Aug. 24, 1933 – May 20, 2014
Prince Rupert zu Loewenstein, a Bavarian aristocrat and money manager who guided the Rolling Stones to riches and through financial crises – helping to elevate them to an economic behemoth – without ever acquiring a taste for rock music, died Tuesday in London. He was 80.
His friend Hugo Vickers confirmed the death, the Associated Press reported. Loewenstein had Parkinson’s disease.
Loewenstein masterminded the Stones’ release from a contract that had left them playing concerts and making records for almost nothing. He successfully urged them to leave England, initially for the south of France, to escape high taxes. He copyrighted their red-tongue logo, enlisted General Electric to sponsor a concert tour and licensed classic Stones hits for commercials. Microsoft and Apple have used the band’s songs.
Loewenstein did business with a skein of companies in the Netherlands to reduce taxes. The Stones rehearsed in Canada, not the United States, for the same reason.
A friend who knew Jagger asked Loewenstein if he could help the Rolling Stones with their finances. They wanted to get out of a contract with their American manager that they said had yielded little profit for the group. Loewenstein negotiated an exit, but at a price: The American manager retained the rights to all the Stones’ songs through 1971. The prince also helped extricate the band from a contract with Decca Records so that they could sign with Atlantic.
But he never warmed to rock music, saying he preferred classical, as he did a proper suit and handmade shirts. Indeed, he said he never played a Stones recording by choice. If he had to listen to a rock band, he said, he preferred the Beatles.
Loewenstein’s survivors include his wife, the former Josephine Lowry-Corry; his sons, Princes Rudolf and Konrad, both of whom became Catholic priests; and his daughter, Princess Maria-Theodora, who married an Italian count.
– New York Times