This post has been updated. See note below for details.
Andrew Loog Oldham, the Rolling Stones' early manager, producer and publicist who is being inducted this year into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has announced that he will skip the ceremony.
“I think those people basically hijacked the name 'rock 'n' roll,'” Oldham told an audience during a talk in March at the Berlin School of Creative Leadership. “I won't be there. I'll tell you why.... It's a television show. Twenty years ago it was an incredible party in the Waldorf-Astoria where everybody could behave exactly as they could 20 years ago. And then it became a business. I think it's healthier to stay home.”
Oldham, 70, also apparently is unhappy about some facet of the handling of his induction. On Friday, he tweeted, "Like Brian Epstein i was not consulted as regards this matter & like dear Brian I will not be going." Epstein died in 1967.
[Update at 11:47 a.m.: A spokeswoman for the Rock Hall said officials have no comment on Oldham's remarks.]
Oldham and Beatles manager Brian Epstein are being inducted this year as non-performers, receiving the Ahmet Ertegun Lifetime Achievement Award, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of 1964’s explosion of the British Invasion on U.S. shores.
Only 19 years old when he discovered and took over management of the Stones, Oldham is being saluted for his role in helping to shape their public image, pushing Jagger into the role of frontman for a group that began as guitarist Brian Jones’ blues band. He also encouraged Jagger and Keith Richards to write their own songs.
After producing the Rolling Stones' first five albums and their initial hit singles from 1963 to 1967, Oldham and the band parted ways, although he recently said he maintains correspondence with Richards from Oldham's home of the last 35 years in Bogota, Colombia.
Since 2005, he has hosted a satellite radio show six days a week that’s part of Little Steven’s Underground Garage channel on Sirius XM.
In an email interview posted recently on Cleveland.com, Oldham went on to say that, "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has become a televised spectacular. This is not the private, raunchy, no-holds-barred party at the Waldorf Astoria where Ahmet Ertegun spoke his brilliant mind and Phil Spector accepted his induction supported by three bodyguards.
“The [Rock Hall] has adjusted for the times and … I think it may have become an event for performers only and their fans. Rush last year, Nirvana and KISS this year. Now, for the Hall Of Fame to survive, it’s gone 'Simon Cowell' and that, unless you are a Rush or KISS fan, is a shame.”
Other musicians have expressed varying degrees of unhappiness about the Rock Hall’s opening up of the event to TV cameras. Neil Young boycotted the event in 1997 when he was being inducted as a member of Buffalo Springsfield, saying at that time, "This presentation is in direct opposition to what I believe. Although I accept the honor, in the name of Rock and Roll, I decline to take part in this TV presentation and be trotted out like some cheap awards show. There are already too many of these."
Young has subsequently attended the dinner, and in 2011 gave the induction speech when Tom Waits became a member.
Of Epstein, for whom Oldham worked briefly before connecting with the Stones, Oldham told Cleveland.com, “Without Brian Epstein, you and I would not be having this conversation. For he is the one who persevered and got his lads that all-elusive recording contract and those lads, the Beatles, changed the world and made it possible for all of us to find our various places in it.
“I really believe that Brian Epstein was sent to do just that, that Brian Jones was sent to form the Rolling Stones and I was sent to uncover them and start them on their way,” he said. “I am just lucky that I got to stay here longer.”
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