Former Beatles Promoter Tony Calder Dies

Tony Calder, who helped launch many artists’ careers, including the Beatles’, passed away on Jan. 2 at the age of 74.   

The Beatles
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– The Beatles
The Beatles arrive at London Airport February 6, 1964, after a trip to Paris.

Calder started out in the UK music business in the 1960s, when he helped the Beatles’ career take off. In an interview with BBC 6 Radio, he once explained the story, which revolved around “Love Me Do,” the band’s debut single: “It was not getting radio play and after the first week they were in panic,” Calder explained.

“And that’s when I thought, ‘This fills all the Mecca dancehalls that I play at – let’s do that round the country.’” Calder was a DJ for the Mecca corporation at the time and sent out 100 copies of the single to clubs all over the UK. “We mailed it on the Monday. By Wednesday, they were all playing it,” he recalled.

Calder was also instrumental in creating The Rolling Stones’ reputation as the bad boys of British Rock, together with the band’s manager Andrew Loog Oldham, with whom he founded PR company Image.

Both men also launched independent record label Immediate in 1965, which released records of Rod Stewart, Fleetwood Mac, PP Arnold and Small Faces, among others, in its short five years of existence.

Calder continued to work with artists like Black Sabbath, Eddy Grant and the Bay City Rollers throughout the 1970s and 1980s. He reportedly died of complications from pneumonia at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London.

A couple of friends and former colleagues shared their thoughts online. Oldham tweeted: “A member of the family has left us – TONY CALDER 1938-2018 R.I.P. abrazo o.”

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>A member of the family has left us – TONY CALDER 1938-2018 R.I.P. abrazo o <a href=””></a></p>&mdash; Andrew Loog Oldham (@loogoldham) <a href=””>January 2, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Paul Madden, owner of London’s Smokehouse Studios and the Coach House Studios is Northern France, wrote: “Tony Calder RIP. I got the sad news a couple of days ago of the passing of TC. Tony was one of the great characters of what then was a real industry. Love him or hate him. He new talent when it came across his desk. He also new how to enjoy life. We had some great times back in the 80s. Recorded some great tunes (my studio bill often paid in flights to Antigua) and made friendships that have endured to this day. Thanks TC!”

Steve Jenkins, former MD of Jive Records, whose many stations in the business included Immediate Records, wrote on Jan. 2: “With great sadness I have to report that Tony Calder died today, in 1973 he gave a kid from Walsall a chance in the record business and remained a friend of mine for all these years, my thanks will always be with him. RIP Tony.”

“The Countess” Alex Zapak wrote: “R.I.P my dear surrogate Dad Tony Calder, music biz legend, Immediate Records founder, Rock N’ Roll royalty, incredibly loyal and my friend for 30 years. There will never be another like TC. I am so sorry I did not get a chance to see him before the end.”