Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Friday, July 12, 2013

Letters to the Guardian about early encounters with The Rolling Stones

• So, John Whale saw Hendrix at the Isle of Wight in 1970 (Ventilator blues, G2, 4 July)? What a Johnny-come-lately. I saw the Rolling Stones close the first half of the bill (Marty Wilde, the Swinging Blue Jeans, topped by the Ronettes) at the Kettering Granada in January 1964. Granted, it wasn't outdoors.
W Stephen Gilbert
Corsham, Wiltshire

• I remember seeing the Stones about 1964 at the Empress Ballroom in Wigan (Later to become the Wigan Casino, home of Northern Soul). During their performance, Jagger threw his sweaty shirt into the audience. I and another girl caught it. She ended up with one sleeve and I won the rest of it. I stored it carefully in one of my drawers at home, where my mother found it and, seeing it was damaged, tore it up and used it for dusters.
Marie Blundell

• Messrs Gilbert and Blundell, prepare to eat dirt (Letters, 6 July). I saw the Stones at the Ken Colyer Jazz Club in Leicester Square in June 1963. Come On was slowly climbing the charts. It was the first date I ever went on. I was 16. The cellar venue was stifling with condensation and we drew CND signs in it on the low ceiling. The Stones looked like cavemen and sang every great rock number, including Poison Ivy, Johnny B Goode and Route 66. My date and I caught the last train back – the 12:42 from Victoria to Bromley South. When we arrived at Shortlands Station, my father was on the platform to meet us. "Just checking," he said and walked off. My boyfriend lasted less than 50 days, but the Stones – well, you all know the rest.
Susan Castles
Wem, Shropshire

• How about 1962 in the small cellar Studio 51, Great Newport Street, W1? Chatting with all of them every Sunday at the bar during the break. Two sessions, 4pm and 6pm. Signed pre-first record release photo to prove it, with a note from Bill on the back apologising for no news of first "disc". Anybody else who was there?
Gerry Montague
Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

• The first residency of the Stones was in a hall at the rear of the Railway Hotel in Richmond, Surrey. Their first gig was in February 63 and I had the extreme pleasure of being there with about two dozen others, including Mick's mum who stood right at the front obviously enjoying the raw R&B. The audience increased exponentially each week until, after only a month, it greatly exceeded the hall's licensing quota  and the band moved to the Richmond Athletic Ground.
Les Farris
South Petherton, Somerset

• We saw the Stones at Leeds University Union in 64. Because they were booked in 63, they only cost £500 I understand, but still honoured the contract at the 63 price. They were darned good then.
Robert Bracegirdle

• My most vivid memory of attending an early Rolling Stones concert (at which they were supported by the long-forgotten Peter and Gordon) is of being hit by a truncheon as the police attempted to maintain order after the concert (Letters, 11 July). This was not long after the Stones first entered the UK charts with (I think) It's All Over Now in 1964. I cannot report what the Stones played, as they were completely drowned out by screaming (presumably) girl fans. I imagine the band had been booked before they became famous, as the unlikely venue was the Essoldo Cinema, Stockport.
Neil Redfern
Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester

• My only sight of the Stones was at Eel Pie Island in September 1963. I missed the last tube back to my bedsit in Islington and arrived around 2.30am. The landlady was waiting with her proverbial rolling pin. She said she'd phoned my parents to tell them that I was in Soho with a prostitute. I didn't know whether she was making it up so I took the precaution of calling home the next day to touch base. My father never mentioned the contents of the call but suggested I might try to find somewhere else to live because he wasn't too keen on being woken up at two in the morning.
Rod White
Uley, Gloucestershire

• On 15 October 1963, I saw the Stones at Hull City Hall for 7/6d. They were third on the bill to Johnny Kidd & the Pirates and Heinz. We all went to see the Stones. I saw them a few more times over the following few years at Hull ABC and Bridlington Spar, where Bill Wyman told us a joke I still occasionally recount. It is not fit for publication involving as it does unspeakable acts with sheep and a slander against the judiciary.
Derek Elton
Todmorden, West Yorkshire

• Dixieland at Ken Colyer's Jazz Club (Letters, 9 July)? Yikes! Jo Russell, don't you know it's the very definition of anathema to speak of Dixieland and the prophet of New Orleans jazz in the same breath?
Maurice Zeegen
Watford, Hertfordshire

• Whether I actually did see Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and the Move on one bill at Portsmouth Guildhall for the equivalent of 50p, I will leave to the fact-checkers. What I do recall is encountering an old school acquaintance in the queue beforehand, who disclosed he was now in the drugs squad, and could get me "the best stuff ever".
Paul Roper
High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

• In the Lent term of 1963, I, as editor of the Cambridge student newspaper, went with my friend Karl Sabbagh to a pop concert at the Odeon cinema. There we saw, and interviewed, the star of the show, Cliff Richard (Karl still has a photograph of the event). As we left, we noticed that the poptastic attraction the following week was to be a rock group called the Beatles. We both agreed to give that one a miss.
James Cox
Twickenham, Middlesex

• In the 60s my grandmother worked as a chambermaid in a north-east hotel. She cleaned the rooms of many up and coming rock and roll bands. The person she preferred was not John Lennon, as to be expected, but Mick Jagger.
Ron Winn
Southowram, West Yorkshire

• I saw Mick Taylor, later of the Rolling Stones, in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers at the Saville Theatre in Tottenham Court Road in 1968. Second on the bill was the Jeff Beck band – featuring Rod "the Mod" Stewart - wearing blue shorts and short fur coats. A lowly third was the Jimi Hendrix Experience. And all for 17/6d.
R Davis

• I don't know about first dates with the Rolling Stones but I've just come across my ticket to a concert in Manchester on what I recall was billed as their farewell tour. It is dated 5 March 1971. And I paid 65p (13/-) for a balcony seat in the second house, 9.15pm performance that night in the Free Trade Hall. Seems they didn't retire afterwards, after all.
Paul Allin
Newport, Gwent 

Tuesday, July 02, 2013