Chris Stamp, 70, who as a cockney kid from East London aspired to make a documentary film about the rise of British rock in the 1960s and ended up helping discover and manage a raucous working-class quartet called The Who, died Nov. 24 in Manhattan.
The cause was complications of colorectal cancer, his wife, Calixte, said.
"I was knocked out," Mr. Stamp recalled in 1966 of the night he first saw The Who perform in 1964. "But the excitement I felt wasn't coming from the group. I couldn't get near enough. It was coming from the people blocking my way."
The band was wild, loud and stylish. Pete Townshend, its guitarist and songwriter, was among the first to incorporate the distorted feedback from amplifiers in performance; Keith Moon, its drummer, slaughtered his kit with his sticks. Both men enjoyed breaking their instruments intentionally.
When they met The Who, Mr. Stamp and colleague Kit Lambert had been working at Shepperton Studios as assistant directors of films and were hoping to find an obscure but promising band to document as it made its way in the music world. Neither had experience in the music industry, but once they saw The Who's potential, they maneuvered to manage the band and steered it toward superstardom.
They gave the band its name - or gave it back; a previous manager had changed it from The Who to the High Numbers. They encouraged the musicians' destructiveness, sometimes tossing smoke bombs onstage. And they helped choose some of the songs they should record; it was Mr. Stamp who insisted they record "My Generation."
The good times lasted for more than a decade, as The Who shot across the English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean. Along the way, Mr. Stamp and Lambert formed a label, Track Records, and nurtured other artists, including the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
With The Who, Mr. Stamp was involved in the albums "The Who Sell Out" and "Magic Bus" as well as the concept albums "Tommy" and "Quadrophenia," among other major releases. (He was also involved in the soundtrack for the "Tommy" movie.) He and Lambert ultimately did make a short film about the band's formative phase, and some of the footage is included in "The Kids Are Alright," the 1979 documentary about the Who.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Stamp's survivors include two daughters; six grandchildren; and three brothers and a sister. - N.Y. Times News Service