Monday, April 29, 2013

Fifty years ago today The Rolling Stones signed their first management deal

The men who signed them were Eric Easton, an agent, and Andrew Oldham, a PR man.

On the same day Oldham, who was only 19, took pianist Ian Stewart aside and told him he was no longer in the group and would henceforth have to settle for being their road manager. Oldham had decided that Stewart's prominent jaw spoiled the perfect picture made by the other five. Stewart wasn't the first and he wouldn't be the last to be fired because his face didn't fit. Oldham's decision may have been callous but it was the right one.

Oldham told me that he only met the Rolling Stones because of a train. It was the early sixties. On Sundays London was closed. His custom was to go and see his mother in Hampstead for lunch and then while away the afternoon much as Tony Hancock had done. Somebody had told him that this interesting new group played sessions at the Railway Hotel in Richmond on Sunday afternoon. He looked at the north London line and worked out that he could get the train directly from Hampstead Heath to Richmond.

So he did. The rest is a blog entry. Fifty years later they're still gigging.


  1. He might have got away with it if he'd just had a fringe. With that haircut he looks like their Dad.

    It's one of the core subtexts of 20th Century history. Everything was decided by haircuts. Culture, politics, the lot.

  2. One might say that for Ian Stewart it was a jaw-dropping experience.

  3. There's something to be said for the importance and influence of trains and rail travel on 20th century music. The rocking rhythms of blues and jazz. The migration of blues players from the Delta to Chigaco, shifting the tools of the trade from acoustic to electric.

    Jagger and Richards meeting at Dartford station, Rod and Long John Baldry at another. Paul Simon's d". Paul Simon's Homeward Bound written at Widnes station.. Bowie's Nazi Salute at Victoria (a Euro-commuter as he refused to fly)

    That's before you start spotting a list of train songs...

  4. Anonymous4:22 pm

    Mikey - you're right. I honestly thought the guy at bottom right was Eric Easton, the agent DH mentions.

    Mind, do any pictures exist of the newly mop-topped Beatles with a still-bequiffed drummer, be it Pete or Ringo?