A Personal History of the British Record Business 59 – Tony Calder 6 and conclusion.

 

 

 

p0309wls.jpgWe’re on the final furlongs of the wonderfully disorganised but highly entertaining brain and memory of Tony Calder. There’s no point in trying to re-cap as to where we are (just read the previous five instalments), but something prompted me to ask…..

How long were you (Immediate) at Philips? (ah, it was obviously the story of the phone box at the top of Park Lane!!)

Oh, we left after a year. They had a salesman called Darcy Glover that even Andrew couldn’t deal with. Then the guy, Geoff Hannington – he was there and hated Darcy as well. Fred Kent did the administration and there was another guy, John Deacon, who became head of the BPI. They were all at Philips – they all hated the place. When Leslie (Gould) went, they all jumped overboard. Nobody could stand this dreadful Australian. We’d already done a deal with Frank Chalmers  (EMI) for Europe  and then the guy on the bike who had a heart attack, John Fruin. I said to him ‘Why do you ride your bike?’ ‘To keep fit.’ ‘You’ll have a heart attack. (and here comes another diversion!) When they (Zomba) with the acts that Geffen stole off them, I go to court.There’s John Kennedy representing the band. They lost the case. The band broke up. Fruin said ‘What are you doing here?’ I said ‘I’ve just come for the fun.’ ‘Are you supporting the band?’ ‘No, I just thought I’d just sit that side to upset them’. And I’m sitting with all the band members and they’re all passing notes and Kennedy turns round and goes ‘tell them all to keep quiet – he’s a spy.’ And Fruin says to me ‘How did you know I’d have a heart attack?’ I said ‘All you guys do.’ And he never forgot I said he’d have a heart attack. He took it so seriously. I said ‘You’ll kill yourself, the stress you’re putting yourself under.’. Anyway I sat there and said ‘By the way they (the band, whose identity my research hasn’t been able to reveal…any clues?) are worried about this and worried about that. But you’re still going to lose.’ Because at that time no (record company) could win against an act.

 

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Two furry phots from Billboard to illustrate Philips’ deal with Immediate, and the much criticised Darcy Glover – more was said that I decided against publishing!

You’d had your share of stress then?

Yeah. Everything I did he (Andrew) wanted to change when he came out. There were these horrible nuns who wouldn’t…’No, there’s no message to wake him up.’ I mean, now you go in for this treatment and it takes three days – they use proper drugs. It’s the most expensive bowl of Complan you could ever eat! Within one day I’d get a phone call – ‘Could you send round a cheque for £1100 please?’  And he had a doctor, Luke McLoughlin. I had to go for an interview with him. I said ‘You think you’re clever. Do you know what’s going to happen to you – you’re going to top yourself. ‘ ‘Don’t you talk to me like that.’ I said ‘Who’s your other client, Tony Hancock?.’ I said ‘ that poor c*** will top himself as well.’ They both did but Andrew survived because he went to the edge and got someone to hold him over, like Eric (Clapton). Eric never stuck a needle in his arm. He put so much up his nose he couldn’t stand up, but he wanted to go to the edge and look over, ‘cos he didn’t want to die.

What was it like trying to run a business with someone like that?

It wasn’t regarded as a business. It was a laugh. I actually said to Allen Klein ‘I still don’t understand why Murray Wilson gave me the publishing on a 50/50.’ He said ‘What was the deal?’. I said ‘That I put the record in the charts.’ He said, ‘There’s your deal, you made The Beach Boys. Without that, your friend couldn’t cope with it.’ It was a shame. He (Roy Featherstone) never forgave me – I made him look foolish. He held that against to me to his dying day. ‘Don’t be a c*** Roy – you told me it was coming out this week.’ ‘It’s be in the sh-sh-shops next week. ‘

I bump into Maurice Kinn the other night at some book do on (James?) Goldsmith – it was the day the Clinton interview was on. There were all these politicians there. I said ‘You’re all disgusting. My seven-year-old daughter wants to know how did the president shag the girl with a cigar. And you are responsible for all of this. I don’t want my daughter talking like that and you’re responsible.’ And Maurice goes ‘Go on – you tell em.’ I said ‘Maurice – how are you? It’s been 30 years. I can remember the day at Isow’s when you walked in and Andrew was sitting in your chair with the lettering Maurice Kinn on the back. All Andrew ever wanted in Isow’s was a chair with his name on. Maurice said all he had to do was ask, but he wouldn’t ask – he wanted to be given it. One day Max Bygraves came in and Andrew’s in Max’s chair. We had to leave. Cyril Simons (Leeds Music) came in with Max and Mick (Jagger) was in Cyril’s chair.

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Isow’s – somewhat before Tony, Max, Andrew and Mick’s time!!

Maurice always carries a photocopy of the NME Pollwinners’ Concert when the Stone and Beatles were on the same bill.

The most phenomenal. He said ‘No, they (Beatles) didn’t close the show. You closed the show, we did the awards and then The Beatles closed the show thereafter.’

I’m seeing Percy Dickins tomorrow (that interview is in the vinylmemories vaults, scroll down if you missed it!)

Give him my love. He was the greatest. He’d ring on a Friday afternoon and say ‘boys, have I got a deal for you.’ ‘Yes Percy.’ ‘Front page – got to have the artwork this afternoon..had a cancellation. You can have it for £300.’ ‘Ok Andrew, we’ve got the front page.’ ‘Let’s put The Mamas and Papas on – Lou’s got a new record. Let’s put Johnny….I mean, that’s when he did that Righteous Brothers record against Cilla Black, you know the difference between sh*t and sugar. Oh, we’d just put anyone – for £300 we had a laugh. We used to take front pages. He was sensational. One way we’re taking the (whose is not revealed!) album round – that’s how we met Barry, and then one day there’s this kid in short trousers – Rob. Mr EMI. (I assume, from the following sentences, that this is reference to Warner Brothers’ then bid for EMI. Rob Dickins was chairman of the UK company at the time.) You know he’s met with Murdoch, and Murdoch’s bid is yet to come. The next thing is, Southgate will go. The shares will go down to 250, and then they’re going to put more stories out about Nancy (Ken Berry’s wife at the time) so that Ken can’t get into a position of power and right from nowhere will come Murdoch. I know the guy from Merrill Lynch who’s told me the whole plot. Dickins will become chairman of the whole thing. Southgate’s got to be fired from the Opera House and then he’ll get fired from EMI.

So (check the end of the previous episode to remember where we’re heading now – Immediate shows in Germany) we did that deal with Frank Chalmers at EMI and we used to take the acts. And we go to Germany and Andrew used to teach the acts one expression in the local language, such as ‘Can you put your seats belts on – we’re about the reach Munich airport,’ He’d also teach them ‘f*ck off’ in the local langauge. ‘Welcome to Germany,’ ‘F*ck off’ – that’s all they’d say. And the Small Faces laid into these German. The second trip, we went to Cologne and who came to airport? Mr Jung..Wilfried. In his car. And he’s going to take the Small Faces in this great big f****** Mercedes. Andrew says ‘he’s a Nazi’, gets out and pisses on the back of his car. We got complaints from EMI . Nothing was worse that when we did the Immediate presentation. We took a picture of Manchester Square and stuck shit on it. “Immediate Records doesn’t throw shit against the wall.” The salesmen were up in arms. Ken East went berserk. We did a Philips presentation and gaver them all joints. They loved it. Leslie went up the wall. ‘What have you done? They’re drugs.’ So what, have one, they’re better than a cigar.’

So, you come back from Antigua and go into World Wide Artists?

No, that was after… Can you imagine? Brian Berg calls me this morning. He says ‘I know you’ll know it. I need a number for Patrick Meehan quickly.’ I said ‘I don’t speak to him.’ ‘Why not?’ ‘He had a fight with his wife …..I haven’t spoken to him since.’

Rupert (Perry) always wanted to see Wilf Pine. The last time I saw him he’d had three heart attacks and Patrick didn’t talk to him anymore.

