- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (March 5, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1620400340
- ISBN-13: 978-1620400340
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 34 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,223,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Prince Among Stones: That Business with the Rolling Stones and Other Adventures Hardcover – March 5, 2013
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Loewenstein, former “director of the merchant bank Leopold Joseph,” met Mick Jagger in 1968. A Stones insider asked if he would be interested in “taking care of the finances” for the band. The band’s name “meant virtually nothing to” Loewenstein, but he accepted the offer. In 1968, rock bands were not paid well by today’s standards, even the Beatles and the Stones. The Stones’ recording contract with Decca was bad enough, but their rights to “future earnings of the masters and copyrights” had been sold to Allen Klein, who had bound the band to him by a “bewildering mass of contracts.” After extricating them from the nefarious clutches of Klein and Decca, “Prince Rupert” later prompted them to become tax exiles and, over the years, contributed much to making Rolling Stones Inc. one of the most profitable brands in the world. This smoothly written autobiography is an essential companion to all of the other Stones titles coming out in honor of their fiftieth year in the music biz. --Mike Tribby
“[Loewenstein's] account of his years with Their Satanic Majesties is discreet, gently disapproving, resolutely unshockable, undeniably affectionate.” ―The Wall Street Journal
“This smoothly written autobiography is an essential companion to all of the other Stones titles coming out in honor of their fiftieth year in the music biz.” ―Booklist
“[A]n elegant biography that provides new insights into the Stones' financial escapades.” ―Publishers Weekly
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Mick Jagger brought Lowenstein in to look at The Stones' business affairs when, despite being one of the most popular music groups in the world, they were near financial ruin. After analyzing the situation, his first task was to gain a release from their contract with Decca Records. He also had to resolve an abusive relationship and tangle of contracts involving former manager, Allen Klein, which had led to them owing a huge tax bill while having little actual money.
Lowenstein secured a new recording contract with Ahmet Ertegun and Atlantic Records for what would be the monster album "Sticky Fingers." It was also Lowenstein who, for tax reasons, advised The Stones to leave the UK and decamp to the South of France where they recorded "Exile on Main Street." He also reorganized the economics of touring which grew to the huge moneymaker that it remains to this day.
One would have liked more detail on exactly how various legal negotiations were hammered out, as well as more specifics on how the dollar amounts and percentages were arranged in the great Stones moneymaking machine. That said, Lowenstein was their loyal business manager for some forty years, so I don't think we should expect him to air the particulars of his client's business in public.
On the whole, it's an enjoyable read, perhaps mainly because of "the Prince's" overall affability and breezy tone. It's also a quick read at 233 pages, which to Lowenstein's credit is probably exactly the right length.
This is far from being another typical rock-n-roll autobio. I am a nearly lifelong Rolling Stones fan. My earliest musical memory is of my uncle powering up an enormous and very '70's stereo and then putting on 'Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out'. I was instantly hooked! That being the case, I've read quite a few of the Stones bio's that are of the normal, "shoot-heroin-and-bang-groupies" variety.
This book offers a very different view of the band and the music industry in general. Prince Rupert was a very unlikely candidate for the job that he undertook as the Stones financial adviser, but they should be damned thankful that he did! This is due to the fact that Prince Rupert was not already a "music industry guy". If he had been, then today the Stones would be nearly broke like so many other musicians whose finances were sloppily managed. As it happened, Prince Rupert was a merchant banker in "The City", or London's financial district. He was also a man whose integrity was as well-formed as his snobbery. Again, the Stones were lucky to find him!
Rupert tells many stories about purging the Stones affairs of the corrupt practices that were the music industry norm at that time (graft, disappearing cash, side deals being made without the artist's full knowledge or understanding, contracts worthy of Caligula). He also explains how he was instrumental in cleaning up the industry's practices and raising the bar for music business management. The longevity and ongoing success of the band and Rupert's behind-the-scenes business dealings worked in tandem with one another very well and for a long time.
Another standout is Rupert's sense of humor, which is dry and English almost beyond belief! Without ever having met the man, just reading the book is enough to convince one that Rupert is the epitome of the unflappable Englishman, perhaps even more than he realizes.
Do be aware that there are sizable portions of this book that do not involve the Stones. The band is one of many characters this time, as opposed to being the entire book like they normally are. Some portions of the book are more Masterpiece Theater than rock-n-roll, but very amusing all the same.
Other musicians appear as well. One brief encounter with Cat Stevens (at that time very recently recast as Yusuf Islam) is hilarious and yet another platform for Rupert's laconic wit. A fascinating read all around!