The Rise and Fall of the UK’s First Independent Record Label by Simon Spence

REVIEW: The Rise and Fall of the UK’s First Independent Record Label by Simon Spence

Immediate Records had a typeface as iconic as the artists that contributed for this world renowned label. Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Chris Farlowe, Small Faces, Amen Corner, PP Arnold, John Mayall, John Paul Jones and many more all recorded for this hip and happening label back in the 1960’s.

At the heart of the label was the sharply dressed, quick witted and all round take it or leave it businessman Andrew Loog Oldham. Always suited and booted, hair neat and tidy with a pair of sunglasses hanging over his nose Loog Oldham took no prisoners, full of confidence, he was one of the youngest managers around, his connections lead him to the top of the tree looking after the affairs of The Rolling Stones, moving them to number one success in the singles and album charts, Loog Oldham could seemingly do no wrong.

A timely reissue of Immediate; F*ck Them All; The Rise and Fall of the UK’s First Independent Record Label by Simon Spence via Backstage Books displays in oft graphic detail the rise and fall of the label and artists the went along for the sometimes bumpy ride. The beginning of the book is attention grabbing, Spence telling yarn upon yarn of his first dealings with Loog Oldham snorting cocaine, wild, dangerous and eccentric as you might not be able to imagine, it was seemingly these initial interactions that trust was gained and the beginning of their now friendship started.

As you can probably guess the first fruits of Immediate was helped by Loog Oldham managing The Stones, he along with fellow label partner Ton Calder, started what would turn out to be a musical monster, spawning musical beginnings for artists that are now a staple diet of the 1960’s back catalogue. The book contains many tales of how the label would use full page adverts in the weekly music papers to draw attention to their latest release. This was only scratching the surface of the tactics used to help the label gain maximum exposure.

As you might have already gleaned from stories of Loog Oldham he wasn’t to avoid making his point firmly stand out, one such is as follows ‘During the sessions for (Twice As Much ) Own Up members of a large string ensemble were overheard in the toilet saying, “this is bloody rubbish, when’s it gonna be over”. Oldham obtained all their names and booked them again on a really hot day, turned the air con off, and had nothing for them to play. He just sat in front of them for three hours.’

There’s further juicy content added by Spence, pulling the reader into the pages making you want more and more, a couple of interesting anecdotes I noted included Jimi Hendrix favourite guitar riff, burning of the American flag, copious amounts of money being spent in recording studios, as well as trying to sign the hottest musical acts around which would eventually bring the label to an end with a crash but thankfully without any casualties.

With further names such as Don Arden, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Steve Marriott, The Yardbirds, Led Zepplin, Keith Emerson, the list of stories and catalogue of stories is simply breathing. Thankfully after all the tales from the exhaustive and eye opening foreword Loog Oldham is still friends with Spence, making this one of great tales of the 1960’s that has to be read to be believed.

F*ck Them All can be purchased via the following link 

Matt Mead

Matt Mead

Freelance writer who likes anything with heart and soul
Matt Mead

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