Roger Davies (manager)

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Roger Davies
Born 1952 (age 64–65)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Occupation Talent manager, record producer
Years active 1972–present
Known for Sherbet, Olivia Newton-John, Tina Turner, Dalbello, Cher, Janet Jackson, Joe Cocker, Sade, Pink.

Roger Davies (born 1952) is a business manager and music producer with a long career in the music industry. His began by working as a roadie in Australia in the early 1970s to managing pop, rock performers including Sherbet (1972–79), Olivia Newton-John (1981–85), Tina Turner, Dalbello, Cher, Janet Jackson, Joe Cocker, Sade and Pink.

Biography[edit]

Roger Davies was born in 1952 and grew up in Melbourne.[1] In 1970 he left university to become a roadie for a progressive rock band, Company Caine.[1] In the following year he relocated to Sydney and worked for a booking agency, Consolidated Rock – set up by Michael Browning and Michael Gudinski.[1][2][3] In October 1972, with a fellow work mate, Michael Chugg, he set up Sunrise booking agency.[1]

Also in 1972 Davies became the talent manager for pop-rock group, Sherbet; he was impressed by the group's attitude: their "willingness to work anywhere, anytime, whatever it took."[4] According to musicologist, Ian McFarlane, "Under the direction of astute manager Roger Davies, the band also pioneered the concept of the national rock tour by undertaking arduous, cross-country treks to play in the far-flung corners of the continent. Sherbet's carefully cultivated image tended to alienate the 'serious' music fan, although the band's ability to deliver well-crafted pop music has never been in doubt."[5]

Sherbet evolved from a soul-based covers band into a teen-oriented pop, rock outfit that relied mostly on original material.[4][5] They had eleven singles peak in the Australian top ten.[6] From 1975 Davies and Sherbet turned their attention to the international market.[4] The single, "Howzat" (1976), was inspired by the sport of cricket, which went to number one in Australia,[6] and New Zealand.[7] It was a Top 10 hit in several European countries[8] – including number four on the UK Singles Chart,[8] It had less chart success in the United States where it reached No. 61 on the Billboard Hot 100.[9][10] Nevertheless, its success led to an extensive international tour from 1976 to 1977.[5]

The group's foray into the US market began in 1977 with their album, Photoplay, retitled, Magazine, which failed to chart there.[5] They signed with RSO Records and changed their name to Highway but still had no US charting with the subsequent album, Highway 1 (1978).[4][5] In mid-1979 the group disbanded and Davies remained in the US;[4][5] the band returned to Australia and reformed as the Sherbs in 1980.[5]

Olivia Newton-John[edit]

In 1978 in the US Roger Davies became the manager for Steve Kipner (ex-Steve and the Board, Tin Tin), a singer-songwriter, who had been in Australia during the 1960s.[1] Davies also worked for Olivia Newton-John's then-manager, Lee Kramer.[1] Kipner had co-written "Physical" for Tina Turner, another of Kramer's clients, who thought it "too obvious" and rejected it.[11] Davies and Kramer heard Kipner's demo and decided they would offer it to Newton-John.[1] She recorded it, but felt the lyrics were "too rude to release."[12] In 1981 Davies took over Newton-John's management following her split with Kramer.[1]

In September 1981 "Physical" was issued and provided Newton-John with an international hit including staying at the top of the US charts for ten weeks.[13][14][15] Davies helped continue her commercial success during the early 1980s, including her studio albums, Physical (October 1981) and Soul Kiss (October 1985), and her North American Physical Tour (1982).

