Brian Longley talks to Mike Ledgerwood, Disc and Music Echo.
Sadly, Brian got killed in a traffic accident in the 90s.
Longley burst into showbiz proper after dreaming up a dynamic
publicity stunt as a cinema manager to promote the movie
Deadlier Than the Male.
The film, you may remember, featured a somewhat
macabre climax with giant chess-men coming alive to crush
the hero, and with this in mind the astute Mr Longley set
about painting his carpark as a jumbo-sized checkerboard.
Then, under cover of darkness, he erected the six-foot pieces
to confront the passing public.
And to top off this most ingenious idea, he
invited the Tremeloes along to play a larger-than-life game.
The gimmick attracted enormous attention, not the least
in the national press, and Longley landed the post as Tremeloes
publicist on the strength of it all.
It was ideas like these which were to enhance
his reputation, working with acts like the Marmalade and
I began to realise how much I liked organising
bands, and started to toy with the idea of getting a group
of my own to manage, he said.
This happened after he heard a tune called Yellow
River, a song submitted for the Tremeloes to record.
However, it was ditched by them and lay about gathering
dust for a while.
But brainy Brian had a sneaking feeling the
number had hit potential and subsequently invited writer
Jeff Christie down to London for a chat.
how Christie was formed, Yellow River
was finally recorded, and Brian Longley, 31, became one
of the most promising young managers on the pop scene.
His career prior to publicity was just about
as checkered as his famous chessboard.
Hed worked in a record shop and played
drums in a group while still at school; thered been
a fleeting flirtation with Fleet Street (I wrote a
record column for a loca paper on the understanding that
I sold the advertising space first); and hed
undertaken a period in law articled to Chelsea Town Clerk,
before finally ending up a whizz-kid cinema/ballroom manager
on the Granada circuit.
To what does he attribute his success?
A most important point is getting to know
your group. Know what they want to do musically; try to
find out how they tick individually, Brian said.
I know managers who dont even know
the names of members of their group.
You dont have to be dishonest in
this business, he says, but concedes that pop is certainly
not without its crooks.
But I believe in keeping my nose clean.
Simply because if you make enemies on
the way up, when youre down therell be that
fewer people ready with a helping hand.