Table of Contents

Having graduated in Economics at Newcastle University in 1977, Tony Wadsworth spent the next two years playing guitar in a new wave band, before working in a succession of small record labels, culminating in a short period at RCA, followed by his arrival in 1982 at EMI Records.

As the chairman of EMI, he relaunched the legendary Parlophone label in the early 1990s, and as the label’s managing director achieved notable breakthroughs with Radiohead, Blur, Pet Shop Boys and Foo Fighters, as well as worldwide hits with established stars such as Queen, Tina Turner and Paul McCartney.

In 1998 he was promoted to the role of Chairman & CEO EMI Music UK, leading all of the company’s UK labels, including Capitol, EMI, Virgin, Chrysalis and Parlophone, as well as the company’s recording studios Olympic, Townhouse and the Abbey Road Studios.

After the turn of the century he was a regular guest at Kate’s home, although this didn’t immediately result in new work from her.

She’s someone who’s got a very clear creative vision, and the idea of conventional A&R is not applicable. I was very, very eager, like anybody else would be, to hear some new Kate Bush music. But, you get a very clear sense when you’re not gonna hear anything. Though it didn’t stop me from asking.

Tom Doyle, Trevor Leighton, ‘”Weak? Frail? Mentally unstable? Fuck Off!” MOJO (UK), December 2005

In 2008, after 26 years at EMI and 10 years at the top of the UK company, he stepped down soon after its acquisition by a private equity company. Wadsworth became a Council member of the industry trade association, the BPI, in 1998, and was Chairman of the Brits annual awards show for three years from 2000–2002, during which time he established the Brits independent TV production company Brits TV.

He is a Trustee of the EMI Music Sound Foundation, a charity devoted to improving young people’s access to music education and a Trustee of the EMI Archive Trust. He is a non-executive board director of BIMM, the market leader in popular music higher education, and additionally has commercial interests ranging from ethical ticketing to a vinyl record store.