There are two versions of hanging people out of windows by their ankles. One is that supposedly Peter Grant did it with Bill Harry…

No, I’ll tell you who did it. It was Don Arden and Pat Meehan Sr. who hung Robert Stigwood out of the office in Edgware Road, because he tried to pull Steve Marriott. Didn’t try to steal the act, tried to f*** him and that’s a no-no.’

What happened was that Patrick Jr. saw Black Sabbath, but they were with a guy called David Platz, so he says to Ozzie ‘f*** him.’ ‘What do you mean – we’ve got a contract.’ ‘F*** the contract.’ So he steams into Philips, re-writes the deal, takes the money. David Platz get a million quid – best day’s work Tony Hall did in his life, cos he got half the money. So Patrick then walked into a bank that Don had introduced us all to – London & County. The manager was Brian McMenemy who was Laurie McMenemy’s brother. If you were short on a Friday you could go down ‘Brian I’ve got to go to America’ and you’d always have a phone call from him. ‘Er, it’s New York here; look, you must be in for the tennis on Sunday.’ ‘Brian, I can’t go -can you give me 50 (presumable £50,000). I mean, we all did it to him. So the property boom comes along and Meehan buys a property at the top of the market. He then takes World Wide Artists and turns it into NEMS Revcords, whatever it was.

So what were you doing with World Wide Artists?

I turned it into a record company. Patrick said ‘I’ve got a problem with Black Sabbath – I can’t go to the gig tonight.’ I said ‘I’m not going on the road…ever.’ ‘It’s ten grand, twenty grand, thirty grand’. ‘I’ll go to one gig.’ I go to this gig in South London. I last three minutes and I’m out the door. I said ‘Patrick, you can have your money back – I am not going on the road. I mean, forget it.’ They’d had three fights before they got onstage. I mean, the only one who ducked all the time was Ozzy. Then Pat says ‘Ozzy wants to see you.’ We we get up to Ozzy’s house, somewhere up near Birmingham and he said ‘Look after us. Patrick’s done this but you come  (to the gig). I said ‘I don’t want to know,’ So he’s cleaning this shotgun and suddenly it goes BOOM and I said ‘what was that for?’ He said ‘I never liked next door’s cat.’ I said ‘I don’t feel very well, I’ve got to go.’ The next minute he shoots the record player. ‘I couldn’t stand the crackle.’

 

 

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Nobody like that in the business anymore – good or bad.

I think it’s a bad thing. Unfortunately all the big acts – and it’s a great generalisation – are managed by drug dealers. There’s a very famous girl group, managed by a drug dealer. Puts the driver in and says to him ‘I’m very pleased with the girls; they’re taking a lot less drugs to cope these days.’ So the driver says ‘Don’t be a c*** – I’m supplying them’ He says ‘you can’t do that, you’re the driver.’ He says ‘I’m your supplier – how did you get into the drugs business in the first place, you idiot.’ Then they go to this woman lawyer and now her fees are as big as the commission the guy gets, because one doesn’t want to fire the manager and another doesn’t want to keep the woman. All these bands have no idea.

I hate artists that talk back! I had this club in Antigua and the cricket people say ‘Can we have a dance to raise money. The England team came in and it’s jumping. This dick brain came up to me and said ‘will you play this?’ ‘No, it won’t fit. ‘Do you know who I am?’ ‘Yes, I’m not playing it.’ It was Geoff Boycott. He complains and was told it’s my club, my records. I’m paying for everything.

Then this guy John Pickles walks one day. I thought, ‘this is another f****** Boycott.’ Comes to the fourth record and we’ve mapped out this TV campaign. Up to that time no one’s had for No.1’s in a row, and I thought ‘I want a bit of rock’n’roll history here’ He says ‘My new ad agency Creative Consultancy in Rotherham says this is a load of fooking shit. Cancel it.’ The record goes in at No.4 – he rings me and says ‘OK smart arse, what do I do?’ I say ‘£100,000 and 10,000 singles in my office in one hour.’ ‘Oh aye, that’s a bit rich for me, lad.’ It killed it, that one f****** stupid decision . He did not understand the power. Woolworths had suddenly found the power they had. Telesales ‘Oh, I’ve got an order, confirmed 200,000 order from Woolworths.’ Third party distribution with BMG. Best bit – he said ‘I’ll organise my own pressing – I’ve got a great deal with EMI.’ I said ‘have you really? Put on 50,000 – I want them in three days.’ A little girl from EMI phoned up. ‘Sorry to bother you – company’s orders but all your pressing orders are cancelled as of now. Can you collect your parts please, there’s 8,000 stock.’ Rupert calls back and says ‘I can give you till Friday.’ We sat on the phones one lunchtime and ordered 175.000 on those big old-fashioned mobiles – ordered them from everywhere.

And, if you had no idea what that paragraph was all about, here’s the clue

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Do you have a view on the business today?

I get calls every week for people to manage. But I’ve got three kids and an ex-wife who’s always away. I don’t want the kids to come home one night and find us away. But there are a couple of acts out there who should be so much bigger – Robbie Williams especially, The Verve – they were never pushed properly in America.

Did you ever hands-on manage anyone?

The Small Faces, for a whole year. Until Steve said ‘I’m leaving. Then we managed Humble Pie. And I had to cover for Andrew. Andrew does like to forget.

Why did you write a book on Abba?

I’m at a party one night and this woman says ‘what do you think of Abba?’ I say ‘Greatest pop song writers ever.’ She says ‘You’re kidding’. ‘No. Gimme Gimme a Man after Midnight’ what a great line! Every gay in the country would like that.’ Dancing Queen and then those songs about the break up of a marriage, making the birds sing the songs back to them in the studio. They were phenomenal.’ She said ‘Have you ever thought of writing a book?.’ I said ‘I can’t be bothered.’ ‘Can you get a writer?’ ‘Sure.’ ‘How about thirty grand’ I said ‘How about 40 grand?’ ‘Done – OK, we’ll do it.’ We did it for forty grand. Colin (Irwin) met all the musicians, I met all the record people. No one would talk on the record. Agnetha brought her book out, which was basically what we were going to say.

 

 

 

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And a final diversion before one of us finally ran out of steam!

Jimmy Page and I go to America. He must have been only 15 or 16 at the time. We go and see Lenny Waronker, general manager of Metric Music which is owned by Liberty. Jimmy says ‘I’d like to meet Jackie de Shannon. I’d like to write with her.’ Lenny says ‘you mean you’d like to f*** her?’ He says ‘yeah, I wouldn’t mind that as well.’ There’s this guy slumped in the corner – that’s Randy Newman – go back to sleep! They wrote ‘Come and stay with me‘. I bring the demo back and Andrew says ‘I’m not recording that bitch again.’ I said ‘I’ll do it.’ My mother rings up and says ‘You know that John D. Loudermilk album you gave me? There’s a lovely song on it called ‘This little bird.’ Andrew made Mick and Keith do a song for Adrienne Posta – we needed the money. It was called ‘Shang a doo lang’ Sid Posta, her stepfather, was in the furniture business, a very chubby little Jewish guy. He got done later for putting the wrong labels on furniture. So we threw a party. It was the party of that Saturday night, at the back of Montagu Square. Andrew is there with his wife Sheila. She could cope with the boys but not other women. Mick’s there with Chrissie – she could cope with the campness but not the birds. This place is booom andf the record’s a piece of shit. Bless her, she was a lovely little kid, Adrienne. Suddenly, it like somebody turned the volume down. This guy had walked in with this girl – white socks, skirt and a white tie and skirt. And Andrew says ‘I’ve got f*** that.’ and Mick says ‘I’ve got to f*** that.’ so they’re like…..I said ‘That’s a star, yeah, right, go and talk to her.’ ‘Marianne, would you like to make a record?’ Everyone was watching what this girl was doing. ‘I can’t sing.’ ‘It doesn’t matter. Can I have your telephone number?’ ‘I don’t have a telephone.’ ‘Can I have your address then?’ Yes. You’ll have to send me the train fare – I’m a student.’ We used to have to write letters and she’d call collect! ‘Will you come up to town.’ That’s how it happened and it was As time goes by and Andrew did rewrite the song. I think Essex Music tried to row him out of a third. I remember  it well because it was with Jim Sullivan and Mick, and I had the original demo. She told me years later she was on tour with Roy Orbison and she’d gone to bed one night and realised there was somebody standing at the end of the bed and it’s Roy. She’s says ‘Yes?’ He says”I’ve come….’ ‘You’ve come to do it?’ ‘Ye.’ ‘Oh well well, you’d better get on with it then.’ It’s like he was the star of the show.

