Rolling Stones One-Time Moneyman Prince Rupert Loewenstein Dead at 80

10:38 AM PST 05/22/2014 by Lars Brandle, Billboard, The Associated Press
Rex USA

Financial whiz helped introduce the band to promoter Michael Cohl, which launched some of the most lucrative rock concert tours in history.

He was the prince who made the Rolling Stones as rich as kings.

Prince Rupert Loewenstein, the Bavarian banker who helped turn the group into one of the most bankable acts in history, has died peacefully at the age of 80 in a London hospital Tuesday morning following a long battle with Parkinson's disease, according to his friend Hugo Vickers.

The Oxford-educated aristocrat -- whose full name was Prince Rupert Ludwig Ferdinand zu Loewenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg -- advised the Stones for almost four decades, beginning in 1968, despite admitting in the 2013 autobiography A Prince Among Stones that he was "never a fan of the Stones' music, or indeed of rock and roll in general." His lack of interest in rock didn't diminish his skills with the stuff that folds.

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The son of Prince Leopold of the royal house of Wittelsbach, Loewenstein was born in the Spanish island of Majorca in 1933. After graduating Oxford, where he studied medieval history, Loewenstein went on to work as a stockbroker and merchant banker in the City of London, the capital's financial district. It was there that he was introduced to the Stones in 1968 by a mutual friend at a time when the bandmembers were eager to extricate themselves from a business relationship with their American manager Allen Klein.

"Rupert was a merchant banker, very pukka, trustworthy," Keith Richards said in his autobiography Life -- and he proved invaluable to the band, clicking perfectly with Jagger, the band's other business mind.

Dubbed "The Human Calculator" and described as "rock's greatest money man," Loewenstein is credited with connecting the Stones with promoter Michael Cohl, a relationship that launched some of the most lucrative concert tours in history. Cohl promoted the Stones' tours from 1989's "Steel Wheels" outing, continuing on a tour-by-tour basis until the band's "A Bigger Bang," which ran from 2005-2007 and grossed $558 million according to Billboard Boxscore.

And it was on his advice that the band relocated to the South of France in the 1970s, becoming one of the first -- and certainly the highest profile -- rock groups to enter self-imposed tax exile.

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"He has a great financial mind for the market," Richards told Fortune magazine in 2002. "He plays that like I play guitar. As long as there’s a smile on Rupert's face, I'm cool."

"He had to get them out of trouble now and again," Vickers said. Loewenstein advised Jagger during his divorce from first wife, Bianca, and was godfather to the singer's son James.

The Stones and Loewenstein went their separate ways in 2007, though a statement issued at the time suggested the aristocrat was "retained on some aspects of their career." Jagger, however, was reportedly unhappy with the revelations later published in Loewenstein's memoir, which was published last year. 

"I don't think your ex-bank manager should be discussing your financial dealings and personal information in public," said Mick in a newspaper interview at the time.

Vickers remembered Loewenstein as "a tremendous bon viveur" who threw grand balls and parties at his home in the wealthy London suburb of Richmond and counted Princess Margaret among his friends.

Loewenstein's funeral will be held May 30 in London. He is survived by his wife, Josephine, his two sons and a daughter.

At deadline, the Stones had not yet issued a statement to mark Loewenstein's passing.

A version of this story originally appeared on Billboard.com

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