A key figure in creating the image of the Who, pop impresario Chris stamp founded his own label, Track Records, with his business partner Kit Lambert. One of their first signings was Jimi Hendrix.
Stamp met Lambert when he was working as an assistant producer at Shepperton Studios. In 1963, they decided to make a film about the emergent beat group scene. The following year, Stamp found the group they needed to appear in the film.
The High Numbers, as the Who were then called, were playing in a pub in Harrow. Lambert flew back from Dublin to hear them. Then, Stamp and Lambert signed the group to their company, New Action, each of them taking 20% of the band’s earnings.
A deal was negotiated with Decca, which recorded the Who’s first hit, I Can’t Explain (1955). But the deal was a poor one and Stamp and Lambert spent part of the following year extricating the group from Decca, signing a new deal with Polydor and later launching Track Records.
On some of the band’s greatest recordings, Tommy (1969) and Quadrophenia (1973), Stamp was credited as associate producer. But that same year, Roger Daltrey, the Who’s lead singer, initiated an audit of the band’s accounts and found that all was not well. Litigation commenced and it was not until four years later that the group’s earnings reverted to them. Stamp and Lambert walked away with nothing and Track went into liquidation.
The main problem was that Stamp and Lambert had revelled in the drugs culture of the times. Pete Townshend said later that “the pair lived like rock stars and stopped functioning as the type of managers we still needed”.
A reconciliation was agreed in 1990. Daltrey explained: “It was a period when the record industry was growing so fast and the business couldn’t keep up.”
The younger brother of the actor Terence Stamp, Chris Stamp, who was born on July 7, 1942, died on November 24, aged 70.