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Heritage - 10: "Get off of My Cloud!" - Fifty Plus Rocking Years of the Rolling Stones

Updated on May 27, 2019

"I was sick and tired, fed up with this and decided to take a drive downtown. It was so very quiet and peaceful, there was nobody, not a soul around. I laid myself out, I was so tired and I started to dream. In the morning the parking tickets were just like flags stuck on my windscreen..."

'Get off of my cloud', Decca 8th single, September, 1965

"Hey, you..."

'Get Off Of My Cloud', 8th single (mono) released through Decca in UK and London label US
'Get Off Of My Cloud', 8th single (mono) released through Decca in UK and London label US | Source

Early days

Early days - Charlie, Keith, Bill, Mick and Brian pose for the camera
Early days - Charlie, Keith, Bill, Mick and Brian pose for the camera | Source

Early days, (cover versions still),

(A) Around and Around - Confessin' the Blues - Empty Heart - Time is on My Side - Good Times, Bad Times - It's All Over Now;

(B) 2120 South Michigan Avenue - Under the Boardwalk - Congratulations - Grown Up Wrong - If You Need Me - Susie Q

Rolling down through the years

Performers, always performers, although still perfecting their art
Performers, always performers, although still perfecting their art | Source
Then along came Andrew Looh Oldham, who tried to put his stamp on their style - suits and ties like the Beatles. Didn't last though....
Then along came Andrew Looh Oldham, who tried to put his stamp on their style - suits and ties like the Beatles. Didn't last though.... | Source
The Stones, caged? Never. Quick trip on the London Underground - well, down to the platform at least, and back up again
The Stones, caged? Never. Quick trip on the London Underground - well, down to the platform at least, and back up again | Source

As the birthplace of British R&B (in the days before 'Soul' was renamed) Ealing couldn't be further from the Chicago or Delta Blues image.

Just as unlikely as Soho in the musical stakes, Cheltenham produced an enthusiastic young blues musician. Brian Jones was sold on the sound, it fascinated him. A technically sound instrumentalist, a great 'mimic', he had the sound down to a 'T' but he still had a big 'selling' job to do in the capital.

Alexis Korner at the Ealing Jazz Club was still taking a huge gamble, though, in opening his doors to this commercially thriving new sound. In doing so he opened the British audience to a totally new experience. The Ealing Jazz Club had begun in the wake of skiffle, Lonnie Donegan and a thoroughly British form of popular music. This R&B would shake the cobwebs off what was threatening to become a stifled musical artform.

Brian Jones and Dick Hattrell hitch-hiked from respectable Cheltenham to Ealing, a slightly seedy suburb of West London. They came to see Alexis and Blues Incorporated take the stage for their first show. Charlie Watts had decided to play the drums with the band. Brian gave Alexis a tape he and Paul Pond had made of his material, and asked to play along with the band.

"The hours of hitch-hiking we did were well worth it", Dick Hattrell remembered. "We would get so wound up, it was incredible. We were literally spaced out with the music. It excited us so much. Brian was dying to play. He was a really good guitar player, even on the home-made amplifier of his. You could tell the sounds were there. He played slide guitar before the average British guitarist had heard of it".

Keith recalls that 'Alexis announced to the West London audience, "We got a guest to play some guitar. He's come all the way from Cheltenham just to play for you". Suddenly it was Brian. He was sitting bent over, playing slide guitar on his Hofner Committee, and calling himself Elmo Lewis. He was the first person I ever heard playing slide electric guitar. Mick and I both thought he was incredible'.

After the show Mick spoke to Brian for the first time. Brian mentioned he was forming a band. Mick then sent a tape of some of his 'Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys' sessions. Mick and Keith were invited to meet Alexis Korner. In mid-May the music periodical 'Disc' published an article stating "Singer Joins Korner". The story ran, "A 19-year old Dartford rhythm and blues singer, Mick Jagger, has joined the Alexis Korner group, Blues Incorporated, and will sing with them regularly on their Saturday dates at Ealing and their Thursday sessions at the Marquee Jazz Club (Soho), London". Mick recalled the venue: "The Ealing club was so wet that Cyril (Davies) had to put a horrible sheet, revoltingly dirty, over the bandstand, so the condensation didn't drip directly on you. It just dripped through the sheet".

