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Bee Gees manager Robert Stigwood dies at 81

Published 05/01/2016

The Bee Gees were managed by Robert Stigwood, who has died aged 81
The Bee Gees were managed by Robert Stigwood, who has died aged 81

Robert Stigwood, manager of bands such as the Bee Gees and Cream, has died aged 81.

Andrew Lloyd Webber led tributes to Stigwood, who also produced films such as Grease and Saturday Night Fever, on Twitter, saying "farewell" and calling him "the great showman who taught me so much".

Spencer Gibb, son of Bee Gees star Robin Gibb and Stigwood's godson, was the first to report his death in a Facebook post.

He wrote: " 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."

He described Stigwood as "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," he said.

He added: " 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."

British lyricist Sir Tim Rice, who wrote hit musicals including Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar, tweeted: "Farewell to the extraordinary innovative generous #RobertStigwood. A vital part of my life (& @OfficialALW's). Thanks for so much, Robert."

Stigwood was born in Adelaide, south Australia, but moved to the United Kingdom in the mid-1950s.

According to Billboard, his first music success was as the manager of John Leyton, an up-and-coming musician and actor, whom he propelled to fame with his associate and music producer, Joe Meek.

Leyton landed a TV role in Harpers West One, which saw him performing the song Johnny Remember Me on the show.

The song was an instant hit and went on to top the British charts.

Stigwood became one of the most formidable forces in the music and entertainment industry, managing bands such as Cream and the famous trio of Maurice, Barry and Robin Gibb, who comprised the Bee Gees.

He told Rolling Stone in a 1977 interview: "I loved their (the Bee Gees') composing. I also loved their harmony singing. It was unique, the sound they made. I suppose it was a sound only brothers could make."

He produced numerous musicals and films, among them Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease and Saturday Night Fever.

He was one of the producers on the Madonna-led 1996 hit Evita, which went on to win the Oscar for best original song.

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