Anthony Michael “Tony” Secunda
(24 August 1940 – 12 February 1995)
A British manager of rock groups in the 1960s and 1970s, including The Moody Blues, Procol Harum, The Move, and T. Rex, Motörhead, Marianne Faithfull and the Pretenders.
He was born in Epsom, Surrey, England. According to Carl Wayne, the Move’s vocalist, Secunda’s business acumen and flair for publicity were a major factor in the group’s success.
“He dreamed up all the ideas, the stunts and the clothing – sending Blackberry pies with bottles of champagne for “Blackberry Way”, doing a photo session at the fire station in Birmingham for “Fire Brigade” – and of course the Harold Wilson affair!”
The latter referred to Secunda’s most controversial stunt, in which a cartoon postcard promoting the group’s 1967 single, “Flowers in the Rain”, featured an allegedly libellous drawing of Wilson, then Prime Minister. The group and management were sued, lost the case, and as part of the settlement had to relinquish all royalties in respect of the record to a charity of Wilson’s choice – a ruling which they tried unsuccessfully to overturn after Wilson’s death in 1995. The Move were unnerved by the experience, and fired Secunda as their manager shortly afterwards.
Secunda continued his involvement with another ex-Move member, Trevor Burton, when he helped set up and finance a band called Balls, in 1969, with the singer Denny Laine from the Moody Blues. But this venture failed to emulate past success. Secunda became more involved in Regal Zonophone Records, with partner
Denny Cordell. In 1971 he became manager of T. Rex and helped Marc to set up his own record label, T. Rex Wax Co, through EMI. In the process, generating a huge income for Bolan and his band, which often included the handover of suitcases of cash to close deals.. After parting company with Bolan, he managed Steve Peregrin Took, Bolan’s former musical partner from Tyrannosaurus Rex days. Steeleye Span received a taste of Secunda’s publicity-making when he arranged for one of their gigs to be littered with pound notes. Although Secunda seemed the perfect manager during the early days of punk, he instead took on the heavy metal group Motörhead, but that relationship soon ended along with a short run experience Marianne Faithfull which ended with a cash pay-off, after Marianne decided his management style was not suited to her needs. Secunda discovered Chrissie Hynde in the early eighties and placed her on a retainer, so she could leave her day job and concentrate on writing music but appeared to lose interest in backing them at a crucial time, just before they broke through.
As a managerial buccaneer, Secunda was one of the most colourful figures in pop during the mid- to late 60’s.
He died of a heart attack on the 10th February 1995, at the age of 54.