Alexis cast his mind back and recalled,

"A thin boy from Ripley (Surrey) named Eric Clapton came up to me at the Marquee Jazz Club and talked about guitar strings. He used to come down to the Ealing Jazz Club and sing rock'n'roll songs like 'Roll Over Beethoven'. He would simply stand there looking at his shoes, because he hadn't got used to looking at people he was singing to. He was learning guitar, but he couldn't play then".

Bill Wyman meanwhile played with the Cliftons in South-east London, unaware of the Ealing Jazz club,

"Our guitarist, Steve Carroll was becoming really good; he could copy a Chuck Berry solo note for note after only a few hearings. It was also a happy time for me as my son Stephen Paul was born on 29 March, 1962".

Brian moved to Hampstead, where he sometimes played host to his girlfriend. On Easter Sunday, 1962 Pat and the baby took the bus to London. On her arrival at Brian's flat he nearly fell back. She moved in with him and then they found another flat in Notting Hill. Brian worked at Whitely's Kingsway sports department and she took a job at a laundry. He soon moved on to the Civil Service Store in the Strand. Long John Baldry remembered that Brian borrowed some records of his,

"Jonesy (Brian) came round with a girlfriend of his and borrowed some singles of mine, which at that time were irreplaceable. They were American things like BB King on the RPM label. He never ever returned them. I think in actual fact he lost them. I wouldn't speak to him for two years after that".

Mick sat in on some numbers with Alexis Korner at the Marquee. Well over a hundred loyal Ealing fans joined them in Soho at their first appearance. In the same month (April 1962) Charlie and Jack Bruce from Cream shared a flat in Primrose Hill. Sylvia McNeill sang with Korner on their regular Thursday gigs. Once when Keith was with them Alexis suggested they form a band.

An advert appeared in Jazz News, s May, 1962, "RHYTHM AND BLUES, Guitarist and Vocalist forming R&B Band, require Harmonica and/or Tenor Sax, Piano, Bass, and Drums. Must be keen to rehearse. Plenty of interesting work available. BOX No.1277". This was Brian putting out feelers.

"Brian could have easily joined another group", Keith looks back, "but he wanted to form his own. The Rolling Stones were Brian's baby".

Piano player Ian Stewart ('Stu') was first to answer the call. 'Stu' loved R&B, boogie and blues, but also liked Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and the big names,

"On the spur of the moment I thought, I'll try to get hold of this guy. He was a strange, earnest character, but very knowledgeable. He was deadly serious about the whole thing. He wanted to play Muddy Waters, Blind Boy Fuller and jimmy Reed stuff, who I'd never heard of. He couldn't find the people he wanted, because not many had heard that Chess and Vee-Jay stuff. Then Howlin' Wolf's record 'You Can't Be Beat' came out in London. That was the style he was really trying to achieve".

Brian held rehearsals at the White Bear in Leicester Square. The first consisted of a friend of Charlie's, Andy Wren [piano player for Screaming Lord Sutch], who wanted to sing. Another piano player played like Count Basie - not Brian's cup of tea - and Brian was on regular as well as slide guitar, Stu remembered. Brian lived in an awful state, 'drinking' spaghetti from a cup. They were ejected from the White Bear for Brian's theft of cigarettes. They moved on to the Bricklayer's Arms in Lisle Street. Brian and Stu became the 'nucleus'. Alexis put them in touch with other interested musicians. There was another earnest guitar player named Geoff Bradford who'd worked with Cyril Davies, into ethnic blues and Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Elmore James. Geoff was good with a guitar, serious. He drew a sharp line between who he wished to play with and who not.

In June Mick went to one of Brian's rehearsals. Soon Mick, Keith, Brian, Stu and Geoff were rehearsing every Wednesday and Friday. Stu was always looking out of the window to see his bike was still there. One eye was kept on the bike, the other on what they were rehearsing. "He always hit the right notes, though", Keith remembered. Being something of a purist, Geoff Bradford left, unable to bring himself to play Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley material.

Brian was also erratic, pretending to be rebellious, upsetting those around him. "He was really a friendly sort and there was no need for that kind of behaviour", Stu observed. Not long after Brian met Mick and Keith Pat moved back to Cheltenham with her baby. Brian worked for a couple of shops but was shown the door, again for theft. Rehearsals went on in the Deptford area, near where Brian lived with a girlfriend in Beckenham. Mick's dad Joe was surprised how well they were doing until Mick started using the phone a lot more for business. A change came about when they started to grow their hair longer.

