Prince Rupert zu Loewenstein, a “Bavarian aristocrat” credited with making the Rolling Stones very rich, died this week at the age of 80. Today the New York Times ran an obituary on him, and it reads just as incredible as you’d imagine an obit for the Rolling Stones’ Bavarian aristocrat money manager whose actual full birth name is “Rupert Louis Ferdinand Frederick Constantine Lofredo Leopold Herbert Maximilian Hubert John Henry du Loewenstein” would.
Rupert Louis Ferdinand Frederick Constantine Lofredo Leopold Herbert Maximilian Hubert John Henry du Loewenstein was born on Aug. 24, 1933, into Bavarian royalty on the Spanish island of Majorca. An ancestor helped repel the Huns in 907. He wrote in a 2013 memoir, “A Prince Among the Stones,” that his mother once owned a sixth of the Brazilian crown jewels, an inheritance he traced to one of her great-grandmothers, a daughter of Emperor Dom Pedro I of Brazil (1798-1834).
Prince Loewenstein was on the last plane to London from Paris before the French capital fell to the Nazis in 1940. He graduated from Oxford with a degree in history and took a job as a stockbroker with the London office of Bache & Company. He and friends later bought a merchant bank, Leopold Joseph & Company, which developed a lucrative business in corporate finance and investment advice for the rich.
A friend who knew Mr. Jagger asked Prince 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. Prince 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.
About his financial management skills, the Times notes…
Prince 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.
Prince 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.
RIP, Prince Rupert.