Hal Carter

Manager and agent for Sixties and Seventies musicians

Hal Carter in 1968 established the very successful entertainment agency Hal Carter Organisation, concentrating on Sixties and Seventies music. Surprisingly for a manager and agent, he was much loved by his artists and offered guidance on every aspect of their work - choosing songs, producing records, determining promotion and, most of all, arranging tours.

Harold Carter Burrows (Hal Carter), manager and agent: born Liverpool 13 July 1935; married (one son, two daughters); died London 13 July 2004.

Hal Carter in 1968 established the very successful entertainment agency Hal Carter Organisation, concentrating on Sixties and Seventies music. Surprisingly for a manager and agent, he was much loved by his artists and offered guidance on every aspect of their work - choosing songs, producing records, determining promotion and, most of all, arranging tours.

Born Harold Carter Burrows in 1935, he was raised in the tough Scotland Road locality in Liverpool. He worked as a foreman for the chemical company Union Carbide but in his spare time organised local rock'n'roll shows. In 1958 he attempted to place one of his acts on a Marty Wilde tour, which had come to the Liverpool Empire. Wilde's manager, Larry Parnes, showed no interest but he was impressed at the way Carter smuggled Wilde into the theatre to avoid screaming fans. "Parnes gave me ten bob [50p] for my trouble," Carter recalled,

and that should have set off alarm bells because he was a very mean man, but it was show business. Two weeks later he asked me if I would work for him at £10 a week. I was earning £18 at Union Carbide but I said yes and went to London.

During 1959 Carter worked on the road as Marty Wilde's personal manager and then was moved to Parnes's new protégé, Billy Fury, who was also from Liverpool. Fury had a damaged heart following rheumatic fever as a child, but he took little care of himself, smoking heavily, exerting himself on stage and spending his spare time in wet fields watching wildlife.

Parnes realised that UK rock'n'roll fans wanted to see the real thing and he signed Eddie Cochran (whose star was on the rise) and Gene Vincent (a Grade A troublemaker who had union problems in the United States) for an extensive tour with Carter as tour manager. Cochran, who came from California, hated the British weather, but he befriended Carter and asked him to leave Parnes and become his manager in the US.

Carter's relationship with Gene Vincent was very different. At first Vincent's demands were just ridiculous - how could Carter find him a pizza in North Wales at 11pm in 1960? - but he soon discovered why Vincent was bad news in America:

Gene Vincent used to carry a gun and a knife around with him, which he called Henry. He would say to people, "Do you want to meet Henry?" and he would pull out his knife. He had a street-gang mentality and he terrorised the tour bus one night coming back from Ipswich. He ripped the bass player's suit and five of us jumped off at the lights in Romford, even though we lived in north London.

Larry Parnes took Carter off the tour on the last night because he needed him for a recording of the television programme Wham! The package played in Bristol and Eddie Cochran was killed in a car accident on his return to London. "That accident would never have happened if I'd been there," Carter claimed:

They wanted to get back to London quickly and so they didn't want to use the tour bus. A taxi driver quoted them £30 and they thought it was a bit steep. Someone borrowed his mate's car and said that he would take them. He had no insurance and he took a wrong turning just before the bridge at Chippenham. He was heading back to Bristol when the accident occurred.

Carter continued to work on Larry Parnes's extravaganzas and on one occasion sacked Georgie Fame, one of the supporting acts, for defying him by playing jazz on a rock'n'roll show.

In 1962 Hal Carter persuaded Oriole Records to let him make a single, "Twistin' Time is Here" and "Come On and Twist". He was listed as the sole composer for "Come On and Twist" and, when asked how he came to write the music when he did not play an instrument, he replied, "It wasn't difficult. Eddie Cochran had shown me a couple of chords."

Carter himself left Parnes in 1963. Parnes was furious, refusing to sanction a record that Billy Fury had made of one of Carter's songs, "Please Love Me". He worked as the road manager for the Kinks before establishing his own company in 1968, which soon became known as the Hal Carter Organisation. He went on to manage and produce the band Liverpool Express, who had hits with "You are My Love" and "Every Man Must Have a Dream", both in 1976. He also produced a Top Ten single for Coast to Coast, "(Do) The Hucklebuck" (1981).

In 1982 he persuaded Billy Fury to leave his farm and return to public performance. Some say that the strain of the comeback killed him but Carter denied this. "If Billy were here now," he said,

he would tell you that he lived 15 years longer than he expected. He was always saying, "If I make 30, I'll be delighted", and that's why he drove fast cars and did everything at top whack. His life was going to be short, but it was going to be great: that was his mentality.

In later years Carter acted for Marty Wilde, Eden Kane and John Leyton and also set up touring versions of well-known bands with rather suspect line-ups including the Tornados, the Equals, Middle of the Road and the New Seekers. Carter was made for tribute bands and he managed Rumours of Fleetwood Mac, T.Rextasy and his particular favourites, the Illegal Eagles.

Spencer Leigh



Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event
filmBut why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
News
i100
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride