The heavy guide to getting ahead in music: scholarship named after Led Zeppelin's legendary manager


To those who dared to stand in his way, Peter Grant, the legendary manager of Led Zeppelin, conducted his business with a mixture of verbal aggression, physical intimidation and judicious use of a baseball bat.

Now the next generation of managers can study Grant's "hands-on" technique when a business degree course is launched in honour of the man who struck fear into the hearts of any promoter who tried to rip off his charges.

A 300lb, 6ft 5in former bouncer and professional wrestler, the bearded giant is credited with turning Led Zeppelin into rock's biggest attraction in the Seventies. Grant's exploits, whether facing down gun-toting promoters, beating up security guards or smashing up bootleggers' tapes with his trusty bat, ensured his place in rock mythology alongside the notoriously hell-raising Zeppelin.

Despite his violent reputation, the south Londoner, who died from a heart attack in 1995 at 60, and was by then a diabetic cocaine addict, earned the eternal gratitude of the bands he managed.

He secured Zeppelin the most lucrative record deal then signed by a band and guaranteed Robert Plant's rockers an unheard of 90 per cent of concert ticket receipts after, literally, twisting the arms of often mafia-connected promoters. Grant enhanced the band's mystique and earning power by refusing to let them release singles or appear on television.

Posthumous recognition of his achievements arrives in September with the launch of the Peter Grant Memorial Scholarship, which will cover £16,000 of course fees for a new BA (Hons) degree in music management offered by the Bristol Institute of Modern Music. Grant's daughter, Helen Grant, said: "My father would have been both touched and honoured that this scholarship has been created in his name.

"He was a great inspiration to many people in the business; not only on the management front, but also in the way he looked after his artists – in his own, infamous way. A charismatic personality coupled with great humour means he is never far away. This is a long overdue accolade."

The degree will include modules on "live-event management", "working with musicians" and how to deal with rapacious record companies.

Peter Grant: Hits and myths

* Grant took umbrage when a security guard manhandled his 11 year-old son backstage at a Led Zeppelin show in Oakland, California. Grant and drummer John Bonham took the guard into a trailer and viciously beat him. The band ordered the promoter, Bill Graham, to sign a document absolving them of guilt. Grant was arrested at the band's hotel and settled a civil case out of court for an undisclosed sum.

* After "the boys" trashed a Seattle hotel room, Grant performed the ritual of paying for the damage in cash. The hotel manager said: "I'd love to be able to do that – just wreck a hotel room and get away with it." Grant took out $5,000 in dollar bills and said: "Here, have one on me." The manager smashed up the room of his choice.

* A promoter tried to rip off the legendary rock'n'roller Little Richard, which was a mistake. Grant savagely beat the promoter backstage until police arrived, then meted out similar treatment to the six officers sent to restrain him.

* When a Zeppelin gig in Memphis in 1970 threatened to turn into a riot, the promoter stuck a gun in Grant's ribs, ordering him to stop the show. Grant laughed and said: "You can't shoot me, ya c***. They've just given us the f***ing keys to the city." The band completed their set.

* When Led Zep played at the Knebworth festival in 1979, the promoter claimed only 104,000 ticket-holders were in the audience. Grant disputed the low figure using aerial pictures of taken from a helicopter. He sent the images to a monitoring laboratory in New York, which confirmed that 218,000 people attended. The row forced the promoter into liquidation.

* Grant would seek out bootleggers at shows, assaulting any he found making illicit recordings and smashing their tape recorders. An "undercover" visit to a record store resulted in a broken arm for the owner after he produced unlicensed Led Zeppelin records.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Ashdown Group: IT Manager - Salesforce / Reports / CRM - North London - NfP

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and reputable Not for Profit o...

Reach Volunteering: External HR Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree have recently been awa...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot