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It’s All Still Up In The Air

The Stones plan to set up their own recording company.

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones rehearse on stage at the Baltiska Hallen in Malmo, Sweden.

Jan Persson/Redferns

The Rolling Stones have informed Allen Klein in a July 29th statement that” . . . neither he nor Abkco Industries Inc., nor any other company have any authority to negotiate recording contracts on their behalf in the future.”

What exactly this means is uncertain. The Stones’ contract with Decca in England has expired, and, as is common knowledge, they plan to set up their own record company. Marshall Chess, the 28-year old son of Chess Records co-founder Leonard, has apparently been chosen to be president of the new company. Atlantic appears to have the best shot at distribution rights in the States.

In this country, the Stones were not under contract to London Records. They were under contract to Abkco, which, in turn, had a contract with London. The Stones are known to be attracted by the idea of having their albums distributed by a smaller, independent company like Blue Thumb in the United States, whom Jagger has been talking to, and possibly Island Records in England.

But nobody’s talking much. The Stones themselves won’t say any more than they already have. Chess has refused comment because “everything’s still up in the air.”

Klein’s office released a short statement which said, “This development will not alter the rights of Abkco Industries under existing agreements, including the right to manufacture Rolling Stones records in the future.”

In addition to manufacturing rights, Klein claims there’s still 18 months to go on the music publishing contract he holds with the Stones. There never was a personal management contract.

And in England, the Stones are reported to owe Decca seven more albums under their three-album-a-year contract. They’ve presumably been assured by someone that some sort of deal can be worked out which would free them from this obligation. The forthcoming live album, Get Yer Ya-Yas Out!, would probably figure into any such deal.

All of Klein’s rights to the Stones are a result of the deal he made back when he bought out Andrew Loog Oldham and Eric Easton, the original managers of the Stones. Klein was appointed their manager on August 28th, 1965, four days after he met them at the London Hilton.

An anonymous source in the Stones’ London office admitted that they couldn’t sever ties with Klein entirely, and added, “You might say his sphere of influence will be smaller now.”

Klein says he “knew Mick was jealous all along since I got the Beatles . . . I think they were possibly concerned that they would come under the Beatles. I absolutely wanted the both of them together, not necessarily to share the money, but together they would have the power, without going to the establishment . . . would be able to control the establishment by the sheer weight of their talent.”

“A heavy number,” said the Stones’ source.

This story is from the September 3rd, 1970 issue of Rolling Stone.


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