Mojo (UK)

NIGEL GRAINGE

A&R MAN AND LABEL BOSS

- Ian Harrison

BORN 1947

From the age of three, Nigel Grainge received a 78rpm disc every week from his father Cecil, who owned a record shop on Streatham High Road. A lifelong passion for music duly ignited, he joined the Phonogram imprint’s accounts department in 1970: from 1973, he worked as the company’s US labels manager, overseeing hits and Top Of The Pops appearance­s for Faron Young, Chuck Berry, The Stylistics and The Detroit Emeralds. Moving into A&R in 1975, Grainge would sign hit acts including Thin Lizzy, 10cc and the Steve Miller Band. In 1977, he set up his own Phonogram-funded label Ensign, whose early successes included The Boomtown Rats, Eddy Grant, Beggar & Co and more, while from the mid-’80s he would add Sinéad O’Connor, The Waterboys, World Party, The Blue Aeroplanes, Stump and others to the roster. After selling Ensign in 1986, he founded publishing company Dizzy Heights, and later moved to Los Angeles where he worked as an industry consultant. In 2015 he served as special adviser to Martin Scorsese’s HBO series Vinyl.

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