Andrew Loog Oldham (born 29 January 1944 in Paddington, West London) is an English producer, impresario and author. He was manager of The Rolling Stones in the 1960s, and was noted for his flamboyant style.
Oldham's father Andrew Loog was a United States Army Air Force lieutenant of Dutch descent who served with the Eighth Air Force; he was killed in June 1943 when his B-17 bomber was shot down over the English Channel. His Australian mother was a nurse and comptometer operator.
Oldham attended a number of schools, including Aylesbury School for Boys, Cokethorpe School in Oxfordshire, St Marylebone Grammar School and Wellingborough School in Northamptonshire. A self-proclaimed hustler who spent teenage summers swindling tourists in French towns, Oldham's interest in the pop culture of the 1960s and the Soho coffeehouse scene led to working for Carnaby Street mod designer John Stephen and later as an assistant in Mary Quant's shop.
Oldham became a press agent for British and American rock & roll acts and for producer Joe Meek, and did some London PR work for Brian Epstein, promoting The Beatles. In April 1963 he was tipped off by a journalist friend to check out a young R&B band called The Rolling Stones and with business partner Eric Easton took over their management from promoter Giorgio Gomelsky. The band signed with Decca by A&R head Dick Rowe, who had earlier declined to offer a contract to The Beatles.
Oldham moves that helped propel the group included: retaining ownership of the band's master tapes, which were then leased to Decca - a strategy picked up from Phil Spector, which allowed greater artistic freedom than a standard recording contract; bringing John Lennon and Paul McCartney to the recording studio at a crucial moment, which led to their "I Wanna Be Your Man" becoming the Rolling Stones' second single; getting the Rolling Stones to write their own material; and actively promoting a "bad boy" image for The Rolling Stones as a contrast to The Beatles.
Oldham himself generated widely-reprinted headlines like "Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone?" and album-cover blurbs encouraging fans to mug blind beggars for funds. Oldham discovered Marianne Faithfull at a party, giving her Jagger and Richards' "As Tears Go By" to record.
He also developed other studio talent with his Andrew Oldham Orchestra, in which Rolling Stones as well as London session players (including Steve Marriott on harmonica) recorded pop covers or instrumentals. These were rediscovered in the 1990s when the indie band The Verve used a string loop based on the orchestral arrangement of "The Last Time" in "Bitter Sweet Symphony"; in the ensuing court battle, songwriting royalties for the Verve track were awarded to Jagger and Richards.
As his acts' success increased, Oldham thrived on a reputation as a garrulous, androgynous gangster who wore makeup and shades but relied on his bodyguard "Reg" to threaten rivals.
Oldham sold his share of the Rolling Stones' management to Allen Klein in 1966, but continued in his role as the band's producer until late 1967. Relations with the band were, however, becoming strained for a number of reasons, including Oldham's drug use and erratic personality; the legal problems that the band was facing in 1967 compounded the difficulties.
After Oldham's departure, relationships between Oldham and the Rolling Stones were strained for several years.
In 1965 Oldham set up Immediate Records, one of the first independent labels in the UK, releasing work by PP Arnold, Chris Farlowe and the Small Faces (whom he purchased from Don Arden for £25,000 in 1967. Oldham also helped Derek Taylor publicise the Beach Boys Pet Sounds album by taking ads praising the album. Oldham enlisted songwriter Billy Nicholls to record a British response, the album Would You Believe?. After the Small Faces split in 1969, he put together Humble Pie, featuring Steve Marriott formerly of the Small Faces and Peter Frampton (ex-The Herd).
In the 1970s, Oldham worked in various parts of the US and in Colombia; Colombia has been his primary residence since the mid-80s, when he married Esther Farfan, a Colombian model. There he became a mentor for local bands.