2 minute read

On a Roll

Enter Andrew

The publicity machine that powered the rise of the Beatles was made up of many parts. One small wheel in this machine was a young Englishman named Andrew Loog Oldham. The son of a working-class single mother, Andrew never met his father, who was killed in World War II. Growing up, Andrew never had much in the way of material possessions, and he used to dream that he was a character in a movie. He could feel the entertainment business in his bones, and he worked hard to sharpen his skills.

After years of private school, where he would talk his way in and out of trouble and scam older authorities for better television privileges, he worked a number of odd jobs related to the London club scene. Whether it was working in a bar or as a show promoter, Andrew believed that any job involved with entertainment was a job for him. He eventually found himself a job working in publicity with the Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein.

One day, Andrew received a call from a journalist telling him that he had to check out the Rolling Stones, a new band that people were buzzing about. Andrew went to see them, and based both on the band's sound and the crowd's reaction, he decided that he wanted to manage them. There was a gap in the British rock scene, and Andrew saw the Stones as being the band to fill it. After a few conversations with his partner, Eric Easton, they approached the Stones and made them an offer. On May 6, 1963, the Stones signed a three-year contract with Eric Easton and Andrew Oldham's new company, Impact Sound.

Now that the band was not on their own, new gates were opening up for them. Eric Easton was a long-time member of the show-business community, and as a former organ player, he knew many of the clubs outside of London. Booking the Stones in these would mean more exposure and a greater chance of reaching the same level of popularity as the Beatles.

One early sign of the new management's influence was the dismissal of Ian Stewart. Stu was a little older than the others (except Bill) and had a look that didn't match the hair and clothes of the others. Andrew felt that the band's image was just as important as their music, and he had a plan of how he wanted to present them. He wanted them to be like the darker side of the Beatles. Having a shorthaired guy playing piano simply would not do.

Although the entire band was against it, Brian broke the news to Stu that he would no longer be a full-time member of the band. He was told that he would be treated equally behind the scenes, but it was still an insult to a man who had been a part of the band since the beginning. As it would turn out, Stu would be an important part of the band until his death, but never as an up-front member.

Additional topics

Musician BiographiesThe Rolling StonesOn a Roll - A New Rolling Stone, Watts Happening, Stone Steady, Enter Andrew, Contracting A Contract