Don Arden
English producer
Don Arden
Don Arden, born Harry Levy, was an English music manager, agent, and businessman best known for overseeing the careers of the rock groups Small Faces, Electric Light Orchestra, and Black Sabbath. He achieved notoriety in England for his aggressive, sometimes illegal business tactics which led to him being called "Mr. Big", "The English Godfather" and "The Al Capone of Pop".
Biography
Don Arden's personal information overview.
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News
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Ian Faith Lives!
Huffington Post - about 1 year
The legendary manager of Spinal Tap didn't die after all... The BBC's Channel Four has just launched a documentary program called Music Moguls about the great rock managers of the latter half of the 20th century including Brian Epstein, Andrew Loog Oldham, Don Arden, Peter Grant, Malcolm McLaren and of course the shrewdest of them, manager of the most beloved heavy metal band on earth Spinal Tap. In this exclusive clip, he reveals Spinal Tap's formula for pop success (and why Big Bottom beats Stonehenge every time). Watch now... ... and for more of what Ian Faith is up to, visit his website & radio show, The Final Edition. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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Huffington Post article
Baby Born With 'Half a Heart' Still Won't Slow Down
abc News - about 1 year
Aiden Rogers was born last year with a dangerous heart defect.
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abc News article
Interview: Kenney Jones, Drummer of Small Faces, Faces With Rod Stewart and The Who, Looks Back (and Forward)
Huffington Post - about 3 years
Small Faces were simply the best band I have ever been in or ever likely to be in. -- Kenney Jones, drummer for The Who, 1979-1989. A few weeks back, I interviewed Ian "Mac" McLagan, here on the Huffington Post, keyboardist for the Small Faces, Faces with Rod Stewart and The Rolling Stones. The folks who set up the interview at Charly Records, have just released an incredible Small Faces' box set called Here Comes The Nice, available exclusively at Amazon, and were so happy with my "Mac" chat, that they decided I should have a go at his surviving Small Face brother, drummer Kenney Jones. That was more than fine with me. These two men are undiluted heroes to me, members of one of rock's greatest bands of all time, Small Faces. [Trans-Atlantic beeps and books... phone is now ringing]. Kenney: Hello there. Binky: [slightly dazzled]: Hi. Ken, Uhhh, wow. Look, right up front, I'm not really a journalist, I'm a musician. Playing guitar 50 years this February. Kenney: [laughs ...
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Huffington Post article
Poor Rural Mass. Students Outscoring Urban Classmates
Education Week - over 4 years
Rural Massachusetts students in poverty generally are outperforming their urban peers, and that's a change from 10 years ago when they were farther behind, according to a new analysis. Low-income rural students have improved faster during the last decade on their graduation rates and state standardized test scores, and that may be because urban students are poorer and more likely to speak languages other than English, according to "Urban and Rural Poverty and Student Achievement in Massachusetts," by Jon Ardon. The paper was published by the Pioneer Institute, an independent research organization aiming to improve the state's quality of life, and its Center for School Reform, which advocates accountability and increasing options to families. Massachusetts is a state that's not often discussed here on the Rural Ed blog because of its relatively small rural student population—only 11 percent of the state's students live in rural areas—but the new analysis had some worthw ...
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Education Week article
Rock And Rules - Kenney Jones
Clash - almost 5 years
As a founder of The Small Faces, drummer Kenney Jones learned the hard facts of music fast in their short but brilliant career. These are the guidelines that saw him then survive The Faces and The Who. MUSIC CAN SAVE YOU I grew up with kids in the East End. We were constantly storming up and down Roman Road and causing havoc, generally being horrible. It was only when I discovered drums that I didn’t want to do that anymore. I was so encapsulated in teaching myself how to play drums...it was all consuming. When my friends used to come round knocking on the door saying, ‘Coming out?’ I’d say, ‘No, sorry.’ They kept doing it and then eventually they got fed up with me because I didn’t really want to do that. I was literally hooked on my drums. And it saved me, otherwise I don’t know where I would have gone. KNOW WHO TO TRUST In those days we were brought up as kids in family environments to trust, because that was the right way to be, naturally. But when you go into any ...
