Arguably one of the most successful and respected artist managers in the world, Roger Davies' career trajectory almost reads like a rock n' roll fairytale. He has also managed many of the most successful female pop/rock performers in the world - Olivia Newton-John, Tina Turner, Cher, Janet Jackson, Sade and most recently P!nk.
Davies was born in Melbourne Australia in 1952, and began his music career working in the late 1960's at the Consolidated Rock agency. He worked as a roadie and then manager with cult Australian band Company Caine, and between gigs took work in the agency.
In 1972 Davies saw potential in another Australian pop/rock band, Sherbet. He took over Sherbet's management, and helped them become a national sensation. For much of the 1970s Sherbet was a pop powerhouse, becoming the first local act to sell a million dollars worth of records in Australia. They had their own label and promoted their own tours.
This early success provided Davies with the all-important experience that would eventually take him to the top in his chosen field.
By the time Sherbet split in 1981, Davies had already moved to Los Angeles in the United States. One of his first clients in the USA was former Steve & The Board front man Steve Kipner, who wrote the song Physical.
Davies was very instrumental in passing the song Physical to Olivia Newton-John, and ended up taking over her management. With Physical Olivia suddenly had a monster smash hit on her hands. The song sat at the top of the USA charts for almost three months. Davies played an important part in the massive success Olivia enjoyed in the early 1980s, including her multi-million-selling albums Physical and Soul Kiss.
In 1979 Davies became the manager of singer Tina Turner (aka Anna Mae Bullock). Tina's career was at a low after she separated from her husband Ike, and she was broke and without a record contract. Davies guided Tina's incredible comeback, and over a four-year period rebuilt Turner's career, and helped her to launch her solo career.
Ike Turner had became addicted to drugs and began abusing his wife. Tina had done it tough, and thus finally in 1976 after years of conflict, Tina had ended her disastrous marriage. However she left the partnership with nothing and over the next few years struggled to survive as a solo artist. By 1979 she was without a record contract for the first time in her career. She was supporting herself by gigging on the hotel and club circuit but although her talent was undimished, she realised that she needed new songs, new management and a new image if she was going to reach a wider audience and make it as a solo performer.
The conventional account is that Davies had long been a big fan, although he had never seen her in concert (the Turner Revue toured Australia only once, in 1974). In 1979 Davies supposedly went to see Tina live for the first time at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco and it was a turning point for both of them.
Roger met Tina after the show and saw that she was still hungry for success. "She he said 'I want to get out of here and play rock venues.'" He obviously impressed Tina as much as she impressed him and he agreed to become her new manager. He set to work finding her a new contract, but the next couple of years proved to be a testing time. To support herself, Tina worked on the club circuit, while Davies called in every favor owed to him to put together a comeback.
Big success was to come however, and with What's Love Got To Do With It, Tina scored her first US #1 hit in 25 years. The success of the 1984 album Private Dancer was one of the biggest successes of the 1980s, and Tina Turner was a bigger star than ever. Private Dancer earned Tina three Grammy awards in 1985, and established her as a bona fide rock icon. She also appeared in the Australian film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
The music industry noticed Davies' fingerprints on all of this, and he became argueably one of the hottest music artist managers in the world.
And of course Turner's status lives on. In the year 2000 Turner's Twenty Four Seven Tour was also the highest grossing US tour of the year.
Davies notoriety in the music business has led to him becoming probably the only Australian rock manager ever to be portrayed in American TV and film. In 1993 biography of Tina Turner by Kurt Loder, What's Love Got To Do With It, was made into a hit film with Angela Bassett as Tina and Australian singer-actor James Reyne from Australian Crawl portraying Davies.
Davies was also instrumental in the meteoric rise to fame of Janet Jackson in 1990, and her chart and touring dominance throughout that decade. He oversaw the recording of Rhythm Nation and Janet's subsequent worldwide tour, which was the biggest debut tour ever by an artist.
