7 January 2012
A Memoir of London in the 1960s
Andrew Loog Oldham
384 pages, Vintage Books (December 15, 2004)
"Andrew Loog Oldham" was nineteen when he discovered and became the manager and producer of an unknown band called "The Rolling Stones". His radical vision transformed them from a penniless South London Blues combo to the greatest rock'n'roll band in the world. Ultra-hip, flash, brash and seeped in Sixties style, he was a hustler of genius, addicted to scandal, notoriety and innovation.
"Andrew Loog Oldham" became a publicist for British and American musicians and for producer "Joe Meek". Among his projects were stints publicizing "Bob Dylan" on his first UK visit and "The Beatles" for "Brian Epstein" in early 1963. In April 1963, a journalist friend recommended that he see a young R&B band called "The Rolling Stones". Oldham saw potential in the group being positioned as an 'anti-Beatles' - a rougher group compared to the 'cuddly moptop' image of "The Beatles" at that time.
Oldham, still a teenager, rapidly acquired a seasoned business partner ("Eric Easton") and took over management of "The Stones" who had been informally represented by "Giorgio Gomelsky". Oldham signed recording rights to "The Rolling Stones" to Decca Records targeting A&R head "Dick Rowe", who had earlier declined to sign "The Beatles".
Among strategies devised and executed by Oldham to propel the group to success:
retaining ownership of the group's master tapes, which were then leased to Decca - an idea learned from "Phil Spector", that allowed greater artistic freedom and financial rewards than a standard recording contract;
bringing "John Lennon" and "Paul McCartney" to the recording studio, which led to their song "I Wanna Be Your Man" becoming "The Rolling Stones"' second single;
encouraging Jagger and Richards to start writing their own songs; and promoting a 'bad boy' image for "The Rolling Stones" in contrast to "The Beatles". Oldham generated widely-reprinted headlines like "Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone?" and provocative album-cover notes such as a satirical incitement to fans to mug a blind beggar for funds to buy the album.