I MET Tim initially when I was reporting on the seventh Gibraltar International Song Festival, of which he has been the chairman of the judging panel for three terms, and under the Festival rules he must now retire.
What I hadn’t expected was to meet a man who has spent almost his entire working life involved with rock and pop music, and at 71 he has collected a whole range of fascinating stories, some of which I can recount and some of which he is saving for his book, assuming that he ever finds time in his busy schedule to write it.
Like many well-bred middle-class boys of the time, his father wanted him to do something in the city. When he left school he tried that for a little while, but found it just wasn’t for him, and one day he literally went off to work and walked straight past the office looking for something that suited him better.
At the age of 20, he found a position working as an assistant to Sidney Grace, who was a director of the Grade organisation which had fingers in many entertainment pies. Through Sidney’s son Bob (himself a music publisher who signed both David Bowie and Bob Marley) he went to work as PA to the CEO of Starlight Artists, who managed Brian Poole and Marmalade, as well as booking tours for various bands.
Next he became a promotions man, obtaining radio and TV spots for clients, until he was invited in 1967 to join the newly created United Artists Records (which had emerged from Liberty Records) as a promotions manager. Starting small, the label expanded and ended up with more than 40 staff.
He personally worked with both Canned Heat and Creedence Clearwater Revival, as well as Bobby Goldsbro who gave him a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow for his work in promoting the single ‘Honey.’
This was a time when the music world was fascinating, and even though the saying goes that ‘if you can remember it you weren’t there,’ there is no question that Tim was there, and when he me told about his work with Eric Burden and War, and the fact that Jimi Hendrix went on stage at Ronnie Scott’s to jam with the War the night before his sad death, there is no doubt in my mind that this is absolutely true.
Come 1970, he opened his own promotion company Knightwork, representing United Artists and A & M and some of the absolute top bands at that time. He then moved on to manage individual groups and work with Warner in A&R, and toured with many of these bands, including Foreigner and the Doobie Brothers.
He next managed a band called Moon, who were full of promise, but unfortunately they believed that they were better and more important than they were, so he started a publishing company called Blank and White, which signed some well known names including Pete Brown, who was one of the main early songwriters associated with Cream.
Come the mid-80’s he felt burned out, so he sold everything and moved to that quiet island of Ibiza, where he started booking acts for up-and-coming club Amnesia.
From there he moved to Tuscany with a new partner, and opened an antique shop in Florence. As his mother became older and less able to look after herself, he returned to the UK to be with her for five years before her death.
He then decided that it was time to find a new home and moved to the Costa del Sol in 2001, where he realised that he missed music, and began promoting concerts in Marbella, booking such acts as Blondie, Van Morrison and Joe Cocker.
He doesn’t slow down, as he is assisting a number of up-and-coming artists who live on the Costa, still booking bands for various concerts and has become involved as a trustee of the Great Transamerica Trek, which will be filmed as a reality show, as six European horses and their riders take part in an incredible journey.
This is a man who has been friends with some of the greatest musicians in the world, and has seen some of his friends such as Phil Lynott and Jimi Hendrix die far too early.
With his long-white ponytail, tinted shades and raft of stories, Tim embodies so much that has been great about the world of music over the past 50 years, and he has lived to tell the tales!