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Working towards Level 5 Understand, describe, select or retrieve information from texts Identifying key points in information texts Born Simon Philip Cowell on 7 October 1959 in London, England. His father, Eric Philip Cowell, was an estate agent developer and music industry executive. His mother, Julie Brett, was a former ballet dancer and socialite. Cowell attended school at Dover College but dropped out at 16. He floated in and out of jobs, sabotaging several interviews for jobs set up by his father. He finally landed a job at his father’s company as a mailroom clerk at EMI music publishing. He managed to earn a position as an assistant to an A&R executive at EMI in 1979 where he was promoted and given the job of talent scout. Cowell left EMI during the early 1980s to form E&S music with his boss at EMI, Ellis Rich. Upgrade English Levels 4–5 © Hodder & Stoughton Limited 2012
Working towards Level 5 Understand, describe, select or retrieve information from texts Identifying key points in information texts The company [E&S Music] created several hits, but Cowell left by mutual agreement a few years later. In 1985, he and a partner formed the independent label Fanfare Records, which enjoyed short-lived success. The company folded in 1989. In financial straits, Cowell was forced to move back in with his family. Undeterred, Cowell signed on as a consultant with BMG Records later that same year. He moved back into his own place, and gradually climbed the corporate ladder at BMG. He managed to sign a string of successful acts for the company, selling more than 150 million records and 70 top-charting singles in the UK and United States. In 2001, Cowell teamed up with Simon Fuller to produce a show in which the public chooses Britain’s next big music performance star. The show, ‘Pop Idol’, debuted in the UK and promised a BMG record deal to the winner. With Cowell as a judge notorious for reducing contestants to tears, the show was an instant success, drawing more than 10 000 would-be stars to audition for the show. Upgrade English Levels 4–5 © Hodder & Stoughton Limited 2012
Working towards Level 5 Understand, describe, select or retrieve information from texts Identifying key points in information texts The American version, ‘American Idol’, debuted in 2002, with Cowell once again judging alongside singer Paula Abdul and producer Randy Jackson. The show drew in a record number of viewers for Fox, in addition to producing pop stars … In 2004, Entertainment Weekly named Simon Cowell as one of the Top Entertainers of the Year. In 2006, he renewed his contract with ‘American Idol’ for five more seasons; the deal gave him a yearly salary of $40 million. That same year, he was named Variety’s UK Personality of the Year. In 2007, Cowell earned the No. 3 slot on the Forbes TV Faces List, and No. 21 on Forbes’ Celebrity 100 Power List. Upgrade English Levels 4–5 © Hodder & Stoughton Limited 2012
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