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Clash article
A welcome face comes back to town - Herald.ie
Google News - over 5 years
Business problems -- not least of which was having the notorious music-biz gangster Don Arden as their first manager -- and creative differences led to Marriott moving on, whereupon the remaining trio hooked up with Ronnie Wood and a shy,
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Google News article
Re-release of Ozzy Osbourne's first two LPs nothing short of miraculous - Palm Beach Post
Google News - over 5 years
Her father, the late Don Arden, was Black Sabbath's manager throughout the '70s and early '80s. It was Sharon who chose Ozzy as a reclamation project after his firing from Sabbath. It was her chance to break away from her father and have success on her
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Google News article
Victory for pop music - Herald.ie
Google News - over 5 years
Some of them visionary, like Malcolm McLaren (Sex Pistols, Bow Wow Wow, Adam and the Ants, etc), others ruthless, like Don Arden (Small Faces, Amen Corner, The Move, Black Sabbath), and a few well dodgy, like disgraced Jonathan King
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Google News article
Ian McLagen - rocking all over the world - Galway Advertiser
Google News - over 5 years
“The manager Don Arden took one look at me and said: 'Oh well he's short' and plays the Hammond, well two out of three ain't bad. They all laughed and the three guys - Ronnie, Kenney Jones, and Steve Marriott, all picked me up and there was an instant
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Google News article
Kelly Osbourne: 'Ozzy, Sharon critics can go f**k themselves' - Digital Spy
Google News - over 5 years
Sharon first met Ozzy at the age of 18 and reportedly started dating him after her music mogul father Don Arden dismissed him from Black Sabbath. Sharon recently revealed she was so shocked to receive sexy text messages from her husband recently that
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Google News article
Wendy Dio: Ronnie Was Fired From Rainbow 'Because He Didn't Write Commercial ... - Ultimate-Guitar.Com
Google News - over 5 years
Her father, Don Arden, was managing at the time." "They were great friends. And they were always incredible musicians — legends. I was very good friends with Gloria Butler, Geezer Butler's wife, and those early days were a lot of fun
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Google News article
Ozzy Osbourne: 'I had nothing to lose' - The Guardian
Google News - over 5 years
Sabbath's then manager Sharon Arden – daughter of the legendary hardman manager Don Arden – was assigned the task of keeping Ozzy together enough to write new songs. She would become his full-time manager and, later, his wife
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Google News article
Interview: Black Country Communion's Glenn Hughes - Geeks of Doom
Google News - over 5 years
Yeah of course [laughs] And I probably would because Don Arden who managed [them], you know, Sharon Osbourne's father…he was a very famous character. In your father's time, back in the '60s, he was a scary guy. He managed me for a while as well so I
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Google News article
Camden museum celebrates Jewish people in showbusiness - BBC News
Google News - over 5 years
Then there are writers such as Jack Rosenthal and Harold Pinter and business brains Don Arden, father of Sharon Osbourne, and Oscar Deutsch, founder of the Odeon cinemas. The roll call goes on - for Jewish names have played a significant role in
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Google News article
Drank a beer on the hammock - Syracuse New Times
Google News - almost 6 years
Following the breakup, Dio got in touch with Sharon Arden, whose father, Don Arden, was a major promoter in England. He was managing a band called Black Sabbath. At the time, Arden was dating Soule, but later she would become Sharon Osbourne,
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Google News article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Don Arden
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2007
    Age 81
    On 8 September 2007 a commemorative plaque dedicated to Don Arden and Small Faces was unveiled at 52–55 Carnaby Street, London, Arden's former offices.
    More Details Hide Details Kenney Jones, ex-drummer of Small Faces, said: "To honour the Small Faces after all these years is a terrific achievement. I only wish that Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane and the late Don Arden were here to enjoy this moment with me".
    On 29 October 2007, a memorial headstone was unveiled at Agecroft Jewish Cemetery by his sister Eileen (Somers) and daughter Sharon Osbourne with her son Jack Osbourne, along with nephew and niece Danny Somers and Cathy Cowan.
