Dave Robinson


Madness Discography - Dave Robinson


Nickname: Robbo

Full Name: David Robinson

Date of Birth: 05/14/1944

Place of Birth: Drumcondra, Dublin, Ireland


David Robinson (born 14 May 1944), is an Irish music executive, music video director, record producer, music manager, and photographer. He is best known as the co-founder with Jake Riviera of Stiff Records, where he signed up The Damned, Tracey Ullman, Kirsty MacColl, The Pogues, and Madness. He had also managed Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds and Ian Dury before signing them up to Stiff.

Robinson was born in Drumcondra, Dublin. He left Ireland while he was still a teenager and was hired as a photographer at Butlins Bognor Regis. From there he had jobs in London. He started with Rave magazine, where he was a photographer. He took photographs of The Beatles in The Cavern Club in Liverpool and then went on to photograph The Rolling Stones as the official photographer for their first tour Ireland.

Robinson went on to manage Irish band Eire Apparent on a tour bill that included The Nice, The Move, Pink Floyd, Amen Corner and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. He went on to become a tour manager for Jimi Hendrix from his first tour of the UK until just before his death. Robinson also built a makeshift eight-track recording studio in the downstairs of the Hope and Anchor, Islington, and he created a network of 35 pubs in London where bands could play what they liked.

Robinson co-founded Stiff Records in August 1976 with his business partner Jake Riviera, with a £400 loan from the Dr. Feelgood lead singer Lee Brilleaux. He started as managing director, and started signing up The Damned, Motörhead, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Tracey Ullman, The Plasmatics, Jona Lewie, Ian Dury & The Blockheads, Kirsty MacColl, The Box Tops, The Adverts, Lene Lovich, The Pogues, and Madness, amongst others.

Stiff merged with Island Records between 1984 and 1985, with Robinson becoming President of the record company, while still head of Stiff. Later Robinson admitted that the merger was a mistake. He said “Island was in a bad financial state and I spent too much time worrying about his label and not enough about my own. I had a big hand in the success of Legend, the Bob Marley compilation; U2 went multi-platinum; and I had a lot to do with the marketing of Frankie Goes to Hollywood. (Chris) Blackwell (the founder of Island Records) kind of double-crossed me after I’d essentially saved his arse”. Stiff again became an independent again after the demerger, however by 1986 Stiff had gone into liquidation and was sold to ZTT records for £300,000.


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