Island Records founder named ‘most influential person in music in the last 50 years’

U2 mentor Rob Partridge is also honoured at the ceremony

The man who discovered Bob Marley and nurtured U2 was named the most influential UK-based music industry executive of the last 50 years’ at the Music Week awards in London last night (April 8).

Chris Blackwell won the award after being chosen from a shortlist of 20 music industry professionals, including The Beatles‘ producer George Martin, Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis, Richard Branson and legendary producer Mickie Most

Blackwell, who set up Island Records in 1959, discovered Bob Marley in 1972 and helped him to become a global star. He also signed the likes of Roxy Music, Jimmy Cliff, and Nick Drake, as well as producing various records, including Millie Small‘s version of ‘My Boy Lollipop’.

The late Rob Partridge, the founder of the Coalition PR group, was also honoured at the ceremony, posthumously receiving The Strat award.

Partridge – who was Head Of Press at Island during his career – died last November after losing his battle with cancer.

In 1980, he recommended Blackwell sign U2. Speaking via a video message at the awards, Bono paid tribute to Partridge, reports Music Week.

“I think it’s fair to say that you believed in us before we believed in ourselves,” Bono said.

Duffy manager,Jeanette Lee was presented the award for Manager Of The Year at the awards. Lee, a former member of Public Image Limited, also co-owns Rough Trade along with Geoff Travis.