 

 

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Adrienna Posta

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Marianne Faithfull

And here endeth life as recalled  by Tony Calder. A few chunks have had to be excluded, either because I could make neither head nor tail of them,, or because they were too potentially libellous. Sorry!

Text ©David Hughes 2018. Photos as always for illustraiton only

 

 

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A Personal History of the British Record Business 58 – Tony Calder 5.

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We left Tony ruminating on how Immediate got Amen Corner and an Italian song that Don Arden brought Tony and Andrew Loog Oldham. Now we move on (or back!) to Eddy Grant.

I’m in Antigua and there’s a local radio station owned by the government and they’re playing this record by The Equals’ Eddy Grant , Living on the Front Line. It’s No.1 in Antigua. I’ve got no money – I said ‘we’d better make some money from it, hadn’t we?’ I played it to about six companies, couldn’t get a deal. Nigel Grainge fixed it up – from there onwards it was money. I learned that every album he makes is a good album – we made so much money. Moved to Barbados. He has this thing in British Guiana where he really wanted to be President! He ran a bus company to help people in Plaisance anmd Georgetown. I went down there one day and I said to the guy ‘what day is it today?’ He said ‘Red – it’s Wednesday.’ He had a different colour suit for each day of the week. Then his mum said ‘Eddy, you know I do the books every night and if it’s short I always make it up with my money’. I said ‘Grandma, what do mean ‘if it’s short’? ‘Well, the boys take the money and…’ I said ‘bye, I’m leaving; I don’t want to know.’ He rings me up one day and says ‘How’s the CD’s?’ I said ‘I know what you’re asking but let me tell you something – the only CD I’m interested in is a compact disc.’ (can someone help me out here – what is he talking about??Remember I was one of life’s innocents!!) ‘By the way, I’ve just left, I’m finished. It doesn’t matter about the money. Find somebody else, do what you want, I don’t want to know.’ I was struggling over albums. He would never listen about albums. He had ten million US dollars in cash, ten or fifteen million deutschmarks, the same in Swiss francs, all the Barbados property paid for, He was cash rich, owned everything. Ten years later he was knocking on my door. ‘You’ve got to help me – this man’s ripped me off.’ I said ‘No, you’ve ripped yourself off. I’ll give you a year.’

Was this the time EMI did the deal with Eddy?

No, (Mike) Dolan did that deal – that was about a year after me. I wouldn’t have done that deal. They made a mistake. I’m reading the paper – I think ‘that doesn’t read right.’ They asked Eddy something when they should have been telling him. I took it to a barrister and I got an opinion showing they’d made a fundamental error. The barrister rings me about three days later and says ‘released” (from the contract). I said ‘I shall never breathe a word of it to protect my friends.’ We go to Nigeria. He used to make these long versions in yoruba for cassettes and special albums and we’re in this warehouse and this guy goes ‘Eddy, I give you 200,000 naira (about £1.10) – cash.’ I’m looking at these boxes and I see these 8-track cartridges.’What are these?’ ‘Oh, I make you big star.’ I said ‘yes, but you’ve got no contract.’ ‘Contract, what’s contract?’  Then this guy Jerry Barling (?) who is Managing Director of EMI Nigeria, comes round. I thought  ‘you’re one smooth f****** guy and you’re going to rip this guy off. I said to Eddy ‘you watch him’ You could not get nira out of the country. I get a phone about a week later from Guyana – ‘will you take a collect call from Mr Grant?’ I thought it was Eddy’s brother Derek, who I know was selling motor cars out there. He said ‘You won’t believe it. Jerry Barling and I are driving over the border in the car; we’ve got a million naira tucked up in the gear thing – we’re held up by pirates.’ I said ‘well, you’re lucky to be alive them – they normally kill you.’ He said ‘they took the car, took all our clothes. ‘Leave your underpants, did they they?’ ‘Yes, yes.’  “well at least you’ve got something to sh*t in then.’ ‘And they took the money.’ ‘Well, you’re lucky then.’ ‘No, no. It’s only because they recognised me and asked for my autograph!’ Then he said ‘I’ve found someething else – I can handle French francs can I?’ ‘Yes yes, but whatever it is, it’s a scam.’ ‘No no, the guy’s working for me and I can do this and I get it in cash, in French francs.’ We take a collect call from Paris. He said ‘can you call your friend Paul Baines and get him to meet me. I can’t find 47a Rue de whatever.’ ‘There ain’t no 47a, you idiot.’ Another million naira gone.

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I tried to move things back to Immediate and to  Billy Nichols who made a great record for the label, ‘Would you believe.’

Happy to be part of the industry of human happiness”. L.G. (Wood) never forgave us for that. It was a line off the book of the International Federation of Phonographic Industries. It was on their showcase book. Phil Spector copied it. Then he gave us “Tomorrow’s Hits Today”!

Billy’s the director of the Who’s show Quadrophenia. This girl came to work for me, three week’s work exprience. When she said goodbye she said ‘You know my dad Billy Nichols.’ I said ‘why didn’t you tell me?’ They were in Amsterdam and he said ‘come to the show,’ but I couldn’t sit through it again. I walked out the first time – it’s too slow.

We tried to copy the Immediate music room from the one we’d seen at Nevins Kirschner Music. When we first went to the Brill building, you’ve got Howie Greenfield and Neil Sedaka in one booth, Carole King and Gerry Goffin in another, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil in another one, and they’re all pounding out songs. Al Nevins is only a short light-skinned black guy, one of the nicest men I ever met and he’s saying, ‘no, change that bit; nick that from there; take that from that other one; and do it for these people.’ And we were like…(in awe?)

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Don Kirschner, Neil Sedaka, Al Nevins

Many years later when Andrew takes Keith Richard up to see Kirschner, Keith says ‘nice song, play it again.’ ‘No’. ‘Why not?’ ‘Because you’ll want to nick it!’ So we tried to copy this music room, and back-to-back on our wall to the next wall was Dick James Music, where Caleb Quaye and Reg (Elton John) used to be. So many a Friday afternoon Reg would come in.’I’ve just got  twenty quid from Dick, boys – we can go to Verbanella and eat.’ Steve Marriott would pump us up for twenty quid and they’d all be down the Verbanella on a Friday afternoon, and of course out would come the wine and they’d all get pissed. The Verbanella was right underneath Tibet’s just down New Oxford Street and we had the Kosher underneath where Dick used to get his chopped liver sandwiches. It was ridiculous.

So what happened – you didn’t last the course.

So Clifford Davis comes to me and we agree a quarter million dollars for Fleetwood Mac. The record’s No 2 – Man of the World. Frank Chalmers has got me the money – good old Frank!

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Andrew comes out, says he wants to meeet him. So he goes to lunch, come back and Clifford says ‘Andrew doesn’t want to do the deal.’ Where’s Andrew? ‘He’s been put to sleep.’ Six weeks later I get some story about ‘we can’t do a deal with Clifford Davis, he’s got no manners – he cut his roll with a knife!’ So when I did the background for the (his?) book, he said ‘did I really say that?’ I said, ‘yes, you did you C***.’ He said ‘Shit!.’

There were some great acts on Immediate – Chris Farlowe.

Chris Farlowe was a B-side. That was Andrew mixing. I said: ‘that’s the A-side.’ He said no.’ I said ‘that’s the A-side.’ He said ‘No it’s not, it’s the B-side.’ I said ‘OK, it’s the B-side.’ Next thing I hear Mick saying ‘well, we specifically went in to cut Out of Time . I thought ‘artists ..’ that’s the day I learned about artists, never ever correct them.

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Did you deliberately leave Immediate to go to the Caribbean?

