New tome The Rolling Stones On Air tells how the group fought the BBC. Plus, new al­bum news!

Mojo (UK) - - Contents -

A fine new pic-heavy book sheds light on the eter­nal rock’n’rollers’tu­mul­tuous ’60s on TV and ra­dio. But who was on about cut­ting noses off?

Along­side the mu­sic, The Rolling Stones’ ’60s were full of in­ci­dent, with Al­ta­mont, the Red­lands bust, the Rock And Roll Cir­cus and the free con­cert in Hyde Park just a few of the events scoured into the col­lec­tive con­scious­ness. Amidst Richard Havers’ new hard­back broad­cast-bi­og­ra­phy The Rolling Stones On Air In The Six­ties, an­other flash­point is il­lu­mi­nated in all its weird fas­ci­na­tion: the band’s fall­ing out with the BBC in 1964. As well as be­ing hand­somely il­lus­trated and pro­vid­ing a wealth of info about the group’s ap­pear­ances on ra­dio, TV and be­yond, the book re­pro­duces lots of sup­port­ing doc­u­men­ta­tion from the ar­chives to thrill the in­quis­i­tive. Brian Jones’s bold let­ter from Jan­uary 2, 1963, for ex­am­ple, asks for a BBC au­di­tion and de­clares, “an ex­cep­tion­ally good fu­ture has been pre­dicted for us by many peo­ple.” Their as­cent is not long com­ing, but by May 1964 then-man­ager Eric Eas­ton is ar­gu­ing that the money BBC pro­duc­ers “are pre­pared to pay the sec­ond-hottest group is

some­what in­sult­ing.” Soon, to a swelling back­ground of con­tem­po­rary re­ports of brusque Juke Box Jury ap­pear­ances, rows about long hair and not wear­ing ties – plus, on the morn­ing of May 9, 1964, Long John Baldry de­scrib­ing the Stones as “those charm­ing de­vi­a­tion­ists” dur­ing a spe­cial BBC stereo broad­cast – the cul­ture-clash comes to a head. When the Stones miss a Novem­ber 1964 ap­pear­ance on the Satur­day Club pro­gramme, BBC light en­ter­tain­ment book­ing man­ager Pa­trick New­man talks of ex­il­ing the Stones from the air­waves, writ­ing in an in­ter­nal memo, “You may know that these gen­tle­men (sic) are (for a tran­sient mo­ment one rather hopes) third in the Top Ten… for my part I am a firm be­liever in noses be­ing very oc­ca­sion­ally cut off to spite one’s face.” (He also calls An­i­mals man­ager Don Ar­den, “a thor­oughly naughty man”.) By the fol­low­ing March, the un­re­pen­tant Stones were back on Top Of The Pops. Their sub­se­quent BBC en­gage­ments in­cluded play­ing the last edi­tion of Ready Steady Go! in De­cem­ber 1966 and mak­ing Top Of The Pops ap­pear­ances on the day af­ter Brian Jones’s death and just six days af­ter the events of Al­ta­mont. The book co­in­cides with other Stones ac­tiv­ity: the group are play­ing Euro­pean dates in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber, while a 50th an­niver­sary stereo/mono dou­ble vinyl/SACD edi­tion of Their Sa­tanic Majesties Re­quest – with re­stored lentic­u­lar cover art – ar­rives on Septem­ber 22. Ad­di­tion­ally, in July Mick Jag­ger re­leased the solo tracks Gotta Get A Grip and Eng­land Lost, the lat­ter fea­tur­ing north Lon­don MC Skepta: both songs are trou­bled blues rock­ers with baggy beats and lyrics which ques­tion Brexit, na­tion­al­ism and how “No real pas­sion is a na­tional shame.” For his part, Keith Richards told an on­line ques­tioner about a new group al­bum: “We are very, very shortly cut­ting some new stuff and con­sid­er­ing where to take it next. [2016 cov­ers set] Blue & Lone­some caught us a lit­tle bit by sur­prise… I just think, ac­tu­ally the Stones will use it as a boost to their en­ergy and their vi­a­bil­ity in this day and age… and see what we can come up with next.”

The Rolling Stones On Air In The Six­ties: TV And Ra­dio His­tory As It Hap­pened by Richard Havers is pub­lished by Vir­gin Books on Septem­ber 21 (RRP: £30)

Hot box: the Stones on Thank Your Lucky Stars, June 6, 1965; (bot­tom) in Manch­ester cel­e­brat­ing Sat­is­fac­tion hit­ting Num­ber 1; (be­low) the book.

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