The Manic Street Preachers decided to cancel their show at the Brixton Academy last week out of respect for Philip Hall, their publicist and co-manager, who died on December 7. Bands who benefited from Philip's peerless talents, such as The Stone Roses, The Pogues and Radiohead, have paid tribute to one of the UK music scene's most energetic and popular characters.
Originally a Record Mirror journalist, Philip was recruited in the mid-80's by Stiff Records - then one of the most creative training grounds for music biz mavericks in London. When Stiff folded, Philip launched an independent PR business representing his friends The Pogues, and quickly earned professional renown for his easy-going yet brilliantly successful style.
Philip twice won the Music Week Leslie Perrin PR award (in 1985 for his handling of The Pogues, and in 1989 for his Stone Roses campaign.) Soon his company, Hall Or Nothing, was representing such high profile clients as James, The Waterboys and The Beautiful South.
As well as furthering the careers of already established artists, Philip took a keen interest in bringing new and fresh performers to the public's eye. He released the debut Kingmaker EP on his Sacred Heart label, and in 1990 took mischievous delight in upsetting the industry by championing The Manic Street Preachers, guiding them from obscurity to their current status as a Top Five chart band.
Philip nurtured the Manics with almost parental care, and the band's grief over his brave two-year battle with cancer was the unacknowledged source of their controversial stage outburst about AIDS victims at the Kilburn National last year.
One of the NME's favourite memories of Philip is at The Stone Roses' legendary Spike Island gig. While lesser characters would have crumbled under the pressure, he was laughing and enjoying himself, completely unfazed in the midst of so much seeming chaos - at ease, yet inspiring confidence in his ability to remain in control.
There has scarcely been an issue of the NME since 1985 that hasn't in some way been touched by the hand of Philip. But more importantly, Philip Hall was a good friend of many people at this paper, and for that reason above all else, we will miss him.
We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife, family and everyone at Hall Or Nothing.
Paying tribute to Hall, the Manics said: "Philip was the first person who understood us. He was more than a manager and input into the band was invaluable. Without his help, motivation and generosity, it is doubtful whether we, as a band, would have carried on."
Pogues guitarist Phil Chevron said: "Apart from losing a press officer we have lost a gentle soul, of which there are very few in this business. Philip was admired and respected throughout the music world."
Radiohead also paid homage to their PR, bassist Colin saying: "His quiet intelligence made the greatest impression on us: he gave us the room to learn from our own mistakes."
The Manics' cancelled gig at the Brixton Academy will now take place on January 28. The Norwich UEA gig planned for that date will be rescheduled.
[Originally published: New Musical Express, 18 December 1993]