Tony Calder

Tony Calder

William H. Alden/Evening Standard/Getty Images

Tributes have been paid to Beatles promoter Tony Calder, who has died at the age of 74. Calder, who started his career at Decca Records in the 1960s, was hired by Beatles manager Brian Epstein to promote the band’s first single "Love Me Do."

With the record struggling to get airplay, Calder personally sent 100 free copies to dancehalls across the U.K. with a note saying it was a "guaranteed floor-filler" to drum up demand. His strategy proved successful with "Love Me Do" entering the British singles chart at number 17 in October 1962, kick-starting the Beatles’ career.    

A year later, the young executive teamed up with Rolling Stones’ manager Andrew Loog Oldham to form music PR company IMAGE, which also handled the day-to-day management of the Stones.

Calder and Oldham went on to launch Immediate Records in 1965, signing a host of future stars to the label, including the Small Faces, Rod Stewart, PP Arnold, Nico (pre-Velvet Underground) and Fleetwood Mac, before collapsing in a mountain of debt in 1970.

Legal disputes over unpaid royalties continued for decades after its demise with the Small Faces famously not receiving any payment for their works until the late 1990s.

In addition to his role as a promoter, DJ and record label boss, Calder also produced Marianne Faithfull's top 10 U.K. hits "Come and Stay With Me" and "This Little Bird" in the mid-1960s.

The 1970s and 1980s saw him go on to achieve further success, working with Black Sabbath, The Bay City Rollers, reggae star Eddy Grant and hit novelty pop act Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers, among others, as well as founding his own publishing company Marylebone Music.

Calder also reunited with Oldham in the 1990s to write a book on ABBA entitled "The Name of the Game."

Paying tribute to his former business partner, Oldham tweeted: "A member of the family has left us."

Eddy Grant, who Calder managed and is credited with rescuing "I Don’t Wanna Dance" from the demo bin, called him "one of the most extraordinary persons it has been my pleasure to know."

According to reports, Calder died at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital following a battle with pneumonia on January 2.