No, I was ill. I had an ulcer. I haemorrhaged. We were setting up the office in New York and I was commuting. We were in a hotel somewhere. We were doing quite a bit of drugs. It was a Friday afternoon and Andrew picked up this wine bottle and threw it at an antique mirror. I said ‘that was a bit unnecessary.’ He said ‘well, I didn’t like the look of it.’ So my wife at the time says ‘excuse me’, goes downstairs to the Gucci shop, rings through. ‘There’s a broken mirror in suite 222, how much is it?’ ‘$200,000.’  ‘OK, I’ll take $200,000 worth of luggage. She takes her Gucci luggage and she’s still got it today ‘ (I confess this story makes no sense to me!!)

So I said ‘I want out – I can’t stand this.’ He said ‘Fine – I’ll buy you out. You take Antigua, I’ll take Connecticut. Here’s the money.’

Andrew, Mick and I were being courted by Clive (Davis) at Columbia Records. Clive was the General Manager and Colin Lieberson was still there. We were flown in a Lear jet with Artie Ripp, out of New York to somewhere in the Bahams. I didn’t even know where the Bahamas were. I said ‘it’s so boring not reading the English papers. He said ‘what do you mean, you can get them in Miami, Sunday newspapers.’ He picks up the phone –  ‘land in Miami.’ He lands in Miami, sends the guy across, picks up the English papers, and we’re off again. By now I’m really enjoying this. We get to this hotel and this guy says ‘Mick, come with me. Any of these hookers you want, they’re all yours.’ Mick says ‘How long you been here?’ ‘A week.’ ‘How many guys have been here?’ Oh, about 780.’ Mick goes ‘divided by seven…thanks but no thanks.’ I thought that was very good!

I did an interview recently. The guy called saying ‘I’ve been trying to find you – it’s Ken Howard here.’ ‘Oh yeah, what do you want?’ The last time I’d seen Ken Howard I had him pinned against a wall by his neck. Oh said ‘Oh no, I’m the film producer.’

We’re on tour in Australia with the Small Faces and Steve says ‘I’ve left the band.’ I said ‘fuck off, we’re on tour.’ Her said ‘I’m leaving the band now. That little f****** c*** ain’t having more of my f****** royalties,’ I said ‘Who?’ “Ronnie Lane, I f****** hate him. He hasn’t written a hit since All or Nothing.’ I said, ‘what do you mean.’ He said ‘You don’t think we write together do you? I’ved written everything and I’m out of the band.’ I said ‘well, we’ve got a tour of the States.’ He said ‘no we ain’t. I not f****** doing it.’ He said ‘I’m going to form a new band called Humble Pie.’ I thought ‘Oh f****** hell.’ I said ‘Steve, you’ve got to finish the dates,’ ‘OK’, he says. ‘I’ll make a deal with you,. You get me Peter Frampton.’ I said ‘He’s in the Herd – he’s the hottest thing.’ ‘Yeah, but can you imagine – an ugly little c*** like me and a pretty boy like him – we’ll pull all the birds and their fellows. ‘I thought OK, yeah.’ He said ‘In fact I’ve already spoken to him an hour ago. I’ll do the rest of the dates, you get him. And you and Andrew have to do every date on the rest of this Australian tour. ‘ I thought ‘oh shit’ and Andrew says ‘Yeah, got enough drugs have you? As long as I’ve got enough drugs I’ll do it’ By the time we got to Brisbane the following night, Keith Moon (we were supporting The Who – they gave you a basket of fruit and put it outside your door) dressed up came knocking on the door. ‘With the compliments of the hotel we’d like to present you with a basket of local fruit.’  Whoosh! Get me out of here please!

After that show we arrive in Cairns or somewhere and there was all this press, and two German reporters. Someone says something to Steve and he says ‘How many people did your father kill? I bet he killed my father.’ You can get away with that in Germany, but not in Australia.,

So we’re at this party afterwards and someone says ‘where’s Moony?’ ‘Oh, he’s gone for a swim.’ Townshend goes straight on to the balcony and grabs him as he’s about to dive in the pool that wasn’t there. He was already outside the railings.

So Ian Groves is an EMI management guy at Electrola and we decided – we did this deal with Frank Chalmers (that he got told off for by L.G.) and suddenly we were having hits with Immediate Day junkets. You fly in in the morning and leave at night, doing the television shows…P.P. Arnold, Small Faces…

 

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Sorry – what was the Immediate link with EMI?

It was with EMI for the world outside North America. It was the first major licensing deal. That was how Frank Chalmers made his name. That’s why, when Andrew went nto Ken (East) and said ‘I need money to pay off UA’, Ken said ‘no’ and there was half a million pounds in the pipeline. EMI lived on it for years, made a fortune out of it.

One last episode to come…I’m off for a lie down!  I’d appreciate any input into some of the people  and stories mentioned, plus these two characters – Rip Mezzari, Phil Steinberger – whom I can’t find anywhere so have no idea even if their names are spelled like this – they were apparently also on th plane to the Bahamas. And for those who are still asking why I never wrote the book….just tell me how much of Tony’s contribution I could have used!!

 

Text © David Hughes, 2018. Photos vbia Google for light relief only.

 

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A Personal History of the British Record Business 57 – Tony Calder 4.

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A more recent photo of Tony and his son Anthony with X Factor contestant Chloe Jasmine

The conversation/interview was inching its way back to setting up Immediate Records. I reminded Tony that some years earlier, Joe Meek had tried this.

It was a Friday afternoon. We were pissed off with Decca. We’d seen Louis Benjamin who had offered us a deal that was so stupid, it was like a Mickey Mouse percentage. We’d seen L.G. (Wood) who didn’t like Andrew, well Andrew presumed he didn’t like him and anyway they had Mickie Most. We didn’t know what to do. It (Immediate) wasn’t a label at the time. Andrew said ‘Let’s form a label.’ We’re going up Park Lane at the time. There was a phone box at the top – it’s not there anymore. I said ‘stop the car.’ We’re in a Chevrolet on our way to Wembley for Ready Steady Go. He said ‘what are you doing?.’ I said ‘just stop the car.’ And I get out and make a phone call. ‘Philips Records please.’ I say ‘Leslie’ (Gould). ‘Yes.’ It’s Tony Calder here. Andrew and I have just formed a record label and you are going to get the sales and distribution and the manufacture..’ He said ‘thank you – where are you?’ I said ‘I’m looking at you – look out of your window. I’m going to Wembley; I’m going to call you from Wembley – get the deal ready.’ I get back in the car an d say ‘what’s the name of the label Andrew.’ ‘I dunno, it should be Immediate or something.’ ‘Right, that’ll do. I need a logo – you draw the logo.’ I said ‘I’m calling Leslie back when we get to Wembley.’ So I call him back and he said ‘right, I’ll give you 12.5%’  I said ‘discount?’ ‘And five percent for sales.’ I said ‘only when we ask for them.’ ‘and manufacturing at our..’ ‘No, no’, I said, I want your manufacturing less 5% ( I asked for 10%-we settled on 5.) And that became the famous sales and distribution that thenbecame Allen Klein’s “Buy/Sell” deal. It became the standard documnent you see. There’d never been one before. Island was running round off the back of a lorry. We were the first with a proper distribution deal. So Leslie said ‘paperwork’s ready.’ ‘Great boys, great.’ ‘Send us round some money.’ So a couple of grand came round, because we had no money. But that’s how Klein got in.

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Allen Klein and Andrew Loog Oldham

We’re off to America to see Bert Burns. He plays us Hang on Sloopy. He said ‘boys,. find me a label in England.’ I said ‘we’ve got a label called Immediate.’ I said ‘what do you want for it?’ He said $500. That was it, there was no paperwork. About three months later he was in London. Andrew was having one of his sleep treatments, and I gave him (Bert) five grand in an envelope. He was so embarassed. I said ‘there’s your royalties. Don’t ask for an accountant because we don’t know how to do it.’

