Stones Re-sign With Atlantic, Future Uncertain

Keith Richards trial set for June

Bill Wymann, Ron Wood, Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts in London, England on September 14th, 1977.
Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
April 21, 1977

New York — All of the Rolling Stones — except for Keith Richards, who remains in a hotel in Toronto — met here March 15th and decided to re-sign with Atlantic Records for United States and Canadian distribution of product from their own Rolling Stones record company.

Terms of the deal — how much money, how many albums and for how many years — were not divulged by Atlantic's chairman of the board, Ahmet Ertegun, or by any of the Stones' team of attorneys and business managers. (Rumors about competitive bidding shortly before the Atlantic announcement put offers in the area of $7 million for six albums.) The Stones previously signed with EMI for distribution outside the U.S. and Canada, and that agreement was for six albums at a guaranteed $1.7 million per album.

In a statement to the press, Ertegun spoke of Atlantic's good relationship with the Stones since their initial signing in April 1971. The association, he said, has resulted in six gold albums.

The Stones toasted the Atlantic agreement with champagne.

Meantime, guitarist Keith Richards was in Toronto awaiting a visa following his March 14th court appearance. His hearing in connection with his arrest for possession of cocaine and for trafficking in heroin was remanded to June 27th, at which time a trial date will be set. Anita Pallenberg, whose own bust February 24th at the Toronto airport reportedly led to Richards' arrest, was fined $400 for possession of hashish and heroin, and deportation proceedings were begun against her. After her court appearance, she said: "The judge was very kind to me."

This is a story from the April 21, 1977 issue of Rolling Stone.

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