Tina Turner[edit]

In 1980 Roger Davies' employer Lee Kramer became the manager of singer, Tina Turner. Turner had divorced her husband, Ike, in March 1978 and by 1979 was without a record contract. To support herself, Turner had worked on the club circuit, Davies and Kramer saw her perform live at the Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco in February 1980; where "She said 'I want to get out of here and play rock venues'."[1] Turner asked Kramer to be her manager and Davies reluctantly went along with the plan.[11] Davies used his industry contacts to put together a comeback and by 1981 he was Turner's manager.[16]:82 He advised Turner to drop her cabaret ensemble and remodel her show into a grittier rock'n'roll showcase. In that year Davies booked Turner at The Ritz in New York City for a series of gigs.[1][16]:82

Turner's return to popularity began in the United Kingdom with a cover version of The Temptations' "Ball of Confusion" (1982), and was followed by a cover of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" (November 1983), which was a hit in Europe.[11] Her major breakthrough came with "What's Love Got to Do with It" (June 1984), a track written by Terry Britten (ex-The Twilights). Turner had disliked the song and originally turned it down, despite her reservations, it provided her with her first US number-one hit. Her single, "Private Dancer" (October), (penned by Mark Knopfler) was an international hit and the related album Private Dancer became one of the biggest successes of the 1980s, earning Turner three Grammy Awards in 1985, and re-establishing her as one of the world's top rock performers. Turner accepted the role of "Aunty Entity" in the Australian film, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (July 1985).

In 1993 What's Love Got to Do with It, a biopic about Turner by Kurt Loder, was filmed with Angela Bassett in the lead role and Australian singer-actor James Reyne (former lead singer of Australian Crawl) portraying Davies[17] – however it was Kramer who should have been depicted at that point of her career.[1] Davies was satirically portrayed by Alec Baldwin in a sketch on Saturday Night Live when Turner guested on the program.[1]

Dalbello[edit]

Roger Davies became the manager of Canadian singer-songwriter, Dalbello (aka Lisa Dal Bello), after she had released her fourth album, whomanfoursays (1984).[18] For that album she had worked with Mick Ronson (David Bowie) as producer and musician.[18] Davies preferred to work with other UK-based producers as he previously had a negative meeting with Ronson at an interview for production work for Turner.[18] According to Sam Lederman (Ronson's then-manager) "We met with Tina and Roger all day but Mick got tongue-tied, he just couldn't explain what he wanted to do."[19]

Dalbello started to record with Rupert Hine producing,[20] but Davies "vetoed the project and suggested that she look for another producer who might be more commercial."[21] Dalbello provided demo versions of new material, which she had self-produced under an anagramatic pseudonym, Bill da' Salleo.[18] The ruse convinced Davies and the label, A&R, to approve da' Salleo as the producer for an album.[21] Eventually Davies was told that Dalbello herself had produced the album, he "began to question the strength of the album's production and commercial viability."[21] The project was delayed and finally issued as she in 1987.[21]

Pink[edit]

Davies has enjoyed continuing success with American singer-songwriter Pink. He took over her management commencing from her second album, 2001's Missundaztood. Pink was unhappy with her direction and reportedly had little control over her first album, so she enlisted the help of singer-songwriter Linda Perry (4 Non Blondes) for her next and personal second album. Davies had been impressed enough with Pink's presence in her first video to review her debut album (which he reportedly did not like), but when he heard some of the early songs Pink wrote with Perry he was intrigued; "She not only sang the tracks, but she acted them out." "She said, 'This song is going to be the first single, and this is how the video should be.' By then I knew I wanted to manage her. I told her that she was taking a huge risk by changing her sound, but she knew that. She was just fearless."

Davies' and Pink's determination paid off. Her second album proved a tremendous hit, with worldwide sales of over 16 million, winning over critics and fans alike and earning Pink two Grammy nominations, and the single "Get the Party Started" became a Top Five US hit. Pink's 2003 third album Try This sold over 3 million copies worldwide, and earned Pink her second Grammy Award for her song "Trouble".

Her fourth album, 2006's I'm Not Dead, sold over 6 million copies worldwide, and its tour of the same name smashed attendance records in Australia and Europe for a solo female artist.

In 2009, Pink's fifth album "Funhouse" outsold her "I'm Not Dead" album and produced the hit singles "So What" and "Sober". Her "Funhouse" arena tour played to over two million people at 160 sold out dates worldwide, and in 2010, she followed it up with her "Funhouse Summer Carnival Tour", playing 34 European stadium and festival shows in 14 countries in 12 weeks, adding a further one million fans.

