Two media magnates meet in The Paragon, circa 1979.


It was around 1979 when my sister Natalie worked as a waitress in The Paragon, we were both still in high school. One day she came home very excited, saying she had got a $20 tip, a lot of money back then. She was even more excited because she got it from someone famous.  As I recall, dinner conversation went something like this:

“I was getting ready to have my break, when Mrs Simos asked if I would open up the VIP room and work through my break, as two limousines had just parked out the front. And guess what, one of them was… Robert Stigwood!

“Who… is Robert Stigwood?” asked our dad.

“Dad… he owns the Bee Gees!” I chimed. The Bee Gees, Saturday Night Fever, Grease… at that time they were at the height of their fame, all were projects of Stigwood, and we had some of their albums, which we showed to our dad, complete with the red RSO (Robert Stigwood Organization) logo.

“Never heard of him” said my dad, disparagingly.  

“There was another guy with him. Rupert somebody…” said Natalie.

“Not… Rupert Murdoch?” said my dad, his interest piqued.

 “That’s him!” said my sister.

A small discussion about who was more famous was never resolved, thanks to the generation gap, and differences of opinion about what defines fame.

“Rupert Murdoch could buy and sell that Stigwood guy” said dad. He was right on that point, knowing a thing or two about relative wealth, being the manager of Katoomba CBC bank at the time.

“In 50 years few people will remember Stigwood, but Murdoch will be well known.”

Turned out he was right on that point too.  

But of you look at the long list of singers and films that Stigwood produced, that could change in the future too. Classics have a habit of not being recognized without the benefit of hindsight. To us teenagers in 1979, Stigwood was a legend, even if only because of his red RSO logo on all those great albums.

In any case, my sister has reasons not to forget who he was.

Twenty reasons, in fact.

© Glen David Short, 27 Feb 2016