In early July, 1962 Blues Inc. were offered a gig on BBC Radio's Jazz Club. Harold Pendleton, owner of the Marquee told Alexis that if he didn't play the Thursday spot at the Marquee he couldn't guarantee him another. Blues Inc. played the BBC gig whilst Mick, Keith, Stu, Brian and anyone else who could make it filled in at the Marquee.

Brian resolved they should perform as 'The Rollin' Stones' and the day before their performance Jazz News carried the report: "Mick Jagger, R&B vocalist, is taking an R&B group into the Marquee tomorrow night. Called the Rollin' Stones, the line-up is Mick Jagger (vocals), Keith Richards and Elmo Lewis -Brian Jones - (guitars), Dick Taylor (bass), Ian Stewart (piano) and Mick Avory (drums)".

A young lad from Sweden, Ulf Kjellstrom was visiting his London penfriend that summer. They took him to the Marquee for a sensation, "...Suddenly a band called the Rolling Stones appeared and it was a hock for me... I remember them playing 'Kansas City'; I was sold on them'.

After the Marquee the band played Ealing Blues Club. Stu knew the traditional jazz scene and he was left to find a replacement drummer. As gigs were uncertain he was left with a hard task.

...The Clintons underwent a change of direction around this time, becoming more of a white rock'n'roll band. The singer Dave Harvey wanted to leave so Bill Wyman and Steve Carroll were left to share the vocals. They added a sax to the line-up and started playing bigger gigs. They also did a gig at the London School of Economics (LSE) where they were probably seen by Mick.

Having finished art school at Sidcup, Keith was in no hurry to find a job. He and Brian decided to do an Everly Brothers sort of act. They put their heads together to write a song that sounded like a 1920s Broadway musical number. Brian tried to dominate the proceedings and Mick was unable to sing the number, being limited to 12-bar blues. They went back to rehearsing, still short of a drummer. A son of the comedian Charlie Chester tried his hand but he was more of a jazz man. Tony Chapman, the drummer of the Cliftons thought he would try for it, having seen an ad in another UK music paper, Melody Maker. Stu was not impressed with his performance,

"Tony wasn't very good. He would get onto the on-beat and slow down. He'd finish the number mid-chorus".

In late August 1962 Mick and Brian moved to 102 Edith Grove in Chelsea with a weekly rent of £16. Pat moved back to London with the baby and cooked for them. Brian's money went on guitar strings and gear, Pat's cash kept them. It was a scruffy flat (whoever thought Chelsea was posh?!) lit by a single bulb in the living room. Keith moved in soon after,

"I never consciously thought of leaving Dartford, but the minute I got out, I had pretty strong instincts that I'd never go back".

Brian badgered Charlie Watts to join them, but he was happy with his job and gigs at the Marquee with other bands. Their rehearsals were always their strong point, more so than performances. They practiced around the corner from the flat at the Wetherby Arms. Brian called often on Cyril Davies who taught him how to flatten the notes on the harmonica and create a 'bluesy' sound. Keith half-heartedly carted his portfolio around the advertising agencies, looking for a job.

Mick passed his first-year exams at the LSE and Brian drifted on aimlessly. Pat left, back to Cheltenham, fed up with her many roles. Brian was so distraught he lost his job and headed for a breakdown. Charlie Watts kept hearing bad things about the band, complete outsiders with no prospects. No-one wanted to hear the music they put out, concentrating instead on their appearance.

Things did not improve as weeks passed. Money and food stayed in short supply at Edith Grove. Dick Hattrell, who had moved in and performed with them suffered from a burst appendix and went back to Cheltenham. A neighbour downstairs who supplied food and IOU's read Mick's palm once. Judy Credland gasped, telling him, "You've got the star of fame. It's all there".

Bill Wyman was introduced to Stu at the Red Lion in Sutton (Surrey), who suggested he go to the next rehearsal at the Wetherby Arms. He went with drummer Tony Chapman, met Stu (and Mick) again and was introduced to Brian and Keith. He wasn't very much taken with their appearance, but they were fairly impressed by his equipment. He had his home-made bass, his wardrobe-sized bass cabinet, a Watkins Westminster and Vox AC30 amp he'd bought on hire purchase (60's credit arrangement that most people defaulted on) in August. He wore a suit and tie, thinking a band should dress smartly but the (rest of the) band were less impressed with that. Stu thought highly of him, even though he was more of a Fats Domino, Chuck Berry and Eddie Cochran fan, unfamiliar with the blues. Purists that they were at the time, the others looked on him with distaste but still the attraction was there for his gear.

