Calder helped The Beatles early on in their career, and also worked with the likes of the Beach Boys, Black Sabbath and Fleetwood Mac
Tony Calder, who promoted The Beatles in the early stages of their career and co-founded the Immediate Records label, has died at the age of 74.
Calder worked for Decca Records in the early 1960s, and in 1962 was tasked by Brian Epstein with promoting The Beatles’ first single, ‘Love Me Do’, after it failed to receive any radio play in the first week of its release.
Calder personally sent 100 copies of the single to clubs all over the UK, attaching a note which claimed it was “a guaranteed floor-filler.”
“We mailed it on the Monday. By Wednesday, they were all playing it,” Calder recalled. The song reached number 17 in the UK singles chart as a result.
Calder would later go on to co-found the PR company Image with the manager of The Rolling Stones, Andrew Loog Oldham. Together, the pair went about creating a reputation for the Stones in the mid-1960s as the bad boys of British music.
“In those days you couldn’t get pop stars on the front page of a national paper,” Calder once recalled about looking after the Stones. “It took a report of Mick urinating on the wall of a petrol station to do that, when actually it was Bill Wyman.
“Andrew and I sold that story. We got 10 quid each for it.”
Calder and Oldham also founded the short-lived independent label Immediate Records in 1965, signing a host of acts including the Small Faces, Rod Stewart, Nico and Fleetwood Mac. The label folded in 1970 after losing millions of pounds, and the founders became embroiled in legal disputes with a number of the Immediate artists for a number of years.
Later in his career, Calder also signed Black Sabbath and The Bay City Rollers, while he also enjoyed a stint managing Eddie Grant.
According to reports, Calder died of complications from pneumonia at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London earlier this week.
Oldham has led the tributes to Calder, telling Variety: “Tony had ears and balls. I loved him and he will be missed.”