East 17, Bros And Pet Shop Boys Manager Tom Watkins Dies, Aged 70

Friends have confirmed that the music manager died in February.

Music manager Tom Watkins has died at the age of 70.

He was best known for overseeing the careers of acts including East 17, Bros and Pet Shop Boys.

Tom Watkins, pictured in 1994
Tom Watkins, pictured in 1994

Tom’s friends told The Guardian that he died on 24 February, with his funeral taking place on Tuesday.

His cause of death has not yet been confirmed. However, he experienced a number of health issues in recent years, including strokes, a liver transplant and diabetes.

Tom was a prolific manager in the music industry during the 1980s and 1990s, and also worked as a songwriter and music producer.

He wrote all the tracks on Bros’ debut album, Push, including hit singles When Will I Be Famous, Drop the Boy and I Owe You Nothing.

Under Tom’s management, Pet Shop Boys released 12 singles achieving four UK number ones with West End Girls, It’s a Sin, Always on My Mind and Heart.

He was also credited with helping East 17 break through in the early 90s, looking after their career until 1997.

Other acts he managed included Electribe 101, Faith Hope & Charity, 2wo Third3, Ice Cream And Giggles, North And South and Deuce.

Tom had a complicated relationship with some of his acts, as in 2017, Matt Goss of Bros said that “there was a compassion that was lacking” in him, also claiming that band’s contract meant they ended up with “less than nothing”.

Tom also once said that the Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe “developed super-egos and tried to make out that I had nothing to do with their success, which is bullshit”.

Prior to his career in music, he worked as a designer for Sir Terence Conran and Rodney Fitch, after attending the London College of Furniture.

He was part of the team that designed Heathrow Terminal Three and the London Stock Exchange.

Tom later founded his own company, XL Design, creating record sleeves for artists including Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Duran Duran and Wham!

In 2016, Tom released his autobiography, Let’s Make Lots of Money: Secrets Of A Rich, Fat, Gay, Lucky Bastard.

Tom is survived by his partner Marc.


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