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Bert Burns (whom I’m guessing is top right), with The McCoys

About a year later, Andrew was having another of his sleep treatments. ‘Don Arden’s here’ ‘Yeah, send him in.’ He said ‘Tone, I know you and Steve Marriott go back to Ilford Palais (when I was doing the kids’ session, Marriott pops up one afternoon and ‘allo, I’m Steve Marriott; I’ve been in Oliver , can I play the records?’ I said ‘yeah, get on with it.)  I want to sell you the contract – they’d love you to manage them.’ I said ‘but they’re cold Don, they’ve gone off the boil – you fucked them up.’ Her said ‘well, this new record’s not very good.’ I said ‘what do Decca think of it?’ ‘Oh, they’ll put anything out.’ I said ‘give me the paperwork’ and he said ‘I want 30 grand.’ I’m not paying 30 grand-20 grand’. We settled on 25. I said ‘I’ll read the paperwork and if it’s OK we’ll do it tomorrow.’ He said ‘It’s got to be in a brown paper bag. ‘ So I read the paperwork and I read the Decca contract and I read Don’s contract. Fine. I said ‘draw up the paperwork, transfer Don’s contract, fuck the other one.’ There was no inducement letter. So I said to Don ‘ this record’s gone to Decca?’ ‘Yes’. So he comes in, signs the paperwork and I give him the envelope. So I call Andrew in the nursing home – they’ve woken him up. He used to have these six-week sleeping treatments. Mad. That’s why we fell out – it was only when he had the money that he could afford to have them. I said ‘we’ve signed the Small Faces – we’re going to put them out on Immediate.’ He aid ‘How much did you pay?’ I said ’25 grand’. ‘Call a meeting tomorrow; I’ll be there; call them in.’ They turned up, scrubbed, clean. Andrew said ‘you’re on Immediate. What do you want to do? We’ve rented this house down in the country; go down there and write and do an album. It’s got to be an album.’ ‘Far out man.’ ‘And by the way, take this with you – don’t open it until you get there.’ They were like kids with a Christmas present. It was a block of hash and off they went. Itchycoo Park –they just churned it out. That was it. So I thought ‘ this is a bit of alright.’

 

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I call Eddie Kassner and said ‘you’ve gone cold with The Equals – do you want to sell the contract? I’ll sell the records. He said OK. I said ‘ send me round the contract.’ I agreed 25 grand with him, payable Friday lunchtime. He kept the publishing, we had the records. So it’s one-o-clock on Friday he hasn’t turned up. I phoned him and said ‘are you coming round the sign this?’ ‘You f****** barrow boys, you’re all the f****** same, I’m not selling my f******….

(Trying to figure out what’s going on here after 20 years is a bit tricky. As we’ve suddenly moved to the 1980’s, Tony was managing Eddy Grant who seems to have expressed an interest in buying the catalogue that Eddie Kassner did not sell to Calder. I do know he subsequently did a licensing deal for the catalogue with EMI)

In the mid-80’s, whenever it was, Eddy (Grant)  says ‘I want to buy them back.’ So I ring him (Eddie Kassner) and say ‘ You’re a smart old Jewish boy.’ He said ‘why?’ I said, ‘well, if you’d sold it me then (for £25,000).’ ‘Oh well, I don’t remember.’ I said ‘you now get it with noughts on the end’. ‘Are you telling me (Eddy Grant) has the money?’ ‘Yeah yeah, he’s got the money.’ ‘Half a million for the lot. And if he ever wants to buy Ray Davies’s publishing, I’ll sell it to him. Never to Ray. Even when I die, I’ll leave words that he can always buy Ray’s publishing for cash.’

So we agreed to meet in Amsterdam for tax reasons. Eddie flies in. We’re meeting in a private bank and I’ve had the money transferred from Switzerland. They said ‘Excuse me Mr. Calder’ They’ve got a picture of him with the silver hair in The Equals. I say ‘Yes, it’s the same guy. – sign here.’ There’s Eddie Kassner sitting there, the sweat pouring down – I thought he was going to have a heart attack. ‘Edmund, how are you m’boy? The barrow boy says you have the money. Can I see it?’ And I say ‘and a first class train fare to Zurich.’ He says ‘ that’s very kind of you’ because he only asked for a train fare and I got him first class. That’s how he (Grant) got his publishing and his records.arton1529.jpgequals_single.jpg

So (we’re back in the 60’s again!) the following summer. ‘Tony have you got any money?’ ‘ Yes Don, what do you want?’ ‘I’m popping round the see you.’ He said ‘you f*ck*d me over the Small Faces.’ I said ‘I did not.’ He said ‘well, maybe I f*ck*d you – I only needed £17,500.’ I said ‘well, you got a result then.’ He said ‘yeah, but you had a result. You put them on Immediate and Decca didn’t sue.’ I said ‘No, they wouldn’t sue me because there was no contract between me and Decca.’ ‘F*ck*ng wide boy.’ I said ‘no, you’re the wide boy,’ He says ‘I’ve got a deal for Amen Corner.’ ‘Oh, piss off’, I said.’You can’t even get arrested with them.’ He says ‘listen to this’ and it goes ‘la la’ and I say ‘take this shit off. This is not Amen Corner.’ ‘Oh Tone’, he says ‘I love you. I’m in real trouble. Andrew could do something with them.’ I think we ended up at £18,500 or something. Signed it all the following day. He was desperate for the money and he says at the meeting. “Got you – I knew I’d get my own back on you.’ I said ‘why?’ ‘I only needed £17,500!’ I said ‘Don, you know that song?’ and said it in Italian. He said ‘how do you know what it is?’ I said I was in San Remo in January and had been following the song ever since to find out who had the publishing. It went in at 17 then straight to No.1. It was (If Paradise is) half as nice. The minute I heard it…I remember this guy singing it. I think I was there with Andy Wickham who was over from L.A. at the time and we’re going ‘this is an unbelievable song.’ Jack Fishman managed to get it and do the lyrics. And the minute I heard it I went ‘no – it can’t be.’ I thought – keep your mouth shut, look out of the window, do anything. That’s how we did it.

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Next extract introduces us (again) to Eddy Grant, more on Immediate and…

Text © David Hughes 2018. Photos Google searched just to break up the copy!

 

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A Personal History of the British Record Business 56 – Tony Calder 3.

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Tony Calder and Andrew Loog Oldham

We pick up from where we left off, and I wanted to know about The Beatles’ connection

Who were you working for when you had the publicity for ‘Love me Do’?

Me and Andrew. We had this company called Image. Somebody came to me and said ‘will you just run it (the press release for the single) round, I’ll write it.’ And I said ‘yeah yeah, and we re-wrote itand printed it and did all this fancy press release stuff…”pictures are available from..” And he said “this is going to cost me a lot of oney.” By now, after the lecture from Sir Edward Lewis, I’d understood what homosexuality was…the handkerchief tucked up the sleeve. Never trust a man that’s been knighted, wears pin stripes and has a handkerchief tucked up his sleeve.

We had this company called Image. We had to do it because we had no money. Andrew said ‘we’re going to Eel Pie Island tonight., I remember walking down there and there was this couple necking and you didn’t know which was the boy or the girl. Many years later when I remembered it, I realised it was Mick and Chrissie Shrimpton. Andrew said ‘I’m going to sign the singer.’ I said ‘what do you mean?’ He said,’well, it’s a band and the singer is a star.’ We had an office in Poland Street and another in Maddox Street – we were running from office to office. Then we took Ivor Court: No. 137, then we took 138 as well. We put the Stones’ fan club there – Shirley Arnold. That’s when Mick saw the fan mail for Brian and got very pissed off. Mega fucking…’he gets more mail than me.’ Then there was the destruction of Brian – his mike gets moved, the mike gets switched, there is no mike. He was a pain. We didn’t know anything about management, but it didn’t matter – there were no rules. I’d watched Larry Parnes and thought he was a complete arsehole. This man came into Decca and started throwing his weight around, and I thought ‘that’s not the way to do it’ He came in and was rude to me. I said ‘let me tell you something – I’ve been doing this thing for Billy (Fury) and your attitude is all wrong.’ He said ‘don’t talk to me like that.’ I said ‘I’m telling you it’s wrong. I can pick up the phone and get you into Pat Doncaster.’ I thought ‘I’m not taking this shit from this geezer’ and I said ‘You need those column inches, so don’t give me shit.’ He said ‘I’m sorry – you should meet my friend Joe Meek.’ And that’s how I met Joe Meek. I remember sitting on a bed with those dirty sheets on it – they were grey, the place was filthy. He put his hand on my knee. I never left so quick. I went back to Decca and said ‘I don’t think we should be doing a deal with him. They don’t believe in long-term artists.’ I didn’t know what I was talking about but I just knew they were boys that Joe fancied rotten and were obviously doing the business for him.

