Tom Watkins, the brash ‘spiel merchant’ behind Pet Shop Boys and Bros
Provocative, hedonistic and acid-tongued, he admitted that he wanted to be as famous as his protégés
Tom Watkins, who has died of cancer at the age of 70, was an exuberant pop manager who guided the stellar careers of the Pet Shop Boys, Bros and East 17; a long run of hit singles and platinum albums were a fitting testament to his brilliant marketing talents.
Watkins pioneered school tours, which often featured the young singers performing at morning assembly with a sock tucked down their trousers. “We are peddling sex,” he admitted in 1999. “Young children are sexually aware at those ages.”
As to the charge that he was exploiting the nation’s youth, the sharp-tongued Watkins replied: “Get real! Grow up! What do you want me to do, sell them a £75 computer game instead?”..