Rock and roll is littered with the detritus of long gone record labels. Whether they were hip young independents taking on the might of the big record labels or the vanity imprints of rock and roll stars, it seemed that everyone and their brother at one point or another was starting a record label in the sixties. But some stood out more than others and Immediate Records was one that quickly rose to the top of the rock and roll heap only to crash and burn a scant five years after its founding. Born in England in 1965 from the heads of Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham and PR man extraordinaire Tony Calder, Immediate Records was intended to be something special. With help from producers Mick Jagger and Keith Richard as well as Eric Burdon and Glyn Johns and arrangements from future Zepmeister Jimmy Page, Immediate Records began at a time when rock and roll was dominated by pop grounds and ended at a time when “real” rock and roll was all about rock bands. Started in 1965 and folding in 1970, Immediate was relatively successful but as soften happened in the acid drenched love generation of the mid-sixties they often sold the sizzle and not the steak. The idea behind Immediate was of a loose, hip label catering to discriminating rock and roll fans. Oldham and Calder structured Immediate as a reaction to the staid, formal atmosphere that existed at the big record labels of the time. Starting off with a hit in “Hang on Sloopy” by The McCoys, artists on the Immediate roster included The Nice, The Small Faces (who released one of my personal favourite titles ever for a record “Ogden Nut Gone Flake), Rod Stewart, Chris Farlowe, Humble Pie, John Mayall and a host of others. Since the label folded, the fate of Immediate Records resembled something out of “Bleak House” by Dickens. Countless lawsuits and sales of the original material makes tracing the ownership of the Immediate masters very difficult, especially since Oldham has only now awoken from his drug addled sleep to lead the charge and reclaim his rightful legacy. Immediate was certainly an interesting label that put out some really good stuff in its prime and it’s a shame that it didn’t survive to build on the foundation laid in the sixties. If anything, Immediate paved the way for the other hip independent labels to come. It certainly inspired the likes of The Beatles in creating their ill-fated Apple Records empire. By far the best website dedicated to Immediate Records has to be The Unofficial Immediate Records Homepage. Everything and anything you need to know about the rock and roll legacy left by Immediate Records is there for the taking. Some quick facts:
Started Aug 20, 1965.
Folded Feb 1970
Released 84 singles
24 UK Top 50 hits of which 9 went UK top 10
“Out of Time” by Chris Farlowe and “(If Paradise is) Half as Nice” by Amen Corner went to UK No.1.
Immediate Records were a vital part of rock and roll history that though they may be gone they are certainly not forgotten.