Chris Stamp: The Who's co-manager who also helped launch Jimi Hendrix in the UK - Obituaries - News - The Independent

Chris Stamp: The Who's co-manager who also helped launch Jimi Hendrix in the UK

 

Chris Stamp was the streetwise half of the management team behind The Who's rise from Mod heroes to one of the biggest and most influential rock groups. With his business partner Kit Lambert, son of the composer Constant Lambert, he encouraged the flights of fancy of songwriter and guitarist Pete Townshend as the band evolved from their repertoire of covers via the stuttering teenage angst of "I Can't Explain" and "My Generation" to the grand concepts of the rock operas Tommy and Quadrophenia.

The pair managed The Who from 1962-75, through the band's glory years, and also founded Track Records, the label which helped launch the Jimi Hendrix Experience in the UK and issued the British chart-toppers "Fire" by the Crazy World Of Arthur Brown and "Something In The Air" by Thunderclap Newman. According to singer Roger Daltrey, "Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp were the fifth and sixth members of The Who: Kit, with outrageous behaviour and ideas on how to manipulate the media, and Chris, the expert in cool, menace, and scams! Their contribution to the band should never be underestimated."

Born in 1942 the son of a tugboat captain, he grew up in the East End. Like his older brother, the actor Terence Stamp, he was mostly brought up by his mother, grandmother and aunts since his father was often away at sea. In the early 1960s, intent on following his brother into the cinema, he worked at Shepperton Studios, where he met Lambert, who was five years his senior. They shared a flat and worked on the kitchen-sink dramas The L-Shaped Room and Of Human Bondage while planning a documentary about the beat explosion. "Our idea was to find a group that somehow represented the emerging ideas of our time," he said. "They would be rebellious and anarchistic."

In summer 1964 Lambert saw the High Numbers – Daltrey, Townshend, bassist John Entwistle and madcap drummer Keith Moon, at the Railway Hotel in Harrow. He was so impressed by the "hypnotic effect" their feedback-drenched performance had on the audience that he rang Stamp, who was in Dublin working on a Sean O'Casey biopic. They attended another gig, at Watford Trade Union Hall, established arapport with the musicians and decided their involvement would stretch beyond a documentary.

Within weeks, they had ousted manager Peter Meaden – who received £200 for a contract whose validity was disputed – and took over the band for 20 per cent of their earnings. They restored The Who name the group had used and turned them into the ultimate Power Pop outfit.

The Who were arguably second only to The Beatles in their mastering of the album as an art form with the pirate radio tribute concept The Who Sell Out issued in December 1967. The Lambert-Stamp partnership played an important part in the blossoming of Townshend as an ambitious composer willing to confront his demons and keen to make a deep and lasting connection with his fans.

Despite their lack of experience, Stamp and the public school-educated Lambert showed a remarkable flair for managing the artistic side of The Who and learned from their business mistakes, moving them on from the Decca/Brunswick deal they had made with producer Shel Talmy in 1965, via Robert Stigwood's Reaction label in 1966, to their own Polydor-backed Track venture in 1967.

Track got off to a flying start with its first two releases, the second Hendrix single, "Purple Haze", and Are You Experienced?, and helped the careers of Marc Bolan, then with John's Children, Marsha Hunt, and the Parliaments, featuring George Clinton. As well as the The Who in the 1970s it also provided a UK home for the Dutch rock band Golden Earring, the wacky duo of John Otway & Wild Willy Barrett and Shakin' Stevens, and issued a series of Backtrack compilations – now very collectable.

However, Lambert and Stamp fell for the rock'n'roll lifestyle as much as the anarchic Moon, and became liabilities rather than assets to The Who. "We were out to lunch, no doubt about that," Stamp admitted. In 1972 Daltrey requested an audit and found a "black hole". Stamp claimed: "None of the money had gone missing, it just wasn't in the books. Keith Moon used to grab a big bundle of cash, so did Pete Townshend, so did John Entwistle and so did Roger Daltrey. You knew there was drugs money, booze money and madness money, and that's where it went. This was years of madness and mayhem on the road, smashed cars and paid-off chicks and so on. Anyone in rock'n'roll knew that."

Stamp was executive producer of the albums Magic Bus, Tommy, Who's Next and Quadrophenia – on which he was story consultant – and Ken Russell's Tommy film, but in 1975 he and Lambert were replaced by Bill Curbishley, an East End figure with a fearsome reputation who had worked at Track. They moved to New York, renewing their association with Labelle, before mothballing Track and dissolving their partnership in 1977.

Lambert died of a brain haemorrhage four years later while Stamp eventually kicked a drug habit in the late 1980s. He emerged from rehabilitation with a renewed zest for life, becoming a therapist and addiction counsellor in New York alongside his second wife, Calixte. In the mid-'90s he was reconciled with The Who and contributed liner notes to archival projects including the re-release of the 1966 album A Quick One. In 2008 he reminisced in the BBC series Pop Britannia. He died of cancer.

Pierre Perrone

I first met Chris Stamp in 1977 when we at Albion were agents for Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers, who were signed to Track, writes Ian Grant. I admit to being in awe of him because, like Brian Epstein and Andrew Loog Oldham, Chris and his partner Kit Lambert, were larger-than-life figures as much as the artists they represented. True movers and shakers. The Who were the first band I ever saw, in 1967 and from that night on, I wanted to be involved in the music business. Chris and Kit were inspirational.

Christopher Thomas Stamp, rock manager and therapist: born London 7 July 1942; twice married (two daughters); died New York 24 November 2012.

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Energy Markets Analyst

£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...

Junior Web Analyst – West Sussex – Up to £35k DOE

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Nursery Manager

£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...

Web Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k - London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week