Tony Edwards, former manager of Deep Purple, died on November 11th at
the London Clinic aged 78.
A lot of you will know that I worked with Tony on projects to access
and release the band's catalogue over many years, right up to just a
couple of days before he died. His passing will leave a large gap in
our lives. Tony had been subject to a number of serious problems over
the last 18 months or so, but even during spells in hospital managed
to keep in touch via his Blackberry and latterly iPad.
I think it was a measure of the man that even when we disagreed over
things, which wasn't that often over some thirty years (and over 100
releases or more), it was still hard to get too angry with him. He was
remarkably generous in allowing me to tackle many of the reissues as
we saw fit, trusting in our judgement. The result has been a back-catalogue which more than did the band's music justice, and which was
often the envy of fans of other groups.
It was without doubt Tony's love of spotting an opportunity which
sparked life into the embryonic contacts between musicians which
evolved into Deep Purple, and which he and business partner John
Coletta (who died in 2006) sunk money into for a couple of years until
the breakthrough album In Rock justified the faith of all concerned.
My own memories of Tony are many; it wasn't being whisked around
London in his old Bentley as a 20 year old that impressed me so much
as his vintage Sherlock Holmes attire of a deerstalker and cape, old
school even then and especially incongruous for a man who was at the
time managing Toyah and Jayne "If You Don't Want To Fuck Me Fuck Off"
County at the height of the punk era.
More interestingly to me Tony still retained a love of Deep Purple's
music, not something many managers can ever be accused of. When we
were working on clearing the BBC broadcasts for the first time, he
rang up at some unearthly hour of the morning excited by hearing the
old broadcasts for the first time, feelings which more than echoes my
own at hearing this material in pristine shape for the first time.
This week we'd been gathering our thoughts for a slew of exciting
projects being developed for 2011 in connection with the anniversary
of Smoke On The Water, in preparation for a meeting when he came out
of hospital for what we understood was to be a short stay for some
restorative surgery and physio work.
Deep Purple and their music have been a part of many of our lives for
years, and while at the end of the day it was the musicians which
created that often superb body of work, it was in large part Tony
Edwards who helped sow the seeds back in the winter 0f '67. Thank you.
Photo: Tony Edwards on the far left with members of the band (and his
business partner John Coletta far right) aboard the Starship in 1974.
Some 1968-76 Deep Purple members have written their thoughts about Tony Edwards :
Glenn Hughes on Twitter:
"So very sad that my dear friend and Manager of Deep Purple, Tony Edwards has passed away, we have lost one of the Good Guys...GH"
Jon Lord on jonlord.org:
"Tony Edwards was a good man and a man also of deep-seated enthusiasms. He had a passion for, and a great interest in, Deep Purple and its various member’s careers, as well as a genuine enjoyment of the band’s music. He was the reason that Richie and I were able to get together at the end of 1967 and the sole reason too for our being able to form the band that changed our lives.."
Ritchie Blackmore on Facebook:
"WITHOUT TONY EDWARDS THERE WOULD BE NO DEEP PURPLE. With deepest respect - and with great sorrow - we honor Tony Edwards - who passed on Nov11,2010. Tony was the man behind the scenes for Deep Purple. He was instrumental to the existence and sustenance of the band and its music from its inception to present day. Tony's insight and intuitiveness were unparalleled in the music business. He will be thought of often - and missed greatly."
David Coverdale on whitesnake.com:
"With respect my thoughts & prayers are with Tony´s family & friends... When I heard he was very ill earlier this year I opened dialogue with him via email, as he couldn´t speak comfortably, for the first time in many, many years, & it was a mutual treat for both of us... So much water under the bridge, but, I can say it was a heartful reconnect... There were 3 management figures involved at the very beginning when it was HEC Enterprises... I never met the ´H´ & only worked with Tony Edwards & John Coletta... the E & C... of course, my relationship continued with Mr Coletta into the early, formative years of Whitesnake, as I was led to believe at that time, incorrectly as we discovered later, that it was a contractual necessity... who knows how things would have turned out had TE been directly involved... Once again, it was wonderful to re-meet after so long & very sad it was so short-lived..."
Roger Glover on rogerglover.com:
"Tony was the driving force of Deep Purple's management in the early days. My first impressions of him when I joined the band in July 1969 – a man of ideas, an intellect, a man of taste, a man of action. I remember him rubbing his hands together with enthusiasm and saying, "Now what can we achieve today?" He was the kind of man who could think of something and then turn it into reality with his drive and passion. It was his instinct to book the Albert Hall in order to stage Jon's Concerto, an event that was to propel the band in more ways than one into the future. He also dreamed up the cover image of In Rock, the album that changed everything for us..
I am always grateful for his powerful contribution at the start of our long journey.
My condolences go to his family."