John Reid (music manager)

John Reid (born 9 September 1949) is a Scottish former music manager, known for being the manager and former lover of singer Elton John, as well as for managing the British rock band Queen.

John Reid
Born (1949-09-09) 9 September 1949 (age 73)
Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Occupation(s)Music manager
Years active1967–1999, 2005-2006

Life and careerEdit

Reid was born in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland, the son of John Reid, a welder, and Betty, a shop worker. Apart from three years in New Zealand, he was brought up in the Gallowhill district of Paisley. He attended St Mirin's Academy, where he was a fellow pupil with singers Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan. At the age of 16 he attended Stow College in Glasgow where he studied marine engineering, but dropped out to move to London in 1967.[1]

Reid began his music management career in 1967 at the age of 18 as a promoter for EMI. At the age of 19, he became the Tamla Motown label manager for the UK. In 1971, Reid set up his own company with a few hundred pounds in savings and a £5,000 loan.

In 1970, Reid met Elton John, then known as Reg Dwight, at a Motown Christmas party. They moved in with each other, and began a romantic relationship as well as a business one, as John became Reid's first client.[1] Their personal relationship ended after five years, but he remained John's manager until 1998. Their professional relationship ended over a leaked letter detailing John's spending, which was found by Benjamin Pell and published in the Daily Mirror.[2] The ending of their business relationship in 1998[3] led to a legal action in 2000.[4] Reid settled out of court by paying John £3.4 million.[5][6] Reid's company earned more than £73 million from representing John between 1970 and 1998.[6]

In 1974, in New Zealand, in a widely reported incident, Reid threw champagne in the face of a party host and punched the Auckland model and journalist Judith Baragwanath in the face[7] when she came to the man's defence, sending her to the floor.[8][9] Later the same night he was involved in an altercation with a second journalist at a nightclub.[10] He was convicted and sentenced to a month in prison for assault,[1][10] and settled with Baragwanath for NZ $2500.[11] Between 1975 and 1978, Reid was the manager of British rock group Queen.[6]

In 1994, he was the manager for Irish dancer Michael Flatley. After Flatley left Riverdance and ended his relationship with Reid, Flatley paid Reid approximately £1 million to settle a wrongful termination lawsuit.[12] Reid retired from management in 1999.[6] In 2005 and 2006, Reid was a judge on the Australian version of The X Factor alongside Mark Holden and Kate Ceberano.[13]

In 1998, Reid sold his art collection, estimated to have been worth £2 million.[14]

In popular cultureEdit

Reid was portrayed by Aidan Gillen in the 2018 Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, and by Richard Madden in the 2019 Elton John biopic Rocketman.[15]


  1. ^ a b c "For 28 years John Reid and Elton John were closer than husband and wife". Daily Record (Scotland). 13 May 1998.
  2. ^ Boggan, Steve (14 March 1998). "Hacker stole secrets of stars from dustbins". The Independent. Archived from the original on 13 June 2022.
  3. ^ Perrone, Pierre (12 May 1998). "Arts: Sorry seems to be the hardest word". The Independent. Archived from the original on 13 June 2022.
  4. ^ "Leaked letter 'enraged' Sir Elton". BBC News. 4 December 2000.
  5. ^ O'Neill, Sean (17 November 2000). "Ex-manager hears singer talk of 'betrayal'". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022.
  6. ^ a b c d "Turning raw talent into TV stars". The Age. 14 May 2005.
  7. ^ Drayton, Joanne (2018). Hudson & Halls : the food of love. Dunedin, New Zealand. ISBN 978-1-988531-26-7. OCLC 1036733710.
  8. ^ Baragwanath, Judith (7 September 2002). "Punch and Judy". The New Zealand Listener.
  9. ^ du Chateau, Carroll (November 1987). ""La Baragwanath: The Confessions of a Café Queen"". Metro magazine.
  10. ^ a b Norman, Philip, 1953- (2001). Sir Elton (New ed.). London, England: Pan. ISBN 0-330-37734-5. OCLC 45337745.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ Baragwanath, Judith (7 September 2002). "PUNCH AND JUDY". The New Zealand Listener.
  12. ^ "Lord of dance appears to fall flat on his ego". The Irish Times. 21 October 1998.
  13. ^ "Elton John and John Reid's Relationship Imploded After What We See in Rocketman". Esquire. 30 May 2019.
  14. ^ Lister, David (30 November 1998). "John Reid, guru to Elton John, sells art collection to 'simplify his life'". The Independent. Archived from the original on 13 June 2022.
  15. ^ Pond, Steve (16 May 2019). "Film Review: Elton John Gets a Musical Fantasy That Sometimes Achieves Liftoff". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 May 2019.