Classics Du Jour


Elliot Roberts, Manager for Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Dies at 76

“Never one to think of himself, he puts everyone else first,” wrote Neil Young in a touching tribute to his late manager, Elliot Roberts. 

Roberts, who was best known for his five-decade association with Neil Young, passed away on Friday.  He was 76.  His company, Lookout Management, announced his death but has not shared the cause.

Roberts, born Elliot Rabinowitz, began his career at the William Morris Agency in the ‘60s, working alongside David Geffen (Geffen Records).  After discovering a demo tape by Joni Mitchell, Roberts founded Lookout Management and began working as her manager.  

In 1969, at the behest of Mitchell, the then 23-year-old Roberts began managing Young’s career. Shortly thereafter, he picked up Crosby, Stills and Nash. Then in 1970, Roberts and Geffen co-founded Asylum Records, where the roster of star performers included Linda Ronstadt and the Eagles.    

In the intervening decades Roberts has helped shape the course of popular music, guiding the careers of such artists as Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne and The Cars, to name a few.

Young penned a touching tribute to his longtime friend and manager, which he posted on his Neil Young Archives site on Saturday, calling Roberts “the greatest manager of all time” and “my friend for over 50 years.”

“Never one to think of himself, he puts everyone else first. That’s what he did for me for over fifty years of friendship, love and laughter, managing my life, protecting our art in the business of music. That’s what he did,” wrote Young.

“When it came to our business, Elliot guided me through every move. We talked every day. Often I would call him multiple times in a day, arguing, discussing, planning and sharing. He was there for me and protected my music with a fierceness. He loved music and managed over the years many greats: Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, David Blue, Tracy Chapman, Tegan and Sara, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Tom Petty, the Eagles, among others.”  

Young concluded his emotional statement with, “This world is forever changed for me, for all who knew and loved him.  His memory shines with love.” 

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