Friday Fun: Craziest Rock Managers

artist: Misc date: 11/16/2012 category: wtf?
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Friday Fun: Craziest Rock Managers
Behind every great band is a manager worth fearing. They're the ones who run the business while the band lives out their lavish lifestyles - but when you're often dealing with shady venue owners and crooked label bosses, you have to knock a few heads to make progress.

These managers were successful and had a reputation that preceded them. But often, the same talents that made their name made them deeply flawed. Here's a roundup of five rock managers who you wouldn't want to upset.

Don Arden (Black Sabbath, Small Faces)

Arden's life was like the Sopranos going into the music business he got the job done, but he wasn't afraid to make a few threats to do it. In one famous example, a member of the Nashville Teens (whom Don managed in the 1960s) dared to ask for money he was owed. Arden duly threatened to throw him out a window. Along similar lines, when he heard the Bee Gees' manager talk about poaching the Small Faces, he and some friends hung him over a balcony until he "reconsidered". His uncompromising spirit lives on in his daughter Sharon Osbourne.

Sharon Osbourne (Ozzy Osbourne, Motorhead)

She's been a celebrity in her own right ever since The Osbournes started broadcasting their profanity-fuelled private life on TV, but she's got every bit of her father Don Arden's steely management style. When Iron Maiden allegedly "disrespected" her on the 2005 Ozzfest tour, she had the power to their set cut several times. In an open letter after a press furore, she wrote: "I know you would love to keep talking about this, because this is the most press that Iron Maiden has had in the U.S. in 20 years, but let's move on, shall we?" She signed the letter from "The 'Real' Iron Maiden."

Peter Grant (Led Zeppelin)

This six-foot, 300-pound manager was also influenced by the Don Arden legacy. Grant was rumored to use force concert promoters to give him 90% of all takings, though he's now credited with improving rates for touring musicians. He hated bootleg recordings, and would look out for recording equipment in the crowd at shows to be destroyed. On one occasion he personally threw water over some equipment, and was known to smash up record stores that stocked Zeppelin bootlegs.

Malcolm McLaren (Sex Pistols)

Few men have had such an impact on music culture, but for a punk manager he was ironically capitalist. His real skill was having an eye for branding, and pushed the Sex Pistols into the mainstream at precisely the right time of anti-establishment sentiment. In one stunt, he took the band on a boat trip down London's River Thames where they parked outside the government's Houses Of Parliament for a gig. The ensuing police raid only added to its legacy.

Albert Grossman (Bob Dylan)

Much like Peter Grant, Grossman was a 6-foot beast and found it easy to intimidate business partners into making deals that oddly weighed in his favour. His negotiations were so aggressive that Elektra Records boss Bob Krasnow later remarked: What you see today in the music business is the result of Albert. He changed the whole idea of what a negotiation was all about. Bob Dylan started to recognise his greed, and fired him in 1971. Grossman was still chasing Dylan royalties all the way to 1987 when he died. He was kind of like a Colonel Parker figure," Dylan said in the documentary "No Direction Home". "You could smell him coming.

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