Nor was Bill too taken with them, telling them point-blank, "You can't play f**king twelve bar blues all night!"

He was asked back to rehearsals. He and Tony took their gear to the Edith Grove flat and were taken aback, "It was a disaster area".

In December Charlie Watts left Blues Incorporated and played with several other bands, his opinion being that he wasn't up to their standard. His place was taken by Ginger Baker. Also in early December Keith and the Rollin' Stones played Sidcup Art College's Christmas dance. Then Bill joined them for another rehearsal. Having supplied fish and chips, shillings for the electric meter and cigarettes, his popularity increased. He made up his mind to join the band, something told him, he said later, that they were 'a better bet' than the Cliftons. On the 14th December he played his first gig with them at the Ricky Tick Club in the Star & Garter Hotel at Windsor. The crowd was a mix of students and a smattering of American servicemen who knew Chicago R&B and were impressed with the band's polished performance.

1963 saw the band play the Red Lion, meeting Glyn Johns, then playing the Marquee the following night. Cyril Davies had taken over Alexis Korner's residency and the Rollin' Stones supported. With Cyril Davies band, the All stars was drummer Charlie Watts. Bill reckoned Tony Chapman's days with the Stones were numbered. He didn't fit and the band talked Charlie into joining them. He knew they were playing gigs but not being paid the rate, nevertheless liked their spirit. His only concern was he was still living with his parents in a Neasden (NW London) 'prefab' (post-WWII housing shortages called for quick solutions). He didn't think his career change would go down well with his father, swapping a reasonably well-paid job as drummer with Cyril Davies for a scruffy bunch of upstarts.

They played the Ricky Tick at Windsor again on January 11th. After the gig Tony was given his 'marching orders', his services were no longer required. Charlie joined them for the gig the next night at Ealing. They were a six-piece band, Brian, Mick, Keith, Charlie, Stu and Bill. Gigs were more plentiful but they were still cash-strapped. They needed more gigs but without transport were limited to London and near suburbs. Stu was given shares in Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), lucrative and well-founded. He sold them and used the cash to buy a van. They were mobile! ICI played another role in the furtherance of the Stones' upward career. Being an employee of the company at their Victoria (London SW1) headquarters Stu used his desk phone line for his music connections, giving it out to Jazz News. None of the others had direct access to a phone line. He handled the Stones' bookings. When his boss learned about it Stu was called into his office and threatened with the sack.

After about a week with the band Bill found Charlie easier to work with than Tony. They got on well, and Bill knew then that they had between them the makings of a great band. Cyril Davies gave the band the push, even though the Marquee had audiences of 600 nightly. They asked for more money and Cyril showed them the door. The Flamingo gigs dried up as well and they needed more venues. However, things were looking up for them. Girl fans began hanging around at the Ricky Tick, Brian received a new answer from the BBC (after being asked to fill out an application form) about their Jazz Club audition and were offered a date, 23rd April. That was still some way off, however. Brian had met a certain colourful character called Georgio Gomelsky at the Marquee and invited him to their gig at the Red Lion in Sutton on 6th February.

"I liked what they were doing", Gomelsky said, and told Brian, "I promised Dave Hunt a job, but the first time he goofs you're in". He had his own Richmond Jazz Club at the Station hotel in Richmond (on Thames).

On Sunday, 24 February they drove through deep snow to Richmond to do two sets of 45 minutes each for a fee of £7 10s (£7.50p). The Saturday after they played their last gig at Ealing, and on Sunday the following week they played the first of several month's worth of regular gigs at Studio 51, Ken Colyers Club in Soho. In the evening again they were at the Station Hotel. The audience was almost double that of their first gig there.

Things were looking rosier. They acquired another gig venue, this one was the Harringay Jazz Club at the Manor House pub. They would be a supporting act for Blues By Six, who featured Brian Knight. As the Stones had no drummer Charlie Watts subbed for both bands. Long John Baldry (remember him?) was club DJ and on the night he put on the first John Lee Hooker track Bill Wyman had ever heard and he was wowed. Bill began looking up Hooker's records in music shops from then on.

