Neil Young Pays Heartfelt Tribute to Late Manager Elliot Roberts
Neil Young paid a heartfelt tribute to Elliot Roberts, his manager and closest friend for 52 years, who died on June 21 at the age of 76 after a career that included working with Crosby, Stills & Nash, the Eagles, Tom Petty, Yes, Joni Mitchell and many others.
On his website, Young wrote of a devoted parent who’d found his “soul-mate” in partner Dana and would “fly half way around the world just to see his family for one day.”
“We are all heartbroken, but want to share what a great human being Elliot has been,” he said. “Never one to think about himself, he put everyone else first. That’s what he did for me for over fifty years of friendship, love and laughter, managing my life, protecting our art in the business of music. That’s what he did.”
He continued: “Elliot was the funniest human being on earth with his uncanny wit and a heart filled with love. You never knew what he was going to say, but almost always a laugh was coming. Elliot never thought of himself, always someone else … he was so happy for me and the life I had found, with Daryl [Hannah], my wonderful wife and soul sharer.”
Young said the pair had usually been in contact by phone several times every day, “arguing, discussing, planning and sharing.” He described Roberts as a person who loved his work and had been instrumental in cutting countless important deals. “This world is forever changed for me, for all who knew him and loved him. His memory shines with love.” He concluded: “Elliot Roberts was the greatest manager of all time. See you at the gig, Elliot.”
Stephen Stills paid his own tribute in a statement to Rolling Stone, calling Roberts “probably the kindest, gentlest, and far and away the funniest man I ever worked with in show business.” He added: “He was also tough as a barbed wire fence, fiercely loyal and keenly observant; guarding the best interests of his clients with uncommon tenacity and skill. But his greatest gift was his soulful, open heart. … His natural empathy was perfectly suited for his emergence as an enormously impactful personal manager to a collection of the most legendary artists of our time. I am honored to have been his friend, forever grateful that he chose to represent me. I truly loved Elliot Roberts and shall miss him beyond measure.”
Longtime Pearl Jam manager Kelly Curtis shared a story on the band's Instagram account about Roberts that was equally touching and humorous. "Elliot was the first manager to take me under his wing when Pearl Jam was becoming successful in the early 90’s," he explained. "While many managers were trying to take Pearl Jam away from me, Elliot was giving me great advice...mainly, never apologize for your band. One time, someone asked him why he was so nice to me. In a very typical Elliot fashion, he responded, 'Are you kidding? He could get hit by a bus tomorrow and then I would get Pearl Jam.' I was standing right next to him...still makes me laugh."