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Pet Shop Boys pay tribute to former manager Tom Watkins

By | Published on Wednesday 11 March 2020

Pet Shop Boys

The Pet Shop Boys have paid tribute to their former artist manager Tom Watkins who died last month. Neil Tennant posted his tribute on social media as Watkins’ funeral took place yesterday, the pop industry veteran having died on 24 Feb.

Watkins managed the Pet Shop Boys as they rose to fame in the mid-1980s through his Massive Management company. He later enjoyed further management success leading the careers of pop acts like Bros and East 17.

Alongside management, Watkins also ran a successful graphic design business that created artwork for numerous artists in the 1980s, including Wham, Duran Duran, Kim Wilde and Frankie Goes To Hollywood. He was also a songwriter and producer, among other things co-writing all the tracks on the first Bros album ‘Push’, including hits like ‘When Will I Be Famous’ and ‘I Owe You Nothing’.

Tennant wrote yesterday: “I first met Tom in 1975 and then a decade later he became our manager. He was a genuine larger-than-life personality – his company was called Massive Management – and we learned a lot together about the music business and had many good times”.

Noting that Watkins had a sometimes fractious relationship with some of his management clients, Tennant goes on “after Tom ceased to be our manager, I remained his friend for several years but for various reasons long-term friendship with Tom wasn’t possible”.

“However”, Tennant said, he and fellow Pet Shop Boy Chris Lowe “will always be grateful for his efforts on our behalf in the early days of our career and we have many memories of fun times with him back then. Today we sent flowers to his funeral with the message ‘thanks for five Massive years'”.

A cause of death has not been confirmed, though Watkins had suffered with ill-health in the latter years of his life, requiring a liver transplant and later suffering a stroke. He is survived by his partner Marc.