Next night at the Ricky Tick he was 'grilled' about guitars , amps, chords and such. One of these newcomers was Paul Samwell-Smith, founding member of the Yardbirds earlier that summer. A band managed by Giorgio, they filled in for the Stones at their club gigs when the Stones started touring ballrooms and clubs throughout the country.

When Giorgio asked Brian and the others down to the Station Hotel where he ran the Richmond Jazz Club on Sunday evenings, family ties kept Bill at home. At the time the Dave Hunt Band proved unreliable and Brian prompted Giorgio,

'Look Giorgio, you can't run a club without knowing your bands will show up. Give us a break and we'll do it free'.

That was Brian all over, passionate, pushy and sure they could crack it. They joined Giorgio at Edith Grove and sought his advice on clinching gigs. Opposition from the jazz-prmoting mafia was ever a curse. Their Tuesday gigs at Ealing became as rare as hens' teeth and audience figures weren't improving at Harringay. On Monday, February 18th Giorgio rang Stu where he worked at ICI's head office and said,

'Tell everyone in the band you guys are on at the Station Hotel Sunday next'. They trooped to Giorgio's flat where he guaranteed £1 each per show and put forward that they should have posters run up.

"I recall one night we went everywhere in London sticking up posters with a large bucket of glue", said Giorgio Gomelsky.

Their Tuesday gigs at Ealing were finally so badly attended the boys dropped the venue. Wednesdays at the Red Lion, Sutton, were going well, however. They talked with Glyn Johns, then working at IBC's recording studios. He encouraged them to put some numbers together for recording purposes.

They played their last gig at Ealing the Saturday after their first at the Station Hotel. Brian's former girlfriend Linda Lawrence was there, as was the current 'flame' Pat and the baby. Brian saw off Linda and later they went to a Soho cafe, accompanied by Pat and Brian's son. He was overjoyed with the little lad and kept showing him off.

A week later came their regular turn at Studio 51, Ken Colyer's club, alternating with Richmond, where their audience had doubled since beginning at the new venue. Many Richmond fans began to cross over to Soho and the band was making money. Playing for the fun of it was a thing of the past.

In February, 1963 Glyn Johns offered to put together a tape that he would present to a record company, to get them interested in the band. The idea sounded good, but their main problem was making their minds up about material. A week later, maybe longer, after another Red Lion gig they talked over their options with Glyn. They agreed on Monday, 11th March for their first session and met Glyn at IBC - near BBC's Broadcasting House in the West End - for a three hour session. Their choice was Bo Diddley's 'Road Runner' and 'Diddley Daddy'. Also scheduled for recording was Muddy Waters' 'I Wanna Be Loved' as well as Jimmy Reed's 'Honey What's Wrong'. With five minutes left at the end of the session they went for a take of another Jimmy Reed number, 'Bright Lights, Big City'.

Brian was well pleased with the recordings, more proud of them than anything else they'd recorded. For years afterward he would play the numbers for close friends and associates.

Glyn Johns later recalled,

'Brian was very much the leader, to me certainly the spokesman for the group. Brian was very concerned about the sounds I produced on tape. He wanted the Jimmy Reed sort of sound, fairly unknown in Britain'.

'Diddley Daddy' Charlie Watts (drums), Bill (bass), Keith Richards (rhythm guitar), Brian Jones (harmonica and backing vocal), Ian Stuart, 'Stu' (piano), Mick Jagger (vocal and backing vocal);

'Road Runner' Charlie (drums), Bill (bass), Keith (rhythm guitar), Brian (lead guitar), Stu (piano), Mick (double-tracked lead vocal and backing vocal);

'I Wanna Be Loved' Charlie (drums), Bill (bass), Keith (rhythm guitar), Brian (harmonica), Stu (piano), Mick (double-tracked lead vocal);

'Honey What's Wrong' Charlie (drums), Bill (bass), Keith (lead guitar), Brian (rhythm guitar), Stu (piano), Mick (double-tracked lead vocal, harmonica and maracas);

'Bright Lights, Big City' Charlie (drums), Bill (bass), Keith (lead guitar), Brian (rhythm guitar), Stu (piano), Mick (vocal and harmonica).

There was obviously still some way to go...

