- 12 Jun 17
Nigel Grainge, the London born music entrepreneur who lived the remainder of his life in LA, was vital for a number of prominent artists, including Thin Lizzy and the Boomtown Rats.
The music industry executive died aged 70 in Santa Monica, California, following complications from a recent surgery, his family has announced.
Grainge, who was the brother of Universal Music boss Sir Lucian, began his music career in the 1970s, working in the accounting department at Phonogram, before being appointed label manager for the US repertoire and then head of A&R, where he began to sign famous acts.
He would then go on to form his own label "Ensign" in 1976 and would eventually sign a whole host of artists ranging from Sinead O'Connor to The Boomtown Rats, Thin Lizzy, The Waterboys, 10cc, World Party, Steve Miller Band, Eddy Grant, The Blue Aeroplanes, and Graham Parker & The Rumour, among many others.
The label would also release several influential reggae and jazz-funk recordings throughout its ten year existence. According to Billboard Magazine, of the first 50 singles released by Ensign, more than half of them charted, which was “a virtually unprecedented success for the UK record industry.”
A decade later, Ensign was sold to Chrysalis Records, and Grainge embarked on his next venture, a successful publishing company called Dizzy Heights, which was sold to German music company Edel in 2000.
In 2002, Grainge moved to Los Angeles where he served as a consultant to artists, publishers and record companies, as well as a highly sought after lecturer. Grainge served as a consultant on the HBO series Vinyl.
His most recent venture was a Los-Angeles based start-up, TunesMap - an innovative company dedicated to "visualising the world around your favourite music."
Here's an archive interview we did with Nigel from back in 1990, in which he talks about a life in music and working with Ireland's finest.