Mick Jagger with Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham (left), London, 1964. (Photo by Terry O’Neill/Getty Images)
Notorious rock & roll publicist and manager Andrew Loog Oldham started his musical career in 1963 doing PR for The Beatles. (His very first job was as a publicist for iconic fashion designer, Mary Quant.) After heavy needling by Record Mirror journalist Pete Jones, he traveled to see the hot new group the Rollin’ Stones. After witnessing Mick and Keith in all their splendor, Oldham felt it was kismet and his future was sealed.
Oldham saw the Stones as the “anti-Beatles,” a rougher edged, dangerous version of the cutesy Beatles. To this day people around the world ask whether you are a Beatles or a Stones person. The Bad boys vs. the Good boys rivalry was meticulously (and brilliantly) calculated by Oldham. The ambitious Brit was still a teen when he took over management of Mick and the gang and produced every Stones record from ’63-’67. Oldham is only a year younger than Jagger, but that was quite unique as band managers were usually more of a father figure. He regularly had brilliant headlines printed with the quote, “Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone?”
He enlisted Eric Easton as a partner and co-manager of the Stones to aid in procuring financing and a booking agent. The next week, the 19 year old approached the Stones and sold himself to them. Oldham was quick to get them to drop Ian Stewart, (keyboardist) as he was 7 years older and bringing down their youthful image. Shortly after he convinced them to add a “g” to the end of “Rollin’.” In June of ’63, Oldham procured a record contract with Decca Records for the Stones and they produced their first single with, “I Wanna Be Loved,” and a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Come On.”
This is the man that introduced Marianne Faithfull to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and urged her to record their song, “As Tears Go Bye,” which made her famous. In 1965, he went on to start the U.K.’s first independent record label, Immediate Records, that put out 45’s of Nico (which was produced by Jimmy Page), The Poets, P.P. Arnold, The Nice (w/ Keith Emerson), Chris Farlowe (who had a hit with “Out Of Time,” written and produced by Jagger/Richards) and The Small Faces among others. After a falling out with co-manager Eric Easton, Oldham was replaced him with charming New Jersey native Allen Klein, who managed Bobby Darin and Sam Cooke.
Unfortunately, Oldham’s depression worsened while managing the Stones which saw him self-medicating with ghastly amounts of booze and drugs. Seeking professional help led him to an abusive doctor who used excessive electroshock therapy to “cure” him which only left him foggy brained even while sober. The Rolling Stones were sick of his weaknesses by this time and started to turn on him. The year Brian Epstein died of a drug overdose -1967- was also the year the Stones and Oldham parted ways. According to his interview in Variety Magazine it ended so soon because, “When the band runs out of ideas, they no longer need a manager, just an accountant.” Although sources say he disappeared after the Stones many drug busts. Not wanting to get busted himself, he fled to California and worked on the Monterey Pop Festival with Lou Adler and John Phillips. He suggested they hire The Who, Jimi Hendrix, and Otis Redding for the event. The Stones felt abandoned by Oldham and co-manager Allen Klein stood by their side in court and found them lawyers. Klein ended up buying the masters and publishing from Oldham for one million dollars.
Oldham went on to produce albums by Donovan in 1973 and Jimmy Cliff in 1975. Recently, Oldham has been working with Canadian artist Che Aimee Dorval, signing her to his label and releasing her second EP titled, “Volume One.” In 2013, Dorval sang Rolling Stones covers, “As Tears Go By,” and “Under My Thumb” for Oldham’s album “Andrew Oldham Orchestra and Friends play the Rolling Stones Songbook Vol. 2.”
Quotes by Andrew Loog Oldham-
“The Beatles looked like they were in show business, and that was the important thing. And the important thing for the Rolling Stones was to look as if they were not.”
“I do have issues with the fact that music is so accessible nowadays. When I was growing up, we had to find our music; we had to fight for it. But hey, you live in the age that you’re born in, and you get on with it.”
“Today it feels as if rock’n’roll has sort of turned in on its self, kids are ‘rockin’ to the same groups their parents do/did. We’ve seen it recently with The Stone Roses reunion shows, quite unique but is it healthy. Wasn’t the 60’s about rebelling against the tastes of your parents?
“I get to listen to a lot of this music again doing my DJ work on Little Steven’s Underground Garage. To hear Van [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Morrison] on Them’s version of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”— what a vocal, and what an arrangement. Also, I get to hear so many records that I missed the first time around — The Chocolate Watchband, Roky Erikson. It’s an audio food fest, a total privilege, a second chance.”
“I was watching that great music show hosted by that awful Jools Holland. They really should inject his hands with cocaine so that he cannot play piano any more. I’ve watched him walk all over Bill Medley, Amy Winehouse, Paul Weller. I’m sure he went to the Russ Conway piano school… Anyway, Later With Jools Holland, that’s the show and a very good show it is apart from Jools (who looks like Bernard Cribbins in pimp gear).”
“Of course, you can take it too far. Someone told me that David Bowie used to go into chat rooms pretending to be someone else and asking questions about David Bowie. The story does not have to be true, but it is delicious. Brian Jones used to do that before the Internet. I just heard the new Bowie single; he seems to be cloning the worst of Scott Walker. As I’ve said old people make old music. As for your point about The Stone Roses, whom I love the same way I love Bruce Willis, meaning I love the aura, I’m just not sure about the content.”
“The great artists represent you. The great products represent you. They don’t tell you who you are. But with them, you require less verbiage.”
“You have to jump into the pool before you know whether there’s water in it.”