Tony Edwards

The funeral for Tony Edwards was held at Golder’s Green crematorium on November 18th 2010. Tony was not a religious person and in respect of this the service was conducted by a representative of the Humanist Society. As much of Tony’s life centred around music, appropriately enough the service was interspersed with records which he’d been involved with, mixing Deep Purple tracks with those chosen from some of the many West End musicals he and his partner John Craig recorded for their label First Night. You Keep On Moving was played quietly on a loop as the congregation assembled.
John Craig spoke movingly about their work together over the years, but also with some humour about a few of the many promotional tricks the pair got up to in their days at Safari Records (including on one occasion hiring a trained dog to deliver singles to various radio station receptionists…). Two of Tony’s children also gave a tribute, as well as Anna, who had worked with Tony back in the early days at his parent’s fashion house, Alice Edwards. Jon Lord came along to pay his respects and represented the group (many of whom have posted their own tributes online).
Nigel from EMI, Mike and Claire from Connoisseur Records days, Masaka Tanaki (and his wife Yoshie) who handled many of the Japanese contracts (and who had flown over specially from Japan) and Derek Lawrence, Deep Purple’s original producer, were just some of the people who had taken time out on a grey day to bid Tony farewell. Indeed the crematorium was packed with friends, colleagues and many other people who had worked with Tony over the years. The ceremony closed with people filing out as the the mighty Smoke On The Water boomed out of the crematorium PA. I wasn’t the only one to notice the big high round purple stained glass window at the gable end fill with light as the sun caught it momentarily.
The reception was held at The Ritz, chosen as that is where Tony and his second wife Manuela married in 1985.

Photo shows Tony, Candice and Ritchie backstage at a show in Italy just a few years ago. With his eclectic musical tastes, I recall Tony telling me how much he’d enjoyed the show. Courtesy DTB.

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2 Responses to “Tony Edwards”

  1. Mohan Thampi Says:

    Thank you, Tony Edwards, for being instrumental in founding Deep Purple by having faith in Jon Lord’s ideas and then maintaining the band’s musical legacy on solid foundations. Only when I read a book called Voxpop! by Michael Wale in late 70’s did one realize Deep Purple had some unusual beginnings – businessmen looking to enter the music business by backing musicians who had not yet made big time but leaving the creative process to them. I had the opportunity to meet Tony once at the DPAS Convention in 1999 before the 30th anniversary Concerto where he struck me as pretty good humoured and seemed more like a British country squire/gentleman whom one did not expect to be involved in the wildness of rock’n’roll. And then there is Tony making the right decision getting Simon and DPAS members involved leading to continuous output of great releases. I would say reading comments from band members Tony was key in keeping the band’s tempestuous personalities together during it most creative output from 1968-77. It may be a very long book to write about Tony’s impact from the founding of DP and the many musicians, bands, events, careers, and businesses which branched out successfully.

    • simon robinson Says:

      Voxpop was a fascinating book for anyone interested in the way the music business developed during the 60s and 70s, and doubly more so for Deep Purple historians as the author spoke to both managers. I was able to interview John Coletta once, but that was specifically to cover the Whitesnake period. I was never able to persuade Tony to let me interview him at length, though I kept trying. I think, knowing to sort of detail I was after, he was wary of saying something which might be misinterpreted and put him in someone’s bad books. Me I am in enough people’s bad books already not to worry about it! However a friend in Japan did get Tony to chat more generally a while ago and we are hoping to feature this in the next issued of DTB (you know, that magazine we publish from time to time).

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