We are very sad to announce that our long-time partner and a music industry legend, Derek Lawrence, has passed away yesterday.
He never let on that he had any serious health problems until about 10 days ago when we spoke and he told me he wasn’t feeling too well. Then, a week ago he checked into the hospital. There, they found he had multiple late-stage cancers (lungs, liver and prostate) and his condition was deemed very serious. He was sedated and slept from then on. Barely a few days later – yesterday – he passed on without ever recovering his consciousness.
I’m really saddened by this. I’ve known Derek since about 1995-or-so and we’ve been partners on and off for many years. Most recently, for the past 4 or 5 years Derek decided that he wanted to have a few more hits before he waved everyone goodbye – and so we partnered up again.
Who Was Derek Lawrence
At first glance, Derek was a “difficult” and “combative” character. Some of the people who worked with him couldn’t stand him – while others, who knew him best, loved him and thought the world of him – even when he got under their skin now and then. But he was always fair-minded and brutally honest when it came to music. He was also a veritable walking encyclopaedia of modern music. And – he had a God-given “ear” for music and knew what works.
It is that ear which made him one of the world’s most successful music producers of the late 60’s and early 70’s. His artists were – and remain – legendary. Like his mentor, the legendary Joe Meek, Derek was the stuff of legends (both good and bad) as he produced one superstar hit after another. He was the very first producer of Deep Purple, Wishbone Ash, Hot Chocolate and even Jethro Tull – all of which are legendary 70’s acts fondly remembered to this day.
He continued being successful with slightly less-notorious, but still superb acts such as Quiet Riot, Cockney Rebel, Chas & Dave, Labi Siffre, and scores of others. Later on, he switched from production to management and has helped launch some major dance acts (e.g. Milk & Sugar, etc) and co-managed the careers of such Grammy-winning producers and songwriters as Rob Davis, Paul Harris, Andy Tumi and many others (all of whom I also had the pleasure of working with – thanks, in part, to Derek).
You will always be remembered, Derek, and sorely missed by us all.