Pink has sold over 30 million records

Awards[edit]

2004 Music Managers Awards[edit]

In 2004, Davies was awarded the Lifetime Membership Award at the 2004 MMF Music Managers Awards by the MMF [Music Managers Forum (Australia)].

2008 APRA Awards[edit]

Davies was honoured by the Australian music industry. Famed within the music industry for his incredible career, he was awarded one of their highest accolades – the Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Music. The award was presented at the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) awards ceremony in Sydney Australia on 16 June 2008.[22] CEO of APRA/AMCOS, Brett Cottle, also said:

"Roger Davies' gift to the artists he represents is his incomparable drive, passion and determined belief in their talent. That's an unbeatable combination that has brought great artists to the public's attention. It's a pleasure to recognise his contribution to the cause of music creators."

Pink pre-recorded a message of congratulations to Davies for the ceremony, in which she said:

"I wouldn't be where I was without you – your reputation is impeccable, the respect that you've garnered over the years is amazing and well deserved."

Currently[edit]

With his company, RDWM / RD Worldwide Management / Roger Davies Worldwide Management, Roger Davies currently manages artists such as Tina Turner, Cher, Pink, and Sade.[11]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Kimball, Duncan (2004). "Roger Davies – Artist Manager, 1970s–present". Milesago: Australasian Music and Popular Culture 1964–1975. Ice Productions. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  2. ^ Kimball, Duncan. "Michael Gudinski – Music industry executive, promoter, agent, manager, 1960s–present". Milesago : Australasian Music & Popular Culture 1964–1975. Ice Productions. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  3. ^ Kimball, Duncan (2002). "Michael Browning". Milesago: Australasian Music and Popular Culture 1964–1975. Ice Productions. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Nimmervoll, Ed. "Sherbet". Howlspace. White Room Electronic Publishing Pty Ltd. Archived from the original on 29 September 2001. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Sherbet'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 19 April 2004. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book Ltd. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.  Note: Used for Australian Singles and Albums charting from 1974 until Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) created their own charts in mid-1988. In 1992, Kent back calculated chart positions for 1970–1974.
  7. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Discography Sherbet". New Zealand Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "Sherbet – Artist". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  9. ^ Nimmervoll, Ed. "Sherbet – Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  10. ^ "The Sherbs – Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  11. ^ a b c d Perrone, Pierre (9 July 2000). "How we met: Roger Davies and Tina Turner". The Independent. London. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  12. ^ Kawashima, Dale (2003). "Steve Kipner Writes Big Hits for Christina Aguilera, Olivia Newton-John, 98 Degrees and Chicago". Songwriter Universe. Retrieved 16 October 2015. 
  13. ^ Answers.com – Steve Kipner
  14. ^ Arrington, Carl (15 February 1982). "Olivia Gets 'Physical' – Personal Success, Matt Lattanzi, Olivia Newton-John". People. Retrieved 10 November 2008. 
  15. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 Chat 50th Anniversary – All-Time Top Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 10 November 2008. 
  16. ^ a b Fissinger, Laura (1985). Tina Turner. Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-32642-3. 
  17. ^ McFarlane, 'James Reyne' entry. Archived from the original on 6 August 2004. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  18. ^ a b c d Sharp, Keith (22 May 2014). "The Many Faces of Lisa Dal Bello". MusicExpressCA. Retrieved 16 October 2015. 
  19. ^ Weird, Gilly (2009). Mick Ronson – The Spider with the Platinum Hair. John Blake Publishing. ISBN 978-1-78418-952-5. 
  20. ^ "'Renaissance' rock star puts on his thinking cap". Toronto Star, 5 September 1986.
  21. ^ a b c d "Biography". Lisa Dal Bello Official Website. Archived from the original on 21 October 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2015. 
  22. ^ "2008 Winners – APRA Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 28 April 2010. 

External links[edit]