Roger Davies (manager)

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Roger Davies is an Australian born business manager and music producer with a long career in the music industry. His career has taken him from working as a roadie in Australia in the early 1970s to managing some of the most successful female pop/rock performers in the world including Olivia Newton-John, Tina Turner, Cher, Janet Jackson, Sade and Pink.

Move Overseas[edit]

Davies was based in the United States and England in the 80s and 90s.

Olivia Newton-John[edit]

Kipner wrote "Physical" for Tina Turner but she thought it "too obvious" and turned it down.[1] When Kipner played Davies the demo of "Let's Get Physical" he decided it was perfect for Olivia, and while she recorded it, Olivia panicked afterwards, thinking the song was too suggestive.[2] "Physical" proved to be an international smash hit and it stayed at the top of the USA charts for ten weeks.[3] Davies took over Olivia's management following her split with Lee Kramer, and Davies played a major part in the massive success Olivia enjoyed in the early 1980s, including her multi-million-selling albums Physical and Soul Kiss and her sell-out North American tour.

Tina Turner[edit]

In 1979, Davies became the manager of singer Tina Turner. Tina's career was at a low ebb after she separated from her husband Ike; she was virtually broke and without a record contract. Davies guided Tina's incredible comeback, and over a four-year period rebuilt Turner's career, and helped her to launch her solo career.

By the 1970s, Ike Turner had become heavily addicted to drugs and abused his wife. After years of conflict, Tina had walked out of her disastrous marriage but she left the partnership with nothing and over the next few years struggled to survive as a solo artist. By 1979, she was without a record contract for the first time in her career. She was supporting herself by gigging on the hotel and club circuit but although her talent was undiminished, she realised that she needed new songs, new management and a new image if she was going to reach a wider audience and make it as a solo performer.

In 1979, Davies accompanied Lee Kramer to see Tina live for the first time at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco and it was a turning point for both of them. Roger and Lee met Tina after the show and saw that she was still hungry for success; "She said 'I want to get out of here and play rock venues.'" Tina opted to take on Lee Kramer as her manager. Roger reluctantly went along with the plan[1] and he set to work finding her a new contract, although the next couple of years proved to be a testing time. To support herself, Tina worked on the club circuit, while Davies called in every favour owed to him to put together a comeback.

Tina's comeback began in the UK with a dynamic cover of The Temptations' "Ball of Confusion", recorded with Heaven 17 alter-ego British Electric Foundation (BEF), and this was followed by a cover of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together", which was a hit in Europe.[1] Her major breakthrough came with "What's Love Got to Do with It", a song written for her by Terry Britten (ex The Twilights), although Tina disliked the song and originally turned it down. Despite her reservations, it became a huge success, providing her with her first US No. 1 hit. The single "Private Dancer" (penned by Mark Knopfler) was a major international hit and the 1984 album Private Dancer became one of the biggest successes of the 1980s, earning Tina three Grammy Awards in 1985, and re-establishing her as one of the world's top rock performers. On the day the single hit No. 1 in the USA, Tina was offered the role of "Aunty Entity" in the Australian film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Turner's profile has endured and in 2000 her Twenty Four Seven Tour was also the highest-grossing US tour of the year.

Davies' notoriety in the music business has led to him becoming probably the only Australian rock manager ever to be wrongly portrayed in American TV and film. In 1993, the biography of Tina Turner by Kurt Loder, What's Love Got to Do with It, was made into a hit film with Angela Bassett as Tina and Australian singer-actor James Reyne (former lead singer of Australian Crawl) portraying Davies when actually it was Lee Kramer who should have been credited. He was also satirically portrayed by Alec Baldwin in a Saturday Night Live sketch when Tina guested on the program.

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.[4] 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, Sade, and Joe Cocker.[5]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "How we met: Roger Davies and Tina Turner", The Independent (London), 9 July 2000; interviews by Pierre Perrone (accessed 25 April 2009)
  2. ^ Songwriter Universe – Steve Kipner
  3. ^ Answers.com – Steve Kipner
  4. ^ "2008 Winners – APRA Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 28 April 2010. 
  5. ^ "How we met: Roger Davies & Tina Turner", The Independent, 9 June 2000, accessed 25 April 2009

References / External Links[edit]