Veteran manager was diagnosed with cancer in August
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Young, who won acclaim for his work with Radiohead, Adele, Pink and Lorde, is remembered by colleagues as one of the best in the business
By Jon Chapple on 26 Apr 2021
Richard Young, the well-liked British production manager known for his work with Radiohead and Adele, has died aged 47.
Young began his production career in the 90s, having formed Catapult Productions in 1993, and cut his teeth working with Radiohead, succeeding Brian Ormond as the band’s production manager in 2003.
After getting his break with Radiohead, he went on to serve in similar roles for a who’s who of rock and pop, including Pink, Nine Inch Nails, Dido, Duran Duran, Will Young, Lorde and Adele, serving as PM for the record-breaking Adele Live 2016 tour.
When lockdown came in March 2020, he was on tour with the 1975, who had just wrapped up their European tour in Dublin.
During the pandemic, he had been working with Creative Technology on its livestreaming platform, Unity, as he explained to TPi last September.
Young passed on Friday (23 April) after being diagnosed with cancer. A tribute page on the website MuchLoved, set up by Young’s family, aims to provide a place online for friends and colleagues to share thoughts, memories and photos of Young.
Creative Technology’s head of music and touring, Graham Miller, says Young was “the master of asking the difficult technical questions, so you really had to be on your game – which I loved! He really wanted to understand every element of his incredibly technical productions. I even remember Richard getting involved in our LED load-in in rehearsals, just to understand how it all worked better.
“He brought so many of my dreams to life with such care and commitment”
“We worked together on some amazing shows, including the Adele arena and stadium shows, but I probably enjoyed the last couple of years the most, where we we met up for the odd lunch or dinner and just chatted as friends. He was an inspiring guy – the best at what he did, but still had the capacity to constantly think of other business opportunities or take a slanted view of how things were being done and asked if they could be done in a different better way. Richard, I will miss you.”
Torsten Block, who worked with Young in 2007 on a Pink show in Germany, remembers the late PM as a welcome antidote to the “difficult people” he usually worked with at the time. “You were different: Friendly, goal-oriented and every time calm and relaxed,” he writes.
“I met Richard when I was 16, just before one of my first-ever tours. I remember immediately feeling such warmth, kindness and mischief coming from the tall Englishman who I had just been told would be my production manager – almost before I knew what a production manager was!” recalls Ella Yelich-O’Connor, better known as the singer Lorde. “He, myself and [tour manager] Peter Yozell were the wrecking crew for that first tour, and we had so many giggles between us.
“Richard treated me like an adult from the moment I met him – he never doubted or questioned the validity of my ideas, unless they were going to put us over budget! I looked forward to his knocks on my dressing room door where I’d throw my latest harebrained scheme at him, and he’d shoot very straight and immediately tell me what would be possible. I loved how no-bullshit he was, and I genuinely loved working with him. And he was always up for a joke around! We had so many fun times together: lovely big group dinners on South American tours, little chats backstage at festivals, and, of course, he steered us through every tech rehearsal block with a calm and steady hand.
“We built such beautiful things together – he brought so many of my dreams to life with such care and commitment. I’ll always remember that about him.”
Young’s family are raising funds for Cancer Research UK in his memory. To donate, click here.
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