Former CIMA Consultant Releases Music Business Memoir
The youngest Managing Director of UK record company MCA, and former Managing Director of Zomba Records International, Stuart Watson, shares photos and behind-the-scenes stories of 40 years in the international music business in “Every Picture Has Its Story”.
He witnessed Michael Jackson’s first UK performance in The Jackson 5 and was the first person to hear Bohemian Rhapsody when Freddie Mercury played it to him, on piano, in his London apartment. In the 80s, he risked his life when trying to protect an artist’s contract and was introduced to Bob Dylan by friend Tom Petty.
Watson was in Hong Kong when it reverted to the Chinese and in East Berlin when The Wall fell. He hung out with The Eagles in the early 70s before they became a force, entertained Lynyrd Skynyrd on the group’s first UK visit (later dealing with an awkward problem following Ronnie’s tragic death) and accompanied Paul McCartney and Wings on their first tour.
Waton’s stories of Rock & Roll mayhem on tours with Guns n’ Roses and Deep Purple make the mind boggle. He picked up a bill for £5,000 at a London night club after damage caused by an artist he was looking after. From Led Zeppelin to BB King and from The Marquee Club with Yes, to Tokyo’s 50,000 seater Budokan with Bobby Brown (where Whitney Houston threw him out of the dressing room for trying to persuade her husband not to cancel his European tour), Watson has seen it all. “Every Picture Has Its Story” provides you with a rare insider’s view.
Watson’s stories include many Canadian artists. In 1974, he shared dinner with Joni Mitchell where she explained how the label forced her to record “You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio” to get a slot for radio airplay. He chatted with a nice chap in a Stockholm bar, later realizing it was Bryan Adams.
In the mid-90s, a passion for and knowledge of Asia’s emerging markets led Watson to form SWAT, a Singapore based consultancy that represented three of the industry’s biggest artists at the time. In 2006, Watson focused on connecting the Asian and Western markets, including working as a consultant for CIMA on their 2008 Mission to Japan, as well as Canadian Music Week‘s Spotlight on China and Southeast Asia.
“Every Picture Has Its Story” is a roller coaster ride that encompasses extensive global travels and describes a close interaction with many of the world’s top artists.