Jack Nelson, Queen’s First Manager, Dies From Coronavirus Complications

Jack Nelson, who was Queen’s first manager and oversaw the careers of a number of top acts of the ‘70s and ‘80s, died on April 27 of complications from COVID-19 in Nashville. He was 77.

Among the other acts Nelson managed were Chaka Khan, Maxine Nightingale, Kathy Sledge and Jeffrey Osborne, whom he represented for more than 35 years until his April death.

Queen guitarist Brian May paid tribute to Nelson the day of his passing by playing a track called “Stranger on the Shore” for him and posting it on Instagram, along with the words, “I hope my dear old friend to whom I dedicate this little piece can hear it, where he’s gone. He fought a brave battle against the CoronaVirus but eventually consciously conceded. His family are in unimaginable shock and sadness and I feel a piece of my life has been ripped away too. My pal wasn’t a musician but he spent his life nurturing music and musicians and making great stuff happen. He was decent and considerate – a friend to be proud of.”

 

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This is an old tune created on clarinet by Mr Acker Bilk – a great jazzman of the ‘Trad Jazz’ era. I always found it very wistful – and I used to attempt to play it when I was first learning the guitar – picking up anything from records I could find. This is not my best performance – but it’s what came out tonight. And I hope my dear old friend to whom I dedicate this little piece can hear it, where he’s gone. He fought a brave battle against the CoronaVirus but eventually consciously conceded. His family are in unimaginable shock and sadness and I feel a piece of my life has been ripped away too. My pal wasn’t a musician but he spent his life nurturing music and musicians and making great stuff happen. He was decent and considerate – a friend to be proud of. Tonight he rests in peace. Take special care out there, folks. This thing is not going away yet. Bri

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Nelson’s career in the music business spanned more than beginning in a family-owned record shop in Westwood Village, Calif. From there a successful stint as a distribution rep led him to a partner position at the legendary label Blue Thumb Records.

From there, Nelson moved to London as became a partner at Trident Production Company, where he managed Queen for the first five years of their career, including landing the band a deal with EMI Records.

After returning to Los Angeles in the mid-‘70s, he opened EMI’s office in Beverly Hills, then switched to management, ultimately starting Jack Nelson & Associates (later named J. Nelson Entertainment).

Survivors include his wife Penny and children Jon, Dan and Joanna. The family asks that donations be made to MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.