Meet Ray Williams: The Man Who Discovered Elton John

Aug 21, 2017

Ray Williams
Credit Elizabeth Eason / Ray Williams

As a teenager in England in the 1960s, Ray Williams soaked up the sounds of one of British pop’s most iconic eras. After spending years listening to popular music, he got a front-row seat to it all when he landed a job working for Cathy McGowan, presenter of the music television show “Ready Steady Go!”

 

From there, Williams quickly rose in the ranks of the music industry and became a press agent for artists like Sonny & Cher, The Kinks and Tommy Roe. He eventually took on the role as head of artists and repertoire for Liberty Records.

One day he came across a singer and piano player named Reginald Dwight, who would quickly become famous under the name Elton John.

Williams paired John with lyricist Bernie Taupin, and a successful musical relationship was born. Williams then served as John’s personal manager for the beginning of his career. Throughout the years, Williams has also been a musical supervisor for dozens of films, including “Saving Grace” and the award-winning movie “The Last Emperor.”

Today Williams runs Crumbs Music Media, a company that helps emerging artists license their music for films and TV. Host Frank Stasio talks with Williams about his career in the music industry.