Steve O'Rourke

Steve O'Rourke

Steve O'Rourke(birth date|1940|10|1|df=y – death date and age|2003|10|30|1940|10|1|df=y) was born in Willesden, London, England. He was well known for being manager of the highly influential rock band Pink Floyd after the departure of Syd Barrett in 1968 until his death. He also had to weather the band's falling-out with member Roger Waters.

He first managed Pink Floyd while working at the Bryan Morrison Agency, then NEMS Enterprises. Later, he founded his own company, EMKA Productions, named after his first daughter Emma and Katheryne (he had another daughter and three sons).

He was a trustee of The Music Sound Foundation and of Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy.

O'Rourke suffered a stroke and died in Miami, Florida, USA, in 2003. His funeral service was held on 14 November 2003 at Chichester Cathedral in Sussex, England, where as a tribute, Pink Floyd members David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Nick Mason performed together in public for the first time since October 1994. They played "Fat Old Sun" and "The Great Gig in the Sky", with Dick Parry playing the saxophone as he followed the coffin.

Racing career

O'Rourke also built a highly successful parallel career as an enthusiastic gentleman racing driver - a lifelong passion which he shared with the Floyd's drummer Nick Mason and, to a lesser extent, with David Gilmour. He adored Historic racing with cars of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

His ambition to compete at the Le Mans 24 Hours was realised in 1979 when he finished a creditable 12th in his Ferrari 512 BB. He returned to Le Mans in 1980, but after a tire exploded at nearly 200mph on the Mulsanne Straight, O'Rourke bought the spare tail of a retired sister Ferrari in the pit lane in order to finish. His car completed the race wearing green forward bodywork and a red tail.

In 1981 he founded EMKA Racing and began competition in a BMW M1 with Derek Bell. For Le Mans he was joined by David Hobbs and Eddie Jordan. O'Rourke left the circuit on the night of the race to oversee a Pink Floyd concert in London, then flew back the next morning and jumped straight into the car for another two-hour driving stint.

His team would later become supported by Aston Martin and he would assist in the construction of a Group C sportscar for Le Mans in 1983. The car saw success by 1985, when the car briefly led the 24-Hours in the hands of co-driver Tiff Needell and finished ahead of the works-backed Jaguars, to O'Rourke's great amusement. However the team would briefly fold as Aston Martin left the project.

In 1991 he and David Gilmour co-drove a Jaguar C-Type in the PanAmerican retro race through Mexico, surviving a dramatic crash with only a broken leg. The events were covered in La Carrera Panamericana - a film about the race, which included a soundtrack of previously released tracks and new tracks from Pink Floyd.

In 1991 he would resurrect EMKA Racing and begin varied participation in the British GT Championship, BPR Global GT Series, and FIA GT Championship. He would earn the British GT GT2 class drivers championship with co-driver Tim Sugden in 1997, then again in the GT1 class in 1998. However O'Rourke greatest racing success came while co-driving a second-hand McLaren F1 GTR at Le Mans with Tim Sugden and Bill Auberlen to finish fourth overall. Having saved money by refusing the costly update pack for the McLaren, O'Rourke typically spent as much again on a huge party for all concerned in the EMKA team's success.

From 2000 O'Rourke would concentrate on the FIA GT Championship driving a Porsche until he was forced to retire from driving for health reasons; he then presided over the drivers Tim Sugden, Martin Short, and factory Porsche driver Emmanuel Collard as they won at Pergusa and Anderstorp. Porsche responded by offering racing assistance to the EMKA factory for the 2004 season, to the delight of O'Rourke. Unfortunately O'Rourke's death soon after the end of the 2003 season would lead to EMKA Racing folding.

Other artists

Other artists managed by O'Rourke include

*Chris Thomas, record producer
* Heath Lefke, Production Manager

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