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

John Reid
Background information
Born (1949-09-09) September 9, 1949 (age 70)
Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Occupation(s)Music manager
Years active1967–1999, 2005

Early lifeEdit

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 of singers Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan. He then attended Stow College in Glasgow, where he studied marine propulsion, but dropped out in 1969.[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.

He had met Elton John, then known as Reg Dwight, at a Motown Christmas party. They moved in with each other, became lovers, and John became Reid's first client.[1] Their personal relationship stopped after five years, but he remained John's manager until 1998. Their professional relationship ended over a leaked letter from John's accountants detailing Reid'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 Elton £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 is alleged to have punched the Auckland model and journalist Judith Baragwanath[7] who 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]

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.[11]

Reid retired from management in 1999.[6]

In 2005, Reid was a judge on the Australian version of The X Factor alongside Mark Holden and Kate Ceberano.

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.[12] Both actors are known for their roles in fantasy drama series Game of Thrones.[13]

Personal lifeEdit

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

Reid currently lives in London.[15] He is openly gay.


  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.
  3. ^ Perrone, Pierre (12 May 1998). "Arts: Sorry seems to be the hardest word". The Independent.
  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.
  6. ^ a b c d "Turning raw talent into TV stars". The Age. 14 May 2005.
  7. ^ Drayton, Joanne. Hudson & Halls : the food of love. Dunedin, New Zealand. ISBN 1988531268. 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: Pan. ISBN 0330377345. OCLC 45337745.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ "Lord of dance appears to fall flat on his ego". Irish Times. 21 October 1998.
  12. ^ Pond, Steve (16 May 2019). "Film Review: Elton John Gets a Musical Fantasy That Sometimes Achieves Liftoff". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  13. ^ Romano, Evan (28 May 2019). "A Different 'Game of Thrones' Star Plays the Same Character in Both 'Rocketman' and 'Bohemian Rhapsody'". Mens'Health. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  14. ^ Lister, David (30 November 1998). "John Reid, guru to Elton John, sells art collection to 'simplify his life'". The Independent.
  15. ^ "Elton bought me a yacht for my birthday, so I gave a emerald ring worth a million". Scottish Daily Mail (30 Oct 2018).