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Larry Parnes with Billy Fury, and Joe Meek

Brian (Epstein) chased me round the desk one day and I said “watch it or I’ll whack you.” We’d just done the mail out for ‘Please Please Me

(You’ll need to keep up, as these tales switch about!!)

The police came over about Bill Wyman pissing on cars at the gas station. Andrew said it was Mick. ‘Ring the press agency, give a false name and say we’ve got a great story.’ And suddenly we realised that the only way to get press was to have a news story. We got £15 each for the story. Then we knew we were on to a winner. Yeah, this is the way to do press! You’re on £20 a week for an act – you sell a story to the press and make another £15. We sold another one, a duff story on the Stones. We made the front page and got £100 for it, some stupid story. And suddenly the newspapers were printing more and more pop stories, and regardless of what anyone says, Andrew came up with the greatest line ever which fixed the Stones in the public’s mind. ‘Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone?’ I think that that was one of the all time classic articles because it distinguished the difference between the Beatles’ and Stones’ culture overnight. We became heroes because of it.

(Agent) Ronnie Simpson said ‘we’re going to Edinburgh tonight – there’s a band that’s absolute crap but they’ll remind you of The Beatles. You’ll sign them but they’re shit.’ There’s policemen holding the kids back down this alleyway. It was like The Cavern all over again. You couldn’t hear the act at all but he said ‘do you love them?’ I said ‘I’ll sign them, I don’t care.’ The manager was Tam Paton. He said ‘Oh I know you, I was in a band. How did you get on with Brian Epstein?’ I said ‘that f*****g faggot, I nearly whacked him.’ So the next week I go back and film them. I show Dick Leahy (then at Bell Records)  and he says ‘I want it.’ so about two weeks later he got Jonathan King to make the first record. By this time Tam Paton is driving me mad. I said ‘Dick, I’m going back to Antigua, buy me out of my share.’ He said ‘don’t do that.’ I said ‘I don’t want to know.’ About five years ago I’m at the Columb d’Or for MIDEM and Dick’s having dinner with George Michael and he says ‘this is the man who brought me the Bay City Rollers.’ I said ‘Dick you did well out of me.’ He said ‘you were the smart one.’ I say – ‘Why?’ ‘You look younger than me – look at my hair, the lines.’ I said ‘but Dick you had the money.’ He said ‘It doesn’t make up for it.’ Tam Paton got done for importuning in a public lavatory. He used to be a potato salesman – the potato lorry was at the top of the Mews, full of sacks!

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Brian Jones was a lovely guy. I said to him once : ‘Brian, you’ve got to come into the office; there are three women here who say you are the father of their children.’ ‘No, I’m not.’ ‘Brian, you’ve got to come.’. ‘Alright – send a car.’ I admit the women had combed their kids’ hair like Brian Jones’s. We walk in and and he looks at these three kids, and they’re clones. He looks at these three and he says ‘I don’t know any of them.’ But they looked just like him, the hair the eyes.

 

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Immediate started because we needed more money. We had terrible trouble with Decca with the Stones. All I ever did was take a record company just one step further than they’d been before. Until now they’ve gone so far that they’ve marketed themselves out of the business. £200,000 to put a single in the Top 3. Who’s kidding who? File discounts at 45%. Come on! You’re in business for the retail. However, as I say to people, you find me a commodity where you can spend £2-£300,000 on a promo clip and then you can go and sell the goods, i.e. the album and pre-sell 500,000 copies at £9 a pop. That’s what we call billing, That’s the business that record companies have become. They’re not in the record business anymore, they’re in the billing business. So if you were running Heinz 57 varieties and you could find a great promo trailer for only £300,000 you’d jump at it. Frankly, in that reality, it’s cheap,but in terms of creativity and artists, it’s a crock of shit And when you see new acts – B*witched, Billie – I mean, do me a favour. Where will they be tomorrow? (Well, one became a phenomenal actor!!) And then you get acts like Robbie Williams, who’s probably the greatest artist this country’s discovered in the last two years, managed by two lovely idiots who’ve already over-exposed him, with a company that is so desperate for the billing that they’re bringing out an album a year before it should come out. And they haven’t even got him released in America yet! What did Andrew used to say? ‘America, America.’

I had dinner at Dean Martin’s house and he remembered this from the Tami Show – remember the building opposite Capitol Tower? That’s where we did the Tami Show and we only did it because we needed the money to pay the expenses for the tour. ‘He’s going to be rude to you.’ And he admitted it. ‘I thought you were all faggots.’ The Stones for the first three tours had long hair, and wherever you went in America, if you had long hair, you were a faggot. But we needed the money or we couldn’t leave the country. He said “I was pissed!”

 

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I was living in Antigua and I had an ear infection. The prime minister, Tom somebody, died and Eddy Grant said ‘you’ve got to come to the funeral. I aid ‘I can’t.’ So I called my pal Bobby and said ‘fly me at sea level ‘cos I can’t go up!’ But Bobby left so I phone British Airways and they said ‘Our Tony,  you want to come back tonight? Right!” I only ever went first class from Antigua to Barbados and back again and they used to give me a cheap ticket. I was always known as ‘our Tony’. I was sitting there and the only other people up there are Bob Monkhouse and his wife. He said ‘how are you?’ He brings out this case and he’s making out he knows me, ‘cos the face fits, the whole thing. He says ‘I got this from a guy in the record business’ and I said ‘Oh, which one?’ ‘Andrew Oldham.’ And he opens up the case and it’s done as a pill box. I’m not saying a word. He says ‘You take this one with that, and that with that, and then tomorrow take this with that.’ I said ‘he was my ex-partner.’ I like that!

Next, I manage to drag Tony back to Immediate and then we seem to drift off into Don Arden, Eddie Kassner and more Eddy Grant

Text © David Hughes 2018. Photos from Google search for illustration only.

 

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A Personal History of the British Record Business 55 – Tony Calder 2.

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Tony Calder and Nico

We left Tony midway through one of his several rants about Andrew Loog Oldham, so resume by me asking him how they met.

Peter Jones. He said ‘there’s a chap you should meet. I’ve told him the same thing – be here tomorrow same time – pub.’ Right – we’re going to do publicity. After two weeks we decided it was too much like hard work so we employed Andy Wickham who was working for Syd (Gillingham) at EMI. Andy came along. Andrew introduced him to Lou Adler.

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Peter Jones with Johnnie Ray

Who brought Lou Adler in?

They (Andrew & Lou) became good friends, and to this day Lou is his friend. Absolute gentleman. Lou’s one of the nicest people you could meet, from that era and even today. I don’t know how it happened but Lou’s sending us records to play – all American records and through it we get the Beach Boys’ account. They couldn’t get arrested, I mean not arrested. So I meet this Murray Wilson and I get the publishing. I didn’t ask him for it  – he gave it to me for $500!

I’m told the UK wasn’t interested in the Beach Boys in the same way that America wasn’t interested in The Beatles.

