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Giorgio Gomelsky, Ex-Yardbirds and Rolling Stones Manager, Dies

Jeremy Fletcher, Getty Images
Jeremy Fletcher, Getty Images

Giorgio Gomelsky, a former manager of both the Yardbirds and Rolling Stones, has died of cancer. He was 82.

Gomelsky rose to early fame as owner of the Crawdaddy Club in London, where he invited the Rolling Stones to play their initial house-band gig. He also acted as the Stones’ manager before Andrew Loog Oldham took over. When the Rolling Stones’ career subsequently caught fire, Gomelsky hired the Yardbirds as the new house band at the Crawdaddy, playing a key role in their early development.

He managed the band, while serving as producer on the Yardbirds’ 1965 debut For Your Love, as well as its follow up from the same year, Having a Rave Up with the Yardbirds. Gomelsky also arranged for their legendary studio collaboration with Sonny Boy Williamson, and (as Oscar Rasputin) wrote “Got to Hurry,” the b-side to the Yardbirds’ hit “For Your Love.”

He even had a hand in how the Yardbirds dressed, encouraging them to try out all manner of then-hip fashions – including all-black suits (as seen on the cover of Having a Rave Up) and, though this was more embarrassing later, all-white outfits. “We looked,” stalwart Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty admitted in 2014, “like ice cream men.”

Giorgio Gomelsky later booked former Yardbirds guitarist Jimmy Page‘s new band Led Zeppelin into the Crawdaddy Club, founded the Polydor-distributed Marmalade Records (home to early recordings by future members of 10cc), and played a key role in the development of Gong and Soft Machine. More recently, Gomelsky managed a recording and rehearsal space in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, and also worked as a DJ at Tramps.

He was born in Tiflis, Georgia and grew up in Switzerland, before initially arriving in the U.K. as a young filmmaker. Gomelsky’s mother was a hat designer, while his father worked at a Monte Carlo casino – a popular resort for the British.

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