In 1963, Andrew Loog Oldham was an ultra-hip and precocious hustler of genius on the London scene, with a keen eye for the next look and a willingness to gamble on it. He was all of nineteen when Brian Epstein too him on to be the Beatles' London press agent, and already regarded as someone who could make things happen. But it was when he went to hear a relatively unknown blues combo perform that Oldham found his true calling. "I met the Rollin' Stones," he recalls simply, "and said hello to the rest of my life."
Stoned is a memoir of a London exploding out of post-War ambition and innocence. British war babies had absorbed American music-Elvis, Buddy Holly, Little Richard-the American movie, and James Dean, and from them synthesized a sound and look of their own. The time was ripe for brash entrepreneurs like Oldham, and they seized it. Oldham knew at a glance that the Stones were the future. He took on more than a band; he took on an irresistible force that, with his vision, would become the Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band of All Time.
In addition to indelible portraits of Mick Jagger and crew, Stoned regales the reader with candid memories of John Lennon ("Being with Lennon was a verbal exposition of the Russian Roulette sequence in Michael Cimino's The Deer Hunter), Bob Dylan ("He wasn't an act, even if he was. He had the magic and words of life already"), and Marianne Faithfull-whom Oldham also created. Joined by contemporaries such as Pete Townshend, Vidal Sassoon, Diana Vreeland, Nik Cohn, and others who counted, Oldham gives us a privileged, brilliantly clear-eyed, and unmistakably authentic view back to where, for generations of music fans, things first started rolling.
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Andrew Loog Oldham currently lives in Bogotá, Colombia.From Publishers Weekly:
Oldham is and forever will be best known as the trendy hustler from mid-1960s swinging London who discovered the Rolling Stones and molded their bad-boy tendencies in his own image. After the Stones unceremoniously dumped him as manager during the Summer of Love, Oldham more or less disappeared from the rock 'n' roll mapAproducing a few artists here and there and living off his past success. But as shown by this delightful cut-and-paste romp (interviews with Oldham spliced together with comments from other hipsters such as designer Mary Quant, the Who's Pete Townshend and writer Nik CohnAbut, curiously, no interviews with any of the Stones), Oldham's memories are not only sharp, insightful and full of gossip, but also reflect that he has probably forgotten more about the music business in his fast-paced early life than most of his peers can claim to know. The Stones don't appear until halfway through the book, but the pre-1963 material is perhaps the most intriguing part of Oldham's memoir. As he moved from posh schools to '50s lowlife to early '60s social scenes, Oldham probably met every big name and con artist who ever populated London or the south of FranceAfrom Picasso (from whom he bummed money) to infamous producers Mickie Most and Phil Spector. The wealth of information, details and larger-than-life stories about the London music scene before the Beatles and the Stones that Oldham recounts provides a valuable record of a fertile and fascinating, albeit overlooked, cultural era. At 19, he may have known "nothing about the music biz," as Pete Townshend confirms, but as a "worldly-wise" purveyor of '60s excess who may have blown his mind way back when, Oldham proves today with this hotter-than-hot-for-hard-core-fans memoir that he has never lost his sense or sensibility. 60 b&w photos.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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