I said to Roy Featherstone ‘when’s the record coming out?’ ‘Two weeks’ time.’ So we went to Jules’ Bar to meet a certain person and gave him £100 to help get the record in the charts, and I get this phone call. ‘Tony, what have you done, we haven’t manufactured the record yet.’ I’d promised Murray we’d get it in the charts. We went back to Jermyn Street, had a drink with the guy and gave him another £100 because Roy had proimised it would be available. We had to do that for three weeks, so Murray then gave us the publishing and that’s how the Beach Boys started. We just put the record in the charts. I used to go  (to Los Angeles) at least once a year to see Brian. The last time Andrew and I were there about four years ago (this interview dates from October 1998) . We took him to the Ivy at the Shore for lunch. You know what it’s like; suddenly there’s a whisper and I look over at this table and it’s Richard Gere and Cindy (Crawford) and Cindy’s saying ‘it’s Brian Wilson.’ I couldn’t believe it. That’s when we zoomed in and said we wanted to make ‘Je t’aime’ with them. She loved the idea but he obviously had his own agenda. He started to talk about religion. Brian Wilson is sitting there with this striped shirt on, bigger than ever and every question he answers was slow on non-music but quick on the music ones. He said to Andrew ‘How do you see me?’ He said ‘You’re the man who went to the edge and was held by his ankles – went to the edge and didn’t like the look of it.’ So he looked at me and I said ‘well, you look like a Beach Boy.” He said ‘what do you mean?’ I said, ‘well look at your shirt.’ and he stands up and pulls the shirt out and it’s like one of those striped deckchair shirts, and he starts laughing. All the restaurant is looking at him and then he realised why – because he’s standing there holding this shirt. Very nice man.

 

 

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Early Beach Boys and Murray Wilson

There’s another (Beach Boys) album that that’s been buried. Nobody’s got it – I’ve got a copy of it. He gave it to me and said ‘can you deal with Don Was?’

He said ‘how often did you come to see me?’ I said ‘quite a lot.’ He said ‘did I do the sandpit?’ I said ‘yes, I had to walk across the sandpit.’ He said ‘what about the rope?’ ‘Yes I did that one.’ He said ‘I’m ever so sorry.’ I said ‘what about the igloo tent?’ He said ‘I didn’t make you do that one as well, did I?’ I said ‘yes.’

Then I remember one day he gave the acetate of Pet Sounds. we got it on Friday afternoon and we go to Ivor Court and there’s Mick and Keith and John and Paul. Out comes the acetate….I mean, that dog barking at the end. I would have shot the bloody dog….so they all leave. John says ‘that’s it; that’s our album.’ By then the Stones were coming to end of their run. They were in a heavy drug period and Andrew just wanted out and I know Allen Klein always carries this guilt about having screwed Andrew. But the only person he pays without any problem every year is Andrew. I know what the amount is – it varies from year to year. But I tell you, if anyone’s done really well out of Allen Klein, it’s Andrew. I only realised it recently when I was doing background for him a couple of years ago, that he wanted Allen to come along and take him out of the picture. In a way he (Allen) was like a shining knight – nobody realised it. Even I didn’t suss it at the time, but for Andrew it was a relief. It was over. He’d done his bit. Mick had sucked him dry but he didn’t mind because he enjoyed it.

Back to Decca…

Jimmy Savile walked in one day. He said ‘you’re the one. It’s Friday; bring a bag, you’re coming to Leeds.’ We get to the Briggate about 11.30, there’s this queue. I say ‘what’s that? He says ‘Record Session. They’re paying sixpence each, 6,000 kids, midnight to 2am.’ I mean, he used to play that Michael Bentine record of him doing the football results. He had a bird doing a blow-job under the record deck whicle he was doing it. He taught me how to play records. The only time he got annoyed with me was when he fell in love with Rosemary Frankland, Miss World. He disappeared one night, so I looked up and thought ‘the boss is away, you look after the goods.’ He went ‘you f…… c…, you nicked my bird’ in the worst Yorkshire accent. I said ‘but Jim, you also told me they were birds, they were there for everybody. I’m only practising what you preach.’ ‘You’re absolutely right – let’s go’

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I ended updoing all the London places. The best one was the Lyceum which was 12-2 on  a Sunday. Great idea. I said ‘look, you’re never going to get away with it in London’, because there were no live bands. I learned at Decca how hard it was to get air time. You had Pat Doncaster (Daily Mirror) on a Saturday, big deal that, kiss his arse. Mike Lipman (?-I can find no reference to this name) was the Decca press officer – gee, where did they get these people? Jack Bentley didn’t like our record artists – he was Syd’s man – didn’t want to write about anyone else. Pat used to split is 50/50 ‘Do you want the lead this week?’ I mean he was quite good about it, because there were only two record companies and then Pye cropped up. So he said (and I assume he was still talking about Savile) ‘there’s Ilford Palais, Tottenham Royal, Streatham Locarno, and the Lyceum.’ He paid the band and wouldn’t let them go on. There was nothing in the Musicians’ Union contract that said they had to play, it just said they had to be paid. So many records, so much band time. You couldn’t go into dance hall and just play four hours of records. He revolutionised it and he never got the credit for it. The only one who wouldn’t back down was Dave Cready (?) who managed the Lyceum. He had Cyril Stapleton who was on from 6-7 in the afternoon. Poor Cyril. He (Savile) used to play David Rose’s ‘The Stripper’ and always used to say ‘Any volunteers?’ and turn his back. One day…I mean this was the first stripper. She jumps on the stage stark bollock naked and jumps off again. I thought Cyril was going to have a heart attack – he could not believe it. The band just played on. Forget all the football and rugby streakers – they’re beind the times. We’ve done it all – we set the course. We just didn’t handle it properly,

Then you had Jack Jackson – all done from the Canary Islands. We used to have to send the records out by plane. He used to come in about two or three times a year.

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Jack Jackson

At Decca they had product meetings. They played a record and all sat there like they were on Juke Box Jury – they thought they were important. But they didn’t like records. ‘How’s the radio and television department doing?’ Decca release sheets, they set off this whole thing.

The first day I did the publicity on The Beatles on Love Me Do I set up all these interviews – I set up 10 in a day. I did half and hour and left – the very last one was with David Cardwell of Beat International, Sean Mahoney’s magazine, and McCartney had done the interviews all day. Lennon had not said a word – all I was getting was the eye contact, the winks and the nudges. David Cardwell starts trying to be clever. Paul is being really nice and suddenly Lennon says something like ‘What do you know about musicians? Have you ever played?’ He just laid into him and turned to me and said ‘We’re leaving now, let’s go.’ Many years later when I was living in Antigua I went up to New York and there was a shop called Alexanders opposite Bloomingdales and suddenly across the counters I see Lennon with Sean in the background, and this incredible Liverpool accent says to me ‘Does that f***** David Cardwell still have acne – because if he does he deserves it.’ And you think of all that had on since that day and he’d never forgotten the kid’s acne!

 

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Tony Calder with Mickie Most and ???

Ok, take a deep breath, because the next episode will be long, probably contentious and involves no questions from me, but includes Rolling Stones, Joe Meek, Larry Parnes, Tam Peyton and Bay City Rollers, Brian Jones and Immediate Records – oh, and Dean Martin!!

Text © David Hughes 2018. Photos from Google search purely for illustration and to break up the text!

 

 

 

 

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A Personal History of the British Record Business 54 – Tony Calder 1.

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Unlike most of my previous interviewees I can’t claim to have had more than a passing acquaintance with  Tony Calder, who died suddenly in January 2018. I didn’t even know what his claims to fame were, although I had heard stories of his and Andrew Loog Oldham’s publicity company and whether they, as opposed to Max Clifford , were responsible for the beginning of The Beatles’ recording career. Such relationship as I had with Tony came in my last five years with EMI when he, who was a friend of my boss Rupert Perry, used to be forever phoning me with requests for this and that. This interview I remember as being pretty chaotic, starting off in his office, being interrupted by Bill Kimber, moving to a cafe or pub and then returning to the office.

How did you get to Decca?

I had a paper round and I did it for a week and thought ‘this is madness.’. So I wrote to Decca Records saying their Teen and Twenty Disc Club wasn’t very good. I got a letter back from S.A. Beecher Stevens which said ‘OK smartarse, we’ll pay you £1 a week or soemthing, to write a report on it.’ So there I was, some 15-year-old schoolboy being paid to listen to Radio Luxembourg. When I was going to leave school to work for the British American Tobacco conmpany, I think it was, in Southampton, I rang up Beecher Stevens and he said ‘Start on Monday, £15 a week and I’ll pay your train fare.’ I suppose today you’d call in a Product Manager trainee. He ran the sales and marketing departments; I was the kid who played records on Southampton pier and who was meant o know what was going on. This was 1961-2.