    More Details Hide Details A line of inscription on the stone reads "His beautiful voice will sing in our hearts forever. Shalom". Later in the morning a plaque was unveiled at Higher Crumpsall Synagogue, Cheetham Hill, Manchester with the addition of the words "It all started here" with a line of musical notes. This refers to the time when Don (then Harry Levy) sang in the synagogue choir as a very young man.
    He was buried in Agecroft Jewish Cemetery, Langley Road, Pendlebury, near Manchester on 25 July 2007.
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  • 1986
    Age 60
    From 1986 to the mid-1990s, Arden shuttled between his homes in Beverly Hills and Parkside in Wimbledon, London.
    More Details Hide Details In August 2004 Sharon Osbourne stated her father had Alzheimer's disease.
    Don's son, known legally as 'David Levy', appeared at the Old Bailey in 1986 for his role in an alleged assault on an accountant working for Jet Records.
    More Details Hide Details The incident occurred at the offices in Portland Place. Convicted, David Levy spent several months in an open prison. Don, tried separately on related charges, was acquitted. The drawn-out legal problems meant Don was unable to attend to business, and legal bills proved a fatal strain on Jet Records, which collapsed. Portland Recording Studios were considerably in arrears with rent to the Prudential, who owned the building in 35 Portland Place in London, close to the BBC's Broadcasting House. Eventually, the Prudential evicted Jet Records. Don had already fallen out with his daughter Sharon, who embarked on her own successful management career with her husband and major client, Ozzy Osbourne.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1979
    Age 53
    In 1979 investigative reporter Roger Cook used the dispute with Lynsey de Paul to probe into Arden's controversial management style on BBC Radio 4's Checkpoint programme.
    More Details Hide Details This proved to be a colourful encounter. 'When you fight the champion you go 15 rounds, you've got to be prepared to go the whole way,' Arden tells Cook. 'I'll take you with one hand strapped up my arse. You're not a man, you're a creep.' Arden threatened to break the neck of anyone who talked to Cook in his on-air interview. From the late 1970s into the early 1980s, Arden enjoyed the high-rolling lifestyle of a top music mogul. He brought his son David and daughter Sharon Osbourne into the business, planning to build an Arden showbiz dynasty. With albums like Out of the Blue and Discovery, ELO became one of the world's biggest acts. Arden bought Howard Hughes' former house in Beverly Hills. In the mid-1980s, Don Arden bought Portland Recording Studios (formerly IBC Studios) from Chas Chandler and installed his son David as manager. The studios were by this time very outdated and much of the income was being generated by another company who ran half the facility known as RadioTracks, and by George Peckham (Porky Prime Cuts), a well known cutting engineer whose cutting rooms were on the ground floor at the back of the building. Don Arden had acquired shares in RadioTracks through buying out Chas Chandler without the knowledge of the other directors.
    In 1979, one of Arden's successes, Black Sabbath, sacked their vocalist Ozzy Osbourne.
    More Details Hide Details Arden's daughter Sharon began to date Osbourne, and took over his management from her father. Arden was livid. Reportedly, the next time Sharon visited Don, his vicious pet dogs savaged her. She was pregnant, and lost the child. Sharon eventually married Osbourne and had no contact with her father for 20 years. In 2001 she told The Guardian newspaper: "The best lesson I ever had was watching him fuck his business up. He taught me everything not to do. My father's never even seen any of my three kids and, as far as I'm concerned, he never will." Later the same year, under Ozzy's insistence, Sharon and Arden finally reconciled, with Arden making a walk-on role in the successful reality TV show The Osbournes in 2002. He also met his grandchildren Jack and Kelly for the first time.
  • 1978
    Age 52
    De Paul commented: She eventually reached a settlement with Arden in 1978.
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  • 1976
    Age 50
    By 1976, Arden was embroiled in a lawsuit with the distraught singer over what she claimed was late payment of money owed to her.
    More Details Hide Details
  • FORTIES
  • 1973
    Age 47
    Arden took over management of singer-songwriter Lynsey de Paul in 1973 who provided him with the first hit on his new Jet label, "No Honestly" in 1974.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1968
    Age 42
    Arden returned to music management in 1968 when he signed the Move.
