PRS for Music pays tribute to Dr Wayne Bickerton, 1941-2015

Wayne Bickerton, songwriter and who had served as Chairman and Acting Chief Executive of the Performing Right Society, passed away this weekend.

Wayne Bickerton

Veteran British songwriter, record producer and music industry executive Dr Wayne Bickerton passed away on Saturday 28 November. He is survived by his wife, Carole Bickerton.

Raised in Liverpool and a contemporary of The Beatles and part of the Merseybeat phenomenon, he became a full-time musician at a young age when he toured as a bassist and singer with ex-Beatle drummer Pete Best.

Whilst producing albums at Deram Records, he began writing songs with his partner Tony Waddington and together they penned such international chart-topping hits as Sugar Baby Love, Nothing But a Heartache, Can’t Stop Loving You, along with many more, which resulted in him winning an Ivor Novello award for Songwriter of the Year in 1976.

He moved to Polydor/Polygram as Head of A&R, signing acts including Slade, The New Seekers, and Billy Connolly. He also went on to establish the Odyssey Group which included State/Odyssey Music, State Records, and the Reliable Source Music library.

A writer member since 1968, Wayne was elected as a PRS Director in 1976 and served a three year tenure as the society’s Chairman and acting Chief Executive in the 1990s where he was widely regarded for his tireless lobbying for better protection for writers and publishers.

In 1997 he became Chairman of SESAC International, supervising all the Society’s activities outside the USA and applied his vast experience acquired over 50 years in copyright matters and the workings of the international music industry to the advantage of all songwriters and publishers.

His contribution to the music industry has been invaluable, and he will be remembered by all who had the pleasure of meeting and working alongside him for his wisdom, vast knowledge and typical brand of Northern wit.


Wayne’s impact as a songwriter, producer and businessman over the decades will be felt by the industry for years to come.

He leaves that very rare legacy of success both as an award-winning creator of music and as a prominent figure in the business.

Robert Ashcroft

We were saddened to hear of the passing of Wayne Bickerton. Wayne’s legacy as a leading figure in the music industry, a successful record producer and a celebrated songwriter is a rare one and we are honoured that he served as Chairman of this organisation during his career.

Our thoughts are with Wayne’s wife, Carole and all their family and friends at this sad time.

Guy Fletcher, PRS Chairman

On behalf of PRS for Music, we extend our condolences to Wayne’s family, friends and colleagues.

About PRS for Music

Here for music since 1914, PRS for Music is a world-leading music collective management organisation representing the rights of more than 175,000 talented songwriters, composers and music publishers. Redefining the global standard for music royalties, PRS for Music ensures songwriters and composers are paid whenever their musical compositions and songs are streamed, downloaded, broadcast, performed and played in public. 

For 110 years it has grown and protected the rights of the music creator community, paying out royalties with more accuracy, transparency and speed. In 2023, PRS for Music paid out £943.6m in royalties and collected a record £1.08 billion in revenues.

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