The British music mogul who wears manager, author, composer, record producer and film maker among his many hats, is coming to Australia for a series of talks.

During his almost 50-year career, Simon Napier-Bell has worked with The Yardbirds (feat Jimmy Page), Dusty Springfield, Marc Bolan, Boney M and Sinéad O’Connor, among many others.

Perhaps his most famous accolade though was his discovering of George Michael and Wham! in the early ’80s, helping them become the first Western band to ever tour China.

Simon is headed to Australia this September for four ‘In Conversation’ events in Sydney (with Stuart Coupe), Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne (with Jane Gazzo) and Perth.

He’ll kick off the tour with a mini-keynote at Brisbane’s BIGSOUND conference on September 8.

As TIO found out, we can thank Jane Gazzo for Simon’s local visit.

“Simon has led such an interesting life and has so many great stories that I found myself speaking to the BIGSOUND people, suggesting him for a mini keynote,” she told TIO.

“Of course they jumped at the opportunity and fortunately, Simon will make his way around the country after the music conference, no doubt inspiring and amusing all who hear him.”

Having cut his teeth working alongside Beatles’ and Stones’ managers Brian
Epstein and Andrew Loog Oldham, Simon was also responsible for handing John Paul Young his debut single ‘Pasadena’ after he discovered him. The track was originally intended for a female voice.

His composition credits include co-writing ‘You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me’ – first performed by Dusty Springfield, and then by Elvis Presley.

He is also a documentary film director and the author of four best-selling books on popular music: You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me, Black Vinyl White Powder, I’m Coming To Take You To Lunch and Ta-ra-ra-Boom-de-ay: The Beginning of the Music Business.

Gazzo told TIO she’s been a fan of Simon’s since reading Black Vinyl White Powder in the early 00’s.

“It is such a fascinating and colourful look at British music history and popular culture. That led me to reading his other books,” she said.

“I’m Coming To Take You to Lunch explores how Napier-Bell broke down walls and cultures in getting Wham! to play China – the first ever Western band to do so. I remember as a young girl reading about it in Smash Hits magazine where they devoted six pages to Wham! in China!”

Simon signing the contract for Wham!’s gig in Guandong, 1985. Source: Simonnapierbell.com

TOUR DATES

BrisbaneBIGSOUND Keynote – Friday 8th Sept

Melbourne – Arts Centre – Saturday 9th Sept – in conversation with
Jane Gazzo

Adelaide – The JADE – Sunday 10th Sept

Sydney – The Leadbelly – Monday 11th September – in conversation
with Stuart Coupe

Perth – Mojo’s Freo – Tuesday 12th September