See description below
See description below | Source

Literature to look out for:

"Rolling With The Stones", (see above) Bill Wyman (from his diaries), publ. 2002 Dorling Kindersley, ISBN 0 7513 4646 2, £30 - Exhaustive supply of information, press clippings, photographs, music lists. I bought a copy of this heavy volume when it first appeared on the market; Bill Wyman's recollections of the Stones' tours, albums, events, court appearances and everything that happened to them from their early days at the clubs and pubs, the Marquee and the BBC. What more could you want?;

"The Rolling Stones - Unseen Archives", Susan Hill, photographs from the Daily Mail, publ. 2002 Parragon Books, ISBN 0 75258 970 9 - Thorough coverage of the band 1964-2002, good class B&W newspaper images previously unpublished. Another quality work with a chronology of the band's career (sorry, can't remember the price, bought in 2002 when it first showed on the bookshelves) ;

MOJO Magazine (Jan 2012 £4.50/US$9.99/CAN$13.50) "The Rolling Stones (Cover Story: On The Run In The 1970s)": Workmanlike overview of Stones' career, lots of b&w and colour images;

MOJO Magazine (Jul 2013 £4.60/US$9.99/CAN$13.50) "The Rolling Stones (Cover Story: Keith Richards Exclusive 'Open the cage... and let the tiger out!')" : looking at the Stones on tour, with retrospective anecdotes from supporting musicians - Chrissie Hynde, Slash, Kasabian, Billy Gibbons etc;

UNCUT Magazine (Issue 4 £5.99) The Ultimate Music Guide: "Fight The Establishment? We Just Wanted To Be Free!": Another musical press-orientated expose of the band with good, crisp images;

New Musical Express (NME) Special Collector's Magazine:- "Ultimate Satisfaction" (Issue 6 - 98pp, £5.99): Looking back down 50 years of riotous rock'n'roll in easily digestible slices (1962-67/1967-72 etc) , performer interviews, archive photographs and albums re-assessed;

New Musical Express (NME) Originals 146pp "The Wild Ones - The Rolling Stones, The 1960s" : looking through the early years in press pieces, divided into six chapters. (£4.99/$9.95) - A sound buy if you don't want to go to the expense of £30, buying both of these NME specials takes you clean through their 50 years, witnessing Brian's progress through the music press to find fellow musicians for his new band, fast forward to 1969 and plans to start a new band of his own, departure from the Stones, death in the pool, Mick Tayor joins, free concert in Hyde Park ('Yea, I wuz there!'), exile and so on, exit Mick Taylor, enter Ronnie Wood, exit Bill Wyman... Makes you giddy, don't it!

A new cover found its way onto my bookshelves in May, 2017:

RECORD COLLECTOR PRESENTS The Rolling Stones (Making the Legend - From the archives of Record Collector): The whole issue is dedicated to the band's recording experiences from early days in 1962, through 1963... 1964 at Decca with Andrew Oldham at the helm. Fast forward to running their own show after being ripped off over the years. The 'tongue' image and on from the 1970s. It's not cheap at £6.99, but worth it for the personal views and reminiscing. What started them off on writing their own material? Andrew locked them in the kitchen and told them not to come out without recordable material. The result was "As Tears Go By" sung by Marianne Faithfull with Andrew's studio backing. They've never looked back, as the saying goes. True, Brian was 'edged out' in the move and he was gradually sidelined whilst the creative duos 'Nanker Phelge' and the 'Glimmer Twins' took over his 'baby', but he was given his chance to create something and he came out wanting. Having decided to start a new Blues band of his own, Brian celebrated his move but fell drunk and under the influence into his pool. 114 pages devoted to the Stones including discography (pp.111-114) with revised prices from the 2018 Rare Record Price Guide (Decca singles, Rolling Stones label, CBS,Virgin, others, singles boxed sets, Export singles, Promos; EPs, UK and Export; Albums - Decca, Export, Rolling Stones' label, others and Promo LPs).

The rest you know. [].

Each of these publications has had pride of place on one of my bookshelves, together with newspaper and magazine clippings snipped over the years... Reminds me, I should look back over them... Time, eh? Doesn't respect any of us, and unless you've built a time machine you won't get it back on 'replay'

Almost bang up to date with 'Sweet Summer Sun'

All right, all right! Let's have it for the greatest... I know the lads are turning a bit wrinkly and all that - after you've been performing for fifty years let's see if you're not a wrinkly yourself.

And then it comes to the performance - whack, no intro's, straight into - 'Start Me Up' is as good as any number to open the proceedings. I'd been waiting weeks after ordering the triple disc (1 X dvd + 2 X cd) set from Amazon in October (2013), a few months after the concerts at Glasto and Hyde Park.

