Dee Anthony, an artist manager who shepherded the careers of Peter Frampton, Tony Bennett and Peter Allen and helped bring '60s U.K. rock acts to prominence in the U.S., died Oct. 25 in Connecticut. He was 83 years old.
Born Anthony D'Addario, Anthony grew up in the Bronx borough of New York, and served in the U.S. Navy submarine force before returning home to pursue a career in the music industry. From 1949 to 1962, Anthony served as personal manager to Tony Bennett and then transitioned into service managing U.K. artists in the U.S., during which time he helped cement overseas success for Traffic, Jethro Tull, and King Crimson.
In 1968, Anthony leveraged that work and founded the global management company Bandana Enterprises with his brother, Bill. The two worked with artists including Joe Cocker, Humble Pie, The J Geils Band, MC5, Ten Years After, and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.
It was Humble Pie member-turned-solo artist Peter Frampton who would become Anthony's greatest success story, however. Anthony began managing Frampton when he was just 18, and when the singer/songwriter left Humble Pie to go solo in 1971, Anthony guided him closely through his first two albums.
Somewhat fortuitously, Anthony also emphasized the importance of developing one's live performance to become a valuable touring act. In 1976, Anthony helped Frampton release his breakthrough "Frampton Comes Alive" double album. The set went climbed to No. 1 on the Billboard 200, where it spent 10 weeks, and was again listed as No. 1 on the year-end Top Billboard 200 albums chart. The success of "Frampton Comes Alive," which has sold 6 million copies according to the Recording Industry Association of America, led to Anthony being honored as Billboard's "Manager of the Year" in 1976 and 1977.
In a "Day in the Life" profile from the Nov. 26, 1997 issue of Billboard, Anthony spoke of he and Frampton's tightknit bond. "Everyone says it's a father-son relationship. I don't know, maybe it is. Maybe he's the son I never had."
Anthony is survived by his wife, four daughters, two brothers, and six grandchildren. His eldest daughter, Michele Anthony, followed in his footsteps to become a president and COO at Sony Music and is now a consultant for artists including Pearl Jam, Bjork, and Prince.
"He guided and influenced my career enormously," says Michele Anthony of her father. "He instilled in me a passion and respect for artists and their music...from the age of five I was constantly by his side, whether at the Copacabana, then later the Fillmore East or on the road with him and his bands. I had an education that money just can't buy."
Anthony continued to manage several top acts in the 1980s, including Devo, Peter Allen and Basia, before retiring from the music business in the mid-90s.
"Unless you can offer a performance, people will just come to hear your last hit record and you'll always be only as strong as that record," Anthony told Billboard in 1977. "An act has to get to the point where his worst performance still has the audience captured."