Elliot Roberts, who managed the careers of Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Tom Petty and many classic-rock legends, died Friday June 21 2019 at the age of 76.
With his former colleague David Geffen, Roberts was one of the pivotal figures in the rise of the Southern California and Laurel Canyon music scenes of the Sixties and Seventies. Roberts landed record deals for Young and Mitchell, co-managed Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
The tenacious manager negotiated Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s massive 1974 stadium tour and, later that decade, reorganized the deal between Petty and the Heartbreakers, giving Petty 50 percent and the other four musicians the remaining amount.
Born Elliot Rabinowitz on February 25th, 1943, Roberts was raised in the Bronx, ran with gangs and, after flirting with the idea of becoming an athlete given his basketball chops, opted for show business. He wound up in the mail room at the William Morris Agency, where he would meet fellow would-be mover and shaker David Geffen.
Alongside Geffen, he formed the powerful Geffen-Roberts Company. The management firm soon came to represent not just Mitchell (until 1985) but Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, America and many others. When Geffen started Asylum Records, its acts, including the Eagles and Jackson Browne, were also managed by Geffen-Roberts.
Roberts’ working relationship with Young, which began in 1969 and continued through Roberts’ death, was one of the most enduring artist-manager relationships in rock history.
He is survived by his sons Jason, Ethan, Matthew and Zackary, and by his partner, Dana Fineman.more » « less