Chris Stamp, who with his business partner Kit Lambert was an original manager of The Who and co-founded the band’s label Track Records, has died aged 70 after losing a battle with cancer.
Brother of actor Terence Stamp, Chris was born and raised in East London. He met Lambert while working at the Shepperton Film Studios. In 1963 the two men decided to make a film about the rising British rock scene, and in the process met The Who, then performing as The High Numbers. Stamp and Lambert struck up a quick friendship with the band’s members, and subsequently bought out the group’s existing manager and persuaded the band to change their name to The Who.
Encouraging the band to make their live performances even more manic, The Who started to enjoy success under Stamp and Lambert’s guidance. Track Records was set up in 1966, mainly to release The Who’s recordings, although it quickly started putting out records by other acts too, including the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Arthur Brown’s hit single ‘Fire’. Stamp also produced many of the records the label released, and executive produced both ‘Tommy’ and ‘Quadrophenia’.
Relations between the band and management started to cool in the 1970s though, with the band’s Pete Townshend subsequently recalling how the managers started to live like rock stars too, which isn’t necessarily what you want from the people overseeing the business side of the operation. Stamp and Lambert stopped managing The Who in 1975 and relocated to New York where they continued to run the Track label.
Lambert died after suffering a brain haemorrhage in 1981, while Stamp faced his demons in the 1980s, ultimately entering rehab in 1987. He subsequently overcame his addictions and began a second career as a therapist and addiction counsellor. He also re-established his connections with The Who, and appeared in documentaries about the band, wrote liner notes for 1995 album ‘A Quick One’, and sat on the board of the John Entwistle Foundation, which was established after The Who bassist died in 2002.
Paying tribute to Stamp at a gig in Detroit this weekend, Who frontman Roger Daltrey, according to Billboard, told his audience that his one-time manager “flew into the universe on a pair of rainbow wings … Chris, we can never thank you enough, well, I can’t, for what you brought to my life”