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Stiff Records founder Dave Robinson brings his one man show to Folkestone

Founder of Stiff Records Dave Robinson's life reads like a who's who of the music industry from back in the day.

The music legend, who brings his one-man show to Folkestone this week, started out as a photographer in his teens in Dublin, opened the first Beat Club in Ireland, took pictures for Rave magazine at the Cavern with The Beatles, and went on the Rolling Stones' first tour of Ireland.

Dave Robinson of Stiff Records will bring his one man show in Folkestone
Dave Robinson of Stiff Records will bring his one man show in Folkestone

A friend of Van Morrison's, he was Jimi Hendrix’s road and tour manager for his first UK tour with Pink Floyd - even sharing flats with Jimi and Noel Reading in London and touring with The Experience across America.

He partied and clubbed with the likes of The Grateful Dead, Janice Joplin, The Who, Jim Morrison and the Doors and later managed Ian Dury and Elvis Costello.

In London, he single-handedly created a network of 35 pubs where bands could play what they liked, which became the forerunner of punk.

After building his own recording studio above the legendary Hope and Anchor Pub in Islington, with Jake Riviera he started Stiff Records which signed music names that are now the stuff of legend, from The Damned, Motorhead, Elvis Costello and Ian Dury & The Blockheads to Kirsty McColl, The Pogues and Madness.

Life since the label has been no less busy, as president of Island Records, overseeing the careers of U2, Robert Palmer and Frankie Goes to Hollywood, compiling and marketing Bob Marley’s Legend album, and still involved in music today.

A true raconteur, there's a rare chance to hear about the people, the parties, the madness and more with his one-man show, named after a familiar slogan to all those who owned a Stiff Records album or single decades ago.

Ahead of the show, we asked him to pick his top five Stiff Records singles:

1. Alison - Elvis Costello

A really wonderful song from Elvis Costello taken from his debut album on Stiff Records and was recorded before Elvis Costello and the Attractions formed. The backing band on Alison was American group Clover. Elvis is still touring to this day.

Singer Ian Dury Picture: Mick Hill
Singer Ian Dury Picture: Mick Hill

2. Hit me with your Rhythm Stick - Ian Dury

Stiff's first No.1 and really a very unlikely track to get radio play, but it did and it went to No.1. Unfortunately Ian passed over to the great R & R tour in the sky in 2000, but what a great wordsmith & poet he was.

3. You'll always find me in the Kitchen at Parties - Jona Lewie

A great sentiment indeed about the guy who was too shy to mix with the crowd and was a bit of a loner, but sung here to a great rhythm. Jona is still treading the boards.

4. My Girl - Madness

What can you say about the nation's darlings? They go from strength to strength and are also still touring - we taught them well!

The Damned New Rose (Stiff Records, 1976)
The Damned New Rose (Stiff Records, 1976)

5. New Rose - The Damned

The very first punk rock band to release a single in the UK and I think this is still a great garage rock song. The Damned are going strong and possibly bigger than ever.


Dave Robinson is at HUSH upstairs at The Eleto Chocolate Cafe at 12-14 Rendezvous Street, Folkestone, on Friday, October 18. Doors open at 7.30pm, for 8pm. For tickets at £14 go to wegottickets.com or call 01303 311707.

To find out what’s going on in the county and for all the latest entertainment news click here.

Dave went on tour with Jimi Hendrix
Dave went on tour with Jimi Hendrix
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