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Larry Parnes

1929 – 1989

Laurence Maurice Parnes was born on 3 September 1929 to a Jewish family in Willesden, London. After leaving school he began work in a clothing store, and by the age of 18 ran a women’s clothing shop in Romford, Essex. He then bought a share in a bar in Romilly Street, Soho.

Parnes went on to become the most successful British rock manager of the 50s and early 60s.

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Known as Larry “Parnes, Shillings and Pence” he organised rock tours and talent contests and had a habit of finding artists – to whom he inevitably gave strange names.

This practice led to the artists being known as the ‘Parnes stable of stars’, among them Tommy SteeleMarty Wilde, Dickie PrideBilly FuryDuffy Power, Georgie Fame and Vince Eager. Most of the Parnes stable eventually fell by the wayside.

At the end of the 1950s, Parnes launched Elempi Records as a haven for young talent, although the short-lived label produced nothing of note.