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Snow Patrol's tribute as mentor dies

By Claire McNeilly

Published 17/08/2015

andy summer with yazz
andy summer with yazz

Snow Patrol's former manager who helped to bring them to international stardom has died aged 71.

Jazz Summers - who also managed Wham! and The Verve - had been battling lung cancer for the last two years.

He co-founded Big Life Management 29 years ago and helped shape the careers of many of Britain's most successful artists.

Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody led tributes to the band's former manager on social media.

"So sad that Jazz Summers has passed away," Lightbody posted on his Twitter account. "He believed in Snow Patrol when few did & was a huge reason for our success. Thank you, Jazz."

Fellow band member Jonny McDaid, who is engaged to Hollywood actress Courteney Cox, wrote: "My heart goes out to all the friends and family of Jazz Summers today. He was indeed an industry icon and thru him I met my brothers @SnowPatrolBand."

Other talent he managed included Lisa Stansfield, Soul II Soul, Badly Drawn Boy, Klaxons, La Roux, Scissor Sisters, The Futureheads, London Grammar and Yazz, his ex-wife.

His company said his artists sold more than 60 million albums and 72 million singles worldwide.

There were more than 100 Top 40 singles over the years.

A spokesman for Big Life Management paid a special tribute to Summers.

"The music industry has lost one of its most vibrant, most notorious and most brilliant characters," he said. "A champion of new music, a non-conformist and a visionary, Jazz Summers will be greatly missed.

"His ability to hear a song and recognise its power and potential brought him huge success across several decades."

Boy George, who used to be managed by Summers, tweeted that he was "heartbroken" and added: "He was a formidable force of nature! A fighter till the end."

British band The Futureheads tweeted: "Jazz Summers meant the world to the four of us.

"He had a huge heart and was full of vital energy to always make things happen. RIP Jazz."

Summers, along with Simon Napier-Bell, helped Wham! crack America and become the first Western pop group to tour China.

Wham! went on to become one of the biggest pop sensations of the 1980s. On the band's break-up, George Michael went solo and became a massive star for the next three decades.

A former colleague of the pop mastermind said: "Jazz Summers. Big Life - Big Loss. Great manager, great partner, great friend. Bye bye Jazz. Gonna miss you."

Summers was born on March 15, 1944, and enrolled in military school aged 12 before joining the army at the age of 15. He served as a radiographer and spent time in Hong Kong and Malaysia.

He was an active campaigner for artists' rights and, as chairman of the Music Managers' Forum, he was vocal on issues including the extension of copyright.

He was married to British singer Yazz, who is best known for her successful 1988 debut single The Only Way Is Up, which stayed at the top of the UK singles chart for five weeks and became the second biggest selling UK single of the year. It is still played on radio and nostalgia music programmes as typical of the era. The couple had a daughter, Rio, in 1990.

When their marriage failed, the 55-year-old singer and former catwalk model found religion and she is now a member of the Calahonda Baptist Church in Spain.

Summers is survived by his wife Dianna, daughters Katie, Rio and Georgia.

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