Music, theater and film producer Robert Stigwood passed away yesterday at the age of 81. A cause of death has not been released at this time.
A native of Australia, Stigwood is best known for his long standing association with The Bee Gees. Stigwood was also instrumental in the formation of Cream, the supergroup consisting of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. Clapton had been with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers while Bruce and Baker were with the Graham Bond Organisation. Both bands had also been managed by Stigwood.
After cutting his teeth as a business manager in collaboration with the eccentric record producer Joe Meek and singer John Leyton, Stigwood would become the booking agent for The Who before making the big time with Cream and The Bee Gees. He even briefly managed The Beatles when Brian Epstein’s company merged with the Robert Stigwood Organisation although The Beatles would leave Stigwood to form Apple after Epstein’s sudden death.
Stigwood would expand his repertoire to Broadway and film as he brought both Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar to the London stage. In the latter play, Stigwood would help Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber become internationally famous. Jesus Christ Superstar would become the first in a string of hit films that Stigwood would produce or co-produce in the ’70’s followed by Tommy (which reunited him with The Who), Saturday Night Fever (which made The Bee Gees the most popular pop group in the world) and Grease. Stigwood would also form RSO Records.
Eventually, Stigwood would hit a dry run with the disastrous film adaptation of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and mediocre sequels to both Saturday Night Fever and Grease. However, Stigwood would triumph in the late ’90’s with the film adaptation of Evita starrring Madonna which was based on the life of Eva Peron. Stigwood had brought Evita to the London stage during the late ’70’s.
Here is a short video of Stigwood sitting in on a meeting with The Bee Gees during a tour meeting at the height of their success in 1979.
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