Don Arden

(1926—2007) rock music manager and promoter

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b. Harry Levy, 4 January 1926, Cheetham Hill, Manchester, England, d. 21 July 2007, Los Angeles, California, USA. After attending the Royal College of Music as a singer, Levy changed his name to Arden in 1944. He worked as a compère/comedian on the music-hall circuit and switched to promotion during the 50s. As well as bringing acts such as Billy Eckstine and Eddie Fisher to Britain, Arden was also heavily involved in rock ‘n’ roll. During 1959, he compered Gene Vincent’s first UK tour and went on to manage the uproarious Virginian. Their rocky association lasted until 1965, when they parted amid much acrimony. By that time, Arden was moving away from rock ‘n’ roll and taking advantage of the beat group scene. After promoting the Rolling Stones during 1963, he became agent for the Animals and claims to have introduced them to producer Mickie Most. Arden lost the band following a fracas with their controversial manager Mike Jeffrey. Undeterred, he wasted no time in signing the Nashville Teens. Several hits followed, but the outfit failed to sustain their original promise. A far more lucrative acquisition for Arden was the Small Faces. He later claimed to have helped their first single ‘Whatcha Gonna Do About It’ into the UK Top 20, along with other singles from his short-lived Contemporary Records roster. Among these was his own recording of ‘Sunrise, Sunset’, which failed to reach the Top 50. After a series of regular hits with the Small Faces, including the chart-topping ‘All Or Nothing’, which Arden produced, the entrepreneur lost the band to his managerial rival Andrew Oldham.


From Encyclopedia of Popular Music in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Music.

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