Even though they had a string of hits throughout the sixties, the Rolling Stones ended the decade in bad financial shape. After selling millions of records, they had little to show for it thanks to bad advice, poorly negotiated contracts and assorted skullduggery.. On top of it, they were getting killed by taxes at home in the UK.
Their saviour was Prince Rupert Ludwig Ferdinand zu Loewenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg–an actual Bavarian prince. Sought out my Mick Jagger to act as a financial advisor to the band, his guidance–which lasted until 2007–turned the Stones into one of the most valuable financial entities in all of music.
One of the first things he did was tell the band to get the hell out of Britain. That was the beginning of the Stones’ infamous tax exile status. Had they stayed at home, the tax regime of the day had them under a rate of 102%. As crazy as that sounded, they would have had to pay more in taxes than they earned in income. Wouldn’t you move?
Collectively the members of the Stones are worth somewhere around a billion dollars. Mick alone has a personal fortune in the neighbourhood of $400 million.
Lowenstein died quietly after a long illness earlier this week at the age of 80.