    More Details Hide Details He struck gold when two groups formed by ex-Move members, ELO and Wizzard (1972), started having international hits such as "See My Baby Jive" and "Angel Fingers" (1973) and ELO with "10538 Overture" (1972) and "Roll Over Beethoven" (1973).
  • 1967
    Age 41
    Arden tried to rekindle his former glories as a family entertainer by releasing a single of his own in 1967: "Sunrise Sunset", from the musical Fiddler on the Roof, but it failed to chart.
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  • 1966
    Age 40
    In 1966, Arden and a squad of 'minders' turned up at impresario Robert Stigwood's office to 'teach him a lesson' for daring to discuss a change of management with Small Faces.
    More Details Hide Details This became one of the most notorious incidents from the 1960s British pop business. Arden reportedly threatened to throw Stigwood out of the window if he ever interfered with his business again. The band was never entirely convinced that Arden had paid them everything he owed them. Kenney Jones has mixed memories of the band's stormy relationship with Arden:
  • THIRTIES
  • 1965
    Age 39
    In 1965, Arden met aspiring rock band Small Faces in his office in Carnaby Street.
    More Details Hide Details Half an hour later he had signed them up. Don Arden was immediately struck by the potential of Small Faces: "I thought at that time, on the first hearing, I thought it was the best band in the world." Kenney Jones, Small Faces' drummer, recalls: "He was kind of a Jewish teddy bear I suppose. You liked him immediately because he was enthusiastic and he talked about what he could do and what he couldn't do and whenever he said – 'I'll do this, I'll do that' – he did and it came true." The band's first hit was obtained by "chart-fixing", which cost Arden £12,000. Arden denied it was cheating: "I had a saying, you can't polish a turd. In other words, if the record's no good to begin with it still won't be any good after you've wasted your time and money getting it played."
  • 1964
    Age 38
    During 1964, Arden moved into beat group pop management with the Nashville Teens who secured chart hits with "Tobacco Road" and "Google Eye" and "Find My Way Back Home".
    More Details Hide Details According to Johnny Rogan's book Starmakers & Svengalis, their earnings from these hits was £3,513. When group member John Hawken confronted Arden about some confusion over monies to be collected, his manager told him, "I have the strength of 10 men in these hands" and threatened to throw him from an office window.
  • 1960
    Age 34
    Arden signed up American rock'n'roller Gene Vincent in 1960 and launched his career as a manager.
    More Details Hide Details Taking over from John Schatt, another Jewish manager, who was just starting out, going on to form the worldwide Filmpow Group, after several years of bringing American rock'n'rollers including Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and Vincent to tour Britain, Arden became Vincent's manager. Arden could not control Vincent's compulsive alcoholism. The relationship ended when Vincent reportedly pulled a knife on his manager. For a short period of time in the early 1960s he worked with up and coming British singer Elkie Brooks who went on to become a household name some years later.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1954
    Age 28
    He gave up after that and in 1954 went on to become a showbiz agent after realising it would be more profitable.
    More Details Hide Details He began his career organising Hebrew folk song contests, then started putting together his own shows.
  • 1946
    Age 20
    After being demobilised from the British Army at the end of World War II, Arden returned to carve out his showbiz career from 1946 to 1953.
    More Details Hide Details Arden worked as an entertainer on the British variety circuit. He impersonated famous tenors such as Enrico Caruso and film gangsters such as Edward G. Robinson and George Raft. On weekends, Yiddish-speaking Arden impressed Jewish audiences with his Al Jolson routine. One of his record releases was his version of "Blue Suede Shoes" on the Embassy label when he did his best to impersonate Elvis.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1944
    Age 18
    Born into a Jewish family in Cheetham Hill, Manchester. Arden began his showbusiness career when he was just 13 years old as a singer and stand-up comic after briefly attending the Royal College of Music and in 1944 changed his name from Harry Levy to Don Arden.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1926
    Age 0
    Born on January 4, 1926.
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Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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