Was it worth the wait? You bet your sweet life it was!

First chance I got, out came the dvd disc ('O') from the box. Most of the audience by my reckoning hadn't been there in 1969, the day I travelled up to London from Nottingham (where I lived at the time), and had forgotten about what I'd heard from work colleagues and reading the local rag. You can't easily put into words what a performance like that conjures up in emotion. The cost of tickets was way out of my pocket money league, so I had to live with that disappointment for a while... And then I read about the three disc set on the Amazon site when browsing for another cd to complete my collection (two dozen from the No1 untitled album with classics like 'Oh, Carol' and 'King Bee' to the 'A Bigger Bang' album.

Watching the audience, some of them were on another planet - ecstatic and blown away. Certainly a large part of the audience had been there in '69 when Mick Taylor first appeared onstage with the lads (and Bill Wyman was still in the lineup), introduced as 'Someone they'd met in the pub'. (The 'Stones in the Park' dvd is available as well, plus the 'Gimmie Shelter' of later that year when they played the notorious Altamont Speedway gig. See also the 'Exile on Main Street'.dvd that charts the making of the album under insane conditions in Keith's French Riviera villa) As it says on the liner notes with 'Sweet Summer Sun', there is much to compare with the technology of the previous Hyde Park Concert, what with the kids - mostly girls - clambering up onto the stage whilst Mick in his 'Greek' creation and the band tried to perform, Bill was stony-faced as ever, and Mick Taylor looked bemused by the whole 'circus'..

Mick T was with them at Glasto (Glastonbury to our trans-Atlantic friends) as well, struttin' his stuff. He's still as good as he was then, but he just didn't really fit in. He's filled out a lot since then, with his boyish looks, but he's a maestro, as he proved in 'Midnight Rambler' near the end of the two hour + set. Legendary performances all round with guest solo performances from Bobby Keys and Lisa Fischer who joined Mick J along the 'runway' in 'Gimme Shelter', flapping her eagles wings (the fronded wrap). Keith wore a wry grin for much of the time (why did I keep thinking of,pirates?)

Recommended, 10/10 plus stars.

*Oh, and before I forget, there was another bonus in the post the other week, a cd 'The Jimmy Rogers All Stars - Blues, blues, Blues' featuring Mick'n'Keef on three tracks 'Trouble No More', 'Don't Start Me To Talkin' and 'Goin' Away Baby'.

The Times They Are Changing... Brian leaves - and dies - 1969, Mick Taylor joins, leaves 1974 with Ronnie Wood left to fill the gap (overfill, more like)

Mick Taylor joined the lads in 1969 and performed well at the Hyde Park concert in July... It wasn't to last though, and...
Mick Taylor joined the lads in 1969 and performed well at the Hyde Park concert in July... It wasn't to last though, and... | Source
a colourful performer in the person of ex-Faces guitarist Ronnie Wood joined in 1974
a colourful performer in the person of ex-Faces guitarist Ronnie Wood joined in 1974
The Stones paint the town red in Cuba - Havana Moon
The Stones paint the town red in Cuba - Havana Moon | Source

Muddy Waters and the Rolling Stones (minus Charlie) at the Checkerboard Lounge, 1981

A starry night in Chicago when Mick, Keef, Ronnie and Ian Stewart ('Stu') jammed with  Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Lefty Dizz, Junior Wells
A starry night in Chicago when Mick, Keef, Ronnie and Ian Stewart ('Stu') jammed with Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Lefty Dizz, Junior Wells | Source

The DVD and CD's in this "Sweet Summer Sun" are well presented and packaged, with a brochure-styled pullout intro

Rolling Stones triple DVD cover, 'Sweet Summer Sun'
Rolling Stones triple DVD cover, 'Sweet Summer Sun' | Source
The Stones live in Hyde Park, a mere forty-four years after the first - free - concert at the same venue
The Stones live in Hyde Park, a mere forty-four years after the first - free - concert at the same venue | Source

A great album I unearthed whilst browsing what Amazon UK had on offer for me through an e-mail. Some great classics such as "Hoochie Coochie Man", "Mannish Boy", "Got My Mojo Workin'" and "One Eyed Woman" amongst others. Eleven tracks that transform your room into a sweaty, smoky room full of Blues aficionados.

Well worth the outlay, lots of choice of sources and prices. I chose the 'middle range'.

