Guide to British Music of the 1960s

February 2024

Book Review: Immediate by Simon Spence

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Immediate was the first independent record label in the UK. It was established mid-1960s by Andrew Loog Oldham and Tony Calder. Andrew Loog Oldham was publicist for the Beatles before becoming involved with the Rolling Stones as manager and publicist. Immediate was a reaction to the control of the music industry by corporate men. There was a gap for a label that had more thought for the artists and, to this end, would boost creativity.

The Rolling Stones had some involvement with Immediate although they did not record for the label. Immediate worked like a family. Artists would often play on each other's records, sometimes write for others and sometimes produce others. Top session musicians like Jimmy Page and John-Paul Jones were involved. Page produced the first Fleurs de Lys single Wait for Me.

Immediate attracted some great talent. Disillusioned with Decca and Don Arden Small Faces signed and produced a run of classic singles and first-rate LPs including Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake. They were also involved with other artists such as PP Arnold, Billy Nicholls and Apostolic Intervention. Other major artists appeared on the Immediate label such as the Nice, Fleetwood Mac, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Rod Stewart, Amen Corner and many more household names.

Immediate gave much more free rein to the artists and this was repaid with some classic singles and albums. However, all was not well. The company was not run well. Drug taking, and not just the artists, did not help. There was extravagance and lots of studio time (expensive) but there was little or no control of where the money was going. Still receiving a good income from his Rolling Stones interests, Andrew Loog Oldham often had to bail the company out.

Immediate is now part of the massive Universal group. For many years the label went through different owners including different owners in the UK and overseas. However, this appears to have been resolved more recently with artists such as Small Faces receiving long-overdue royalties and high quality reissues of classic albums now available.

This book is an update of an earlier version. Simon Spence has conducted extensive research including many interviews with Andrew Loog Oldham which, apparently, were not the easiest interviews to conduct. As a result this is a very interesting insight into one of the UK's most innovative record labels.

Published: 7 September 2023

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