HITS Daily Double


Alexander William “Sandy” Roberton, a British/American record producer and entrepreneur best known as the co-founder and longtime head of Worlds End Producer Management, died in a London hospital on 7/26 after falling gravely ill earlier this year.

Roberton was born in Scotland and raised in Kenya. He moved to London in his late teens and had a brief career as an artist before moving to the business side. After heading the London offices of Chess Records publishing companies Arc Music, Regent Music and Jewel Music and subsequently Lowery Music, he formed his own company, September Productions, producing and/or managing such artists as The Liverpool Scene, Tim Hart & Maddy Prior, Ian (now Iain) Matthews, Plainsong, John Martyn, Shirley Collins, Marc Ellington and Steeleye Span, producing the latter's first three LPs. He also formed Rockburgh Records, releasing material by acts including Matthews, Jo Jo Zep & the Falcons and Wilko Johnson.

He formed Worlds End Producer Management with Paul Brown in 1980, becoming the sole owner five years later after moving its base to Los Angeles. During the ’90s and early 2000s, Worlds End handled the careers of more than 75 producers. The company and sister label Beverly Martel are still in operation.

In 2006, Roberton partnered with his daughter, Niki Roberton, on indie Iamsound Records, which released records by such acts as Florence & the Machine, Lord Huron, Little Boots, Telepathe, Charli XCX and Nikki Lane.

As news of Roberton’s passing spread, tributes began coming in from friends and colleagues.

Lauren Christy, who worked with Roberton as an artist and subsequently as one third of writing/production team The Matrix, wrote: “Graham [Edwards] and I are saddened to learn of the death of our former manager, Sandy Roberton. Shocked, too, because if you knew Sandy, you know he never stopped working. Ill health wasn’t on his schedule!

“Sandy had a long and successful career in production and management before he suggested that Graham and I (who were both nearing the end of our careers as recording artists) team up with Scott Spock and form a songwriting and production team. The idea changed all of our lives. He worked us nonstop, sending artist after artist to our dingy studio in Culver City, until finally he suggested we try our luck writing a song for Christina Aguilera’s Christmas album. That was our first cut, and the rest is pop history. Sandy’s passion for music and endless hours of working connections and wheeling deals for his clients is unparalleled in the industry. The Matrix owes much of its success to him. He has been a pioneering champion for so many people who have written and produced many of the best songs of the past four decades.

“Thank you, Sandy, for your love of music and the people who create it. Godspeed.”

Veteran singer/songwriter Andy Roberts posted a remembrance on Facebook, which reads in part, “Sandy was my manager, my publisher, my producer and, above all, my friend for over 54 years. His is not necessarily a well-known name outside the music industry, but the breadth of his influence over nearly 60 years of relentless good work is significant.

“We stayed in touch all through... We fell into the habit of having the occasional catch-up lunch at the Chelsea Arts Club or tea at the Old Ship Hotel here in Brighton when he came down for the Great Escape, and it was always fabulous to see him.

“Iain and I heard he was ill, very ill, only in June, and now he has gone after a thankfully short but hugely distressing time. He was characteristically brave till the end and now has found peace, leaving Dinah, Christian and Niki with a lifelong broken heart, as Rodney Crowell once put it, and it’s true.

“I loved the man, who more than any other made me what I am, showed me a path and set me on it to explore alone, because he knew that was what he should do.”