'Sweet Summer Sun', following their first ever 'Glasto' performance, Rock's masters capped the 2013 tour season with their concert in Hyde Park, 44 years after their 1969 performance. Watch and listen to this evening's entertainment, a full 120 minute bonanza. The package includes the dvd and two cd's that include bonus tracks.

Well worth the outlay. 'Nuff said, geddit!

Blue & Lonesome

See description below
See description below | Source

Back to roots with this 2016 nod to the great names in Blues. Walter Jacobs' 'Just Your Fool' kicks off and the pressure doesn't lift until the end of Willie Dixon's 'I Can't Quit You Baby'. You just want to run it through again... and again. It's their own take on these numbers - their own 'stamp' - that makes this album an unmistakably Stones' work of the musical art.

At last, the lid's been lifted on the Greatest Rock'n'Roll Band

The lads, by the left: Charlie, Ron, Mick'n'Keef (the 'Glimmer Twins')
The lads, by the left: Charlie, Ron, Mick'n'Keef (the 'Glimmer Twins') | Source

2016 'Exhibitionism', the Rolling Stones' Exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York Square off the King's Road, London SW3

You had a slot for entering. Latecomers didn't get in. I had a ticket as a birthday prezzie in April, 2016, my ticket for 2pm on a day in late April. I was almost a half hour early. I wasn't going to miss this for the world. The visitors who cruised around with me were a varied bunch, some unlikely looking candidates although they all seemed to enjoy themselves. Let's get down to particulars.

Pegs were handed out before you passed through the basement flat they shared, smells and all, with tables full of unwashed dishes, sink full of ditto, stubbed-out ciggies, bedsheets all awry and so on (they were in training for when they struck rich and had somebody else to do the housework). Mind you, whoever owned the property was a bit remiss in maintenance, with black patches on the walls, peeling wallpaper... Seriously though, there was a great selection of guitars, electric and acoustic, amps and everything. There was plenty of stuff to do, listen to the lads talk about their recording sessions, do some mixing yourself on an easily operated 'console' (I enjoyed moving the tabs up and down to vary input, bass guitar, Ron and Keef, drums, lead and backing vocals). The lyric writing was covered in its own room, with original material that showed the creative process, Keef's notebooks and diaries etc. You could listen to the professionalism of their work in entertaining the millions of punters. The stage design concept and set models, cover and sleeve artwork by different artists including Andy Warhol's working zipper cover and 'Y' Front sleeve. Masses of photographs by the big names of the business. There were the stage outfits Mick and Keef have worn to gigs in one long gallery. Then in Room 9 you entered a mock-up of the backstage area with Keef's trunk and Mick's make-up 'tent' with all the spare amps and rehearsal kit. The girls handed out 3D glasses before you went next door for the finale... The closing number 'I Can't Get No Satisfaction' from the Hyde Park Concert (see above) with the whole crowd in on the act including Mick Taylor joining Ron and Keef for this last colourful blast. That got your juices going, eh? In the words of the immortal Keef, "What a gas!"

Hurtled downstairs to the shop next. Lots of goodies, T-shirts, headwear, jackets and all sorts. I bought myself a mug with the exhibition logo and a few postcards. There were some really pricey gear on sale, so if you wanted to go to town you took a wad of cash or cards and a trolley to wheel it home in. There's a cafe outside, open to the general public called 'The Mess' (the site used to be the Duke of York Barracks near Sloane Square Underground station) that offers a bite but not if you're on a budget.

"No Filter" Tour Rocks On at Olympic Stadium, Stratford E20

Stones' Summer 2018 UK Tour Dates
Stones' Summer 2018 UK Tour Dates | Source
Lights, cameras, action - now raise the roof at the London Stadium! There hasn't been this much life here since Daniel Craig's performance at the 2012 Olympics!
Lights, cameras, action - now raise the roof at the London Stadium! There hasn't been this much life here since Daniel Craig's performance at the 2012 Olympics! | Source
Mick with special guest @flo_tweet on stage at the London Stadium, May 25th
Mick with special guest @flo_tweet on stage at the London Stadium, May 25th | Source

"Now let's bow out with a rockin' floor-show!"

Well here they are to give this page a real rockin' sendoff. Hope you enjoyed the trip back through the last half-century
Well here they are to give this page a real rockin' sendoff. Hope you enjoyed the trip back through the last half-century | Source

© 2012 Alan R Lancaster


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