At one end of the fifth floor at Decca was A&R with Dick Rowe and Hugh Mendl, Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

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Dick Rowe (l), Hugh Mendl (r)

Then  you had the Beecher-Stevens operation at the other end, under which were two divisions – Colin Borland and John Russell-Thompson for singles. Get a load of that! As Sir Edward (Lewis) said ‘this is the normal company’ and I never knew what he meant by that. He took took me to a meeting one day at EMI – Sir Edward took me to meet Sir Joseph (Lockwood) and his personal assistant, whom I had only met once until about six of seven years ago when we were in a restaurant with Rupert (Perry) and he says ‘excuse me’ and goes and talks to someone else, who was William Cavendish (Sir Joseph’s assistant). The only straight guy at Decca was a man called Frank Lee who was head of A&R and had a Mercedes 190 Golring – that was the first time I realised there was more to life than just rock’n’roll – you could have a car that everybody liked.

I loved Dick Rowe. He was one of the nicest people. After I left and was involved with Andrew (Loog Oldham), he knew we had no money. We were sitting there with a number one record with the Rolling Stones but we had no money. He would say, ‘bring us any record.’ and we’d take it to him and he’d give us £200 on a Friday for it. He was amazing – he never put them out! But we took one from Lou Adler with Johnny Rivers and overdubbed his voice. But Lou said ‘you can’t put it out – it’s happening here in America.’ So the only good record we ever gave him we had to stop.

In those days record companies were releasing a huge quantity of singles, weren’t they?

Decca were putting out like ten singles a week. Dick Rowe always got labelled as the guy who turned down The Beatles. I got to tell you anyone would have turned down that tape. The tape was pretty shit. He played it to me a couple of times and said ‘do I deserve this?’ The boy who was nasty about it was his son, Richard. Andrew said to him ‘your father was very good to us’ The guy (Dick) was good to us – he did singles and Hugh Mendl did albums. Frank Lee just suddenly disappeared one day. I knew Sir Edward didn’t like him.

What was the relevance of albums in those days?

Well, they (Decca) started their own album department – did 10″ albums, like the Billy Fury one, and the dreadful David Whitfield.

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You could make an album in two days, twelve songs in four sessions. The word ‘mixing’ never came into it. But I do remember being called up to the seventh floor one day about six-o-clock. There was a guy called Bob Crab – I don’t know what the hell he did. W.W. Townsley, who was Sir Edward’s right hand man for the record company was there too. It was about 12″ albums. I said ‘why don’t you put them in a round sleeve? ‘Roll out the rack, young man, don’t be so stupid.’ So, many years later, when Steve Marriott said to me, ‘look, we’d really like to make it (Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake’) like a cigarette box.’ I called Ogden’s who sent over this amazing book and they (Small Faces) said ”Ere Tone, Ogden’s Nut Brown.’ So I ring the guy and say ‘We’d like to put cigarette papers in (the box).’ He said ‘wonderful – this conversation’s not taking place. We don’t care how we sell it (having Ogdens on the sleeve) – we just have to sell it.’ I said thank you, put the phone down and said ‘right, we’ve got that one; we can change the ‘gold’ to ‘brown’ and what’s more, let’s put it in a round sleeve.’ We found a printer to cut some paper – that was grief. I sent one of the first copies to W.W. Townsley and said ‘thanks for the idea!’ He never spoke to me again. From that day on he would never speak to me. When we were doing Immediate I went back in the see him and said ‘Look, why don’t you take over Immediate and we’ll run the record company for you.’ Then Ken East popped up there (Decca). He never liked me but always got on with Andrew. After I’d left Immediate, one minute Ken wanted to get rid of it all, the next he wanted to save it. Andrew went to Ken East who said ‘no I won’t give you the money.’ Immediate should never have gone – there was so much money in the pipeline around the world. It was immoral what they did – they just killed it. Whether it was Andrew being cocky or off-hand or drugged at the time, I don’t know because I was gone. I remember ringing up Andrew from Antigua and saying ‘I’ll come back – we’ve got to deal with it.’ We had this dreadful debenture with UA. Andrew went off for one of his sleep treatments, so I did a deal for Itchycoo Park with UA and then he comes out and disappears to America. Lou (Adler) introduces him to Clive Davis and they do a deal and I say ‘wait a minute, I’ve done a deal. Get out of here.’ I must admit we wanted to go to CBS. I learned about the world from Andrew – I didn’t know much about the world record business. We had the Stones and he said ‘America – we’re going to America.’ All he wanted was America. If he hadn’t kept on with the Stones going to America, I don’t believe The Beatles or any of the other acts, would have happened. It was all his handiwork. I think the first three tours of America all lost money – it wasn’t until the fourth tour that it broke even. It was quite sad really. I remember we did this rodeo in Texas for the money – just to pay the expenses. They (The Stones) were in America before The Beatles – it was Andrew. Cliff Richard had been to America and died a million deaths. They’d put him on one of those terrible 50 acts Alan Freed style shows….it was sad.

 

 

 

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There’s a movie I’m working on now (2000-ish) Bongo  (you remember Cliff’s second movie ‘Expresso Bongo’ ?) about what happened to Bongo when he went to America and found his fame and fortune. It’s set in 1968. So he plays Vegas the year before Elvis and Elvis goes backstage with The Colonel and says ‘hey, that’s unbelievable – I’ll do it now. The Colonel wants me to play Vegas and I said ‘no’ I wouldn’t do it after my thing in 1959.’  Then I’ve got Andrew, Mick and Keith coming back and saying ‘hey man, how did you carry it off?’ This is a screenplay I’ve nearly finished. Anyone who reads it will believe that Bongo really exists. We do an open air concert in Sussex after the Isle of Wight and the year before Woodstock.  We’ve still got Johnny (Jackson – the part originally played by Laurnce Harvest) in there, but that part’s got to be played by Alan Rickman or Robert Lindsay. I was going to do it with Andrew but the man’s mad. I’ve got a thing about Scientology – you don’t need Scientology any more and he believes he does. About five years ago he said to me ‘I’ve got this great new diet.’ I said ‘yeah yeah’ and he said ‘it’s a herbal diet and it’s got me off the drugs. I’ve been on it for six weeks and I’m going up to San Francisco.’ I thought ‘oh yeah?’ I’m going ‘This doesn’t quite ring right me.’ About two months ago I rang up his ex-wife and ‘How’s Sean ? (the eldest son) and she said ‘well, Andrew’s agreed to pay him for him to do rehab, provided he does the Scientology diet.’ I don’t want to know about all that. But then Andrew was always looking for one of those  support systems.

 

 

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Andrew Loog Oldham and Tony Calder

Well….make of that what you will! That was the first three of 24 pages so eyes glued for a few weeks yet.I do recall the conversations being all over the place, but you certainly already have a flavour of the man. Next time we learn how Tony and Andrew met, a diversion into The Beach Boys and back to Decca, where the name Jimmy Savile pops up. Watch this space!

Words © David Hughes, 2018. Photos sourced via Google for illustration only.

 

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50 years ago in the Music Industry 12 – Disc & Music Echo, 1967-1972

The Love Affair were an unlikely hit band, but at the turn of 1967-68 they came out of nowhere to have a No. 1 hit with a song that in America had charted by Robert Knight – the Atlantic was still a big ocean then and American hits could be successfully covered here, thereby denying the originator any British glory. With my then “niche” being Tremeloes, Marmalade, Amen Corner, Herd, I guess Ray Coleman assumed these lads would fit my portfolio….credbility was never my strong point.  I remember Syd Bacon, the manager, was drummer Maurice’s father, which was the cause of some discomfort as the band’s success grew, and while Steve Ellis managed to sustain a solo career, this interview was never going to get to the nitty gritty!! Called a ’round-up’ I may have met them in the Golden Egg restuarant downstairs  – a favourite venue as they got fed! – or may just have given them these forms to fill in. Different times! (December 23 1967)

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