Dire Straits, Police Promoter Paul King Dies at 63

The Police
Jim Wilson/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Sting performs with The Police for a sellout crowd at Sullivan Stadium.

Veteran British promoter and artist manager Paul King, whose clients included Dire Straits, The Police and Level 42, has died at the age of 63, following a four year battle with cancer.

A statement on behalf of his family reads: "Paul King died at 3:15pm on Monday 12th October, with the sun on his face, smooth jazz in his ears and his family around his bed."

Having begun his music career as entertainments officer at London's Brunel University, King went on to work with some of the biggest artists of the '80s and early '90s, promoting U.K. and U.S. tours by Julian Cope, The Police, Level 42, The Stranglers, Tears for Fears and Dire Straits. The latter's 14-night residency at London's Wembley Arena remains a record for the venue.

King also co-promoted the 1990 Live At Knebworth charity concert, which featured Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and Elton John, was attended by over 120,000 and raised over £6 million ($9.3 million) for Nordoff Robbins music therapy. He also promoted tours by The Stranglers, The Sex Pistols, The Tom Robinson Band, Echo and the Bunnymen and Sade.

In his role as an artist manager, the colourful music exec led British rock band Breathe to score consecutive top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 -- "Hands To Heaven" and "Don't Tell Me Lies" -- while his dedication to his clients was illustrated by his hands-on approach in helping break Level 42 internationally.

Frustrated by a perceived lack of support from the band's U.S. label, King effectively took on the role of radio plugger for the group and is credited with helping to establish the group in North America. Other artists that he managed included Tears for Fears, The Teardrop Explodes and Julian Cope. Collected record sales of artists that King worked with throughout his 40 year career total over 32 million, according to a statement released by his family.

However, there were also a series of chastening professional lows to go along with the highs. King's music promotions company, The Outlaw Agency, went into receivership owing debts of £1 million ($1.5 million) and in 2004, King was convicted of fraud and sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison after marketing a purported cure for drunkenness. As a result, he was banned from being a company director for 10 years and personally declared bankrupt. During the last 11 months of his prison sentence, King ran the induction program at HMP Standford Hill and later used his first-hand knowledge to write a guide to prison life.

Following his release, King formed an advisory business supporting professionals deal with addiction. In more recent years, he returned to the music industry, helping to promote shows by Rod Stewart, Simply Red and Tom Jones at a range of international venues and events, including the Formula 1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

King's funeral will be held at Morriston Crematorium, Swansea on Friday October 23rd. His family have requested that instead of flowers, mourners would consider making a donation to Nordoff-Robbins.


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.