. We shared so many wonderful moments. I will never forget you my dear friend.”
Stigwood was best known for managing the Bee Gees and Cream, a rock group that included Clapton on guitar. Born in Australia, he moved to England in 1954, reports Wikipedia.
Former Bee Gees manager and ‘Grease’ producer Robert Stigwood dies, aged 81http://ow.ly/WEJoA pic.twitter.com/GOfRJNtzlz
— NME (@NME) January 5, 2016
He was quite successful in the entertainment industry in the 1960s and 1970s. He acted as a booking agent for The Who in the late 1960s. In 1967, he listened to a demo tape from the Bee Gees based on a recommendation from Brian Epstein, the Beetle’s manager, who gave him the tape. Stigwood ended up signing them to a five-year contract.
Stigwood spoke with Rolling Stone 10 years later about the Bee Gees.
“I loved their composing. I also loved their harmony singing. It was unique, the sound they made; I suppose it was a sound only brothers could make.”
That year, he formed his company, Robert Stigwood Organization (RSO), through which he managed singing and musical groups like David Bowie, Rod Stewart, and Mick Jagger, theater productions such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Pippin, and Hair, and even had his fingers in film productions such as Saturday Night Fever, Grease, and the Who’s Tommy, reports Rolling Stone.
He helped make the soundtracks for both Saturday Night Fever and Grease in the late 1970s as well. Saturday Night Fever was his greatest success, with the film and the soundtrack album made by the Bee Gees winning the 1979 Grammy Album of the Year and becoming the bestselling soundtrack of all time. Rolling Stone included it on their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list.
RSO records also released the soundtracks for Fame and The Empire Strikes Back. He even managed composer Andrew Lloyd Weber, reports People.
John Travolta, who starred in both Grease and Saturday Night Fever, paid tribute to Stigwood while talking to People.
“Robert changed the world and only for the better and he was certainly important to my career. His legacy lives on and he will forever be remembered.”
Rest in peace, Bee Gees manager, Robert Stigwood, dead at 81.
[Image via AP Images]