Perhaps even more so than Tina, another pop icon Cher is the archetypal "comeback kid" and she has the unique distinction of being the only female performer to have #1 hits in four successive decades. Evidently in the late 90s, Davies began working with Cher , around the time of her massive international smash hit Believe (Lover After Love) in 1999. He oversaw her hugely successful 1999 world tour, and her record-breaking The Farewell Tour in 2003 which made Cher the highest-grossing female touring artist in the world that year, taking a massive US$145 million.
The past few years, Davies has been working very succesfully working with American singer-songwriter Pink or P!nk. He joined forces with P!nk (or Alecia Beth Moore) on her second album, 2001's M!ssundaztood. P!nk had enlisted the help of singer-songwriter Linda Perry from 4 Non Blondes fame for her far more personalised second album. Davies also worked with Pink as they sought to take her sound in a new direction.
Davies was impressed enough with Pink's presence in her first video to review her debut album. When he later heard some of the early songs Pink wrote with Perry, however, he was intrigued
Davies recalls: "She not only sang along to the tracks, but she acted them out." "She said, 'This song is going to be the first single, and this is how the video should be.' By then I knew I wanted to manage her. I told her that she was taking a huge risk by changing her sound, but she knew that. She was just fearless."
P!nk's determination paid off in spades - her second album proved a tremendous hit with worldwide sales of over 16 million, winning over critics and fans alike, and earned Pink two Grammy nominations. The single Get This Party Started became the party anthem of the year and a Top Five US hit. Pink's 2003 third album Try This album sold also over 3 million copies worldwide, and earned Pink her second Grammy Award for her song [Trouble].
Her fourth album, 2006's I'm Not Dead, sold over 16 million copies worldwide, and its tour of the same name smashed attendance records in Australia and Europe for a solo female artist. On her headlining tour of Australia in 2007 Pink's I'm Not Dead Tour smashed all records for an Arena tour, and by mid-2007 her I'm Not Dead Album had sold over 500,000 copies in Australia.
Davies also previously managed the careers of Tony Joe White and Australian entertainer James Reyne for many years. He has also been Manager for Australian songstress Natalie Imbruglia and Canadian-born singer Dalbello (aka Lisa Dal Bello).
In 2004 Davies was awarded the Lifetime Membership Award at the 2004 MMF Music Managers Awards by the MMF [Music Managers Forum (Aust)].
Davies was recently honoured by the Australian music industry. Famed within the music industry for his incredible career, he was awarded one of Australian music's highest accolades - the Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Music. The award was presented at the Australasian Performing Right Association or APRA awards ceremony in Sydney Australia on Monday, June 16.
CEO of APRA | AMCOS, Brett Cottle, also said:
"Roger Davies' gift to the artists he represents is his incomparable drive, passion and determined belief in their talent. That's an unbeatable combination that has brought great artists to the public's attention. It's a pleasure to recognize his contribution to the cause of music creators."
In receiving the APRA award Davies said:
"I am very honoured to receive this prestigious award and to be recognised before my peers by the APRA Board of Writer and Publisher Directors."
P!nk pre-recorded a message of congratulations to Davies for the ceremony, in which she said:
"I wouldn't be where I was without you - your reputation is impeccable, the respect that you've garnered over the years is amazing and well deserved."
Roger Davies and his company, Roger Davies Worldwide Management / RD Worldwide Management / RDWM, currently manages artists such as P!nk, Cher, Sade, and Joe Cocker. He also often works in management partnership with Craig Logan.
