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Larry Page, Kinks and Troggs manager who started out as ‘Larry Page the Teenage Rage’ – obituary

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Published Time: 11.05.2024 - 08:40:26 Modified Time: 11.05.2024 - 08:40:26

The showbiz correspondent of the Sunday Mirror dubbed him ‘Larry Page – the Teenage Rage’ and he toured with Cliff Richard Bob Baker/Redferns Larry Page, who has died aged 87, turned to music production after a short-lived performing career as “Larry Page the Teenage Rage”, becoming the manager of the Troggs, whom he persuaded to record Wild Thing, later an anthem for Jimi Hendrix, and for the Kinks

The showbiz correspondent of the Sunday Mirror dubbed him ‘Larry Page – the Teenage Rage’ and he toured with Cliff Richard

: Bob Baker/Redferns

Larry Page, who has died aged 87, turned to music production after a short-lived performing career as “Larry Page the Teenage Rage”, becoming the manager of the Troggs, whom he persuaded to record Wild Thing, later an anthem for Jimi Hendrix, and for the Kinks.

He was born Leonard Davies at Hayes, Middlesex, on November 9 1936. After leaving school he became a packer at the nearby EMI factory and decided to audition as a singer at the company’s Abbey Road studios. To everyone’s surprise, he was given a contract by Columbia records.

Changing his name to Larry Page, he began attracting public attention when Jack Bentley, showbiz correspondent of the Sunday Mirror, wrote a feature raving about “Larry Page – the Teenage Rage”.

To stay in the media spotlight, Page became engaged to a fan after a whirlwind eight-hour romance. His marriage at Caxton Hall – and the inevitable marital difficulties that followed – made good tabloid copy, as did the accidental blue rinse he sported on a television show.

Page toured the UK with Cliff Richard and performed on Six-Five Special and Thank Your Lucky Stars. But there was one small problem – his voice. Bruce Welsh of the Shadows later described him as “the worst singer I ever heard in my life”, and although Page became the first British performer to record a cover of the Buddy Holly hit That’ll Be The Day, it mainly gained airtime after Kenny Everett on Capital Radio started looking for “The worst record ever made”.

At the end of the 1950s Page retired from the pop business and, after a brief period managing a pub in Wales, was appointed by Eric Morley’s Mecca Enterprises to manage the Orchid Ballroom in Coventry. There, he set about hosting talent contests and established himself as a talent spotter, his finds including Johnny Goodison, who would become Johnny B Great and the Goodmen.

In 1963 Page co-founded a production company and left Coventry for London to act as co-manager to a north London pub group called the Ravens. The band was rechristened the Kinks, and Page was credited with dressing the band in black leather and encouraging them to project a sexier image by using their guitars on stage as “phallic symbols”. He also pushed Ray Davies into the spotlight as the group’s front-man, sharing co-writing credits with Davies for Revenge (1964).

Within a year of Page’s appointment, the Kinks had scored major hits with You Really Got Me, All Day and All of the Night and Tired of Waiting and were rated the third most successful pop group in Britain.

But tensions between Page and his two co-managers, and internal frictions within the band, culminated in Page being shown the door in 1968 after a three-year legal battle, an appeal-court judge observing sympathetically that almost anything a manager might do “could induce hatred and distrust in a group of highly temperamental, jealous and spoilt adolescents”.

In the meantime, Page had enjoyed success helping to organise tours of the UK by American artists including Sonny & Cher. Inspired by the example of the Rolling Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham, who had put together his own orchestra to record instrumental versions of Stones hits, he put together the Larry Page Orchestra and in 1965 released Kinky Music, featuring the future Led Zeppelin member Jimmy Page.


By 1966 Page was managing the Troggs, who had a massive hit that year with their second single, Wild Thing, which reached No 2 in the UK and No 1 in the US. They had a UK No 1 hit the same year with With a Girl Like You and earned helpful publicity when their humorously suggestive I Can’t Control Myself was banned from the airwaves in Australia.

Page was never short of publicity wheezes. In April 1967 he announced that Chris Britton was leaving the Troggs to lead a moral crusade to clean up the pop world. The saga kept the press occupied for several weeks, until Page supposedly persuaded the lead guitarist to return by threatening him with a lawsuit for breach of contract. As Britton admitted years later, it was all a Page-orchestrated hoax. 

By the end of 1967 several more Troggs releases, including Any Way That You Want Me and Love Is All Around had made it into the top 10.

Most of these were released on Page’s own record label, Page One, but the fact that he was also the group’s manager and agent led to an obvious conflict of interest, as Britton recalled: “As manager he was turning around one day and saying, ‘Hey, Larry, how about these boys getting a break from recording and going to America?’ and with his record company hat on he’d say, ‘No, no, we’re going to make money out of them in England!’ ”

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