Some music record / CD / DVD credits include (incomplete and draft list only):
Pink Who Knew, Pt. 2 (Maxi Single) - 2007 - Management
P!nk Box - (3 x CD Album set with Try This DVD) - Executive Producer
Pink: Live from Wembley Arena - London, England (DVD) - 2007 - Executive Producer
I'm Not Dead (Platinum) (CD Album) - 2006 - Executive Producer
Live in Europe (DVD) - 2004 - Executive Producer
Trouble (Australia) Executive - Producer
Trouble (UK Single) Executive - Producer
Try This (Bonus Tracks) - Executive Producer
Try This (CD Album) - Executive Producer
Last to Know (Holland CD) - Management
Last to Know (2 Track Single - Club Edit) - Management
Classic Cocker (CD Album) - Producer
Gold Executive - Producer
Heroes & Friends Executive - Producer
Heroes & Friends - Management
Heart & Soul (US Bonus Track) - Executive Producer
Heart & Soul - Executive Producer
Live: Across from Midnight Tour - Executive Producer
Ultimate Collection - Executive Producer
Ultimate Collection - Producer
Ultimate Collection 1968-2003 - Executive Producer
Ultimate Collection 1968-2003 - Producer
Greatest Love Songs - Producer
Super Hits - Producer
Joe Cocker (Mushroom) - Producer
Greatest Hits (EMI) - Management / Producer
Across from Midnight - Executive Producer
Have a Little Faith - Producer
Joe Cocker - Best of
Joe Cocker (Capitol) - Producer
Best of Joe Cocker (Capitol Import) - Executive Producer
Live in Hawaii (CD Album) - Executive Producer
Live in Hawaii - Executive Producer
Janet Jackson: Janet - Live in Hawaii (DVD) - 2002 - Executive Producer
Velvet Rope Tour/Live In Hawaii - Executive Producer
Just a Little While (2 Tracks) - Management
Cher Live: The Farewell Tour Executive - Producer
Very Best of Cher (Special Edition) - Executive Producer
When the Money's Gone (CD/12" Single) Management
2000 - Best of Tina Turner: Celebrate! (DVD) - Executive Producer
Greatest Hits (Cema) - Executive Producer
Greatest Hits (Cema) - Producer
What's Love Got to Do with It - Executive Producer
What's Love Got to Do with It - Producer
All the Best: The Hits - Executive Producer
All the Best: The Hits - Management
Live in Amsterdam/One Last Time - Executive Producer
All the Best: The Hits - Producer
All the Best: The Live Collection (DVD) - Executive Producer
All the Best: The Live Collection (DVD) - Management
All the Best - Executive Producer
All the Best - Producer
Simply the Best (CD & DVD) - Arranger / Executive Producer
Celebrate: The Best of Tina Turner (Video/DVD) - Executive Producer
Twenty Four Seven Executive - Producer
Wildest Dreams (Bonus CD) - Executive Producer
Live in Amsterdam: Wildest Dreams Tour - Executive Producer
Wildest Dreams - Management
Collected Recordings - Sixties to Nineties - Producer
Foreign Affair - Arranger
Foreign Affair - Producer
What's Love Got to Do with It (Bonus Tracks) - Executive Producer
Break Every Rule - Director
Wildest Dreams - Executive Producer
Tony Joe White - One Hot July - Producer
Sherbet - Slipstream - Direction
Sherbet - On with the Show Coordination Sherbet Slipstream - Management
Tony Joe White - Lake Placid Blues - Management
Tony Joe White - Lake Placid Blues - Producer
Mick Jagger - Primitive Cool Creative - Consultant
Sade - Remix Deluxe - Management
Tony Joe White - Best of Tony Joe White - Management
John Travolta - Two of a Kind - Production Coordination
Sherbet - Collection Cover - Design
Hobo Hobo - Vocals
Various Artists - 101 80's - Hits Producer
Various Artists - I Luv Mum: For the Best Mum in the World Ever (2007) - Producer
Various Artists - Let's Hear It for the Girls - Producer
Various Artists - I Luv Mum: For the Best Mum in the World Ever - Producer
Various Artists - Housework Songs - Producer
Various Artists - Best of 1990-2000 - Producer
Various Artists - Brilliant! The Global Dance Music Experience, Vol. 2 - Producer
Various Artists - Diana, Princess of Wales: Tribute - Executive Producer
Movie Soundtrack - Blown Away - Producer
Various Artists - Luv Collection: Movie Luv - Producer
Various Artists - Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin - Producer
Various Artists - Greatest Voices - Executive Producer
Some references and articles