Saturday, June 23, 2012

Rolling Stones : Stones in the Park (1969)

By the release of Beggars Banquet, Brian Jones was increasingly troubled and was only sporadically contributing to the band. Jagger said that Jones was "not psychologically suited to this way of life". His drug use had become a hindrance, and he was unable to obtain a US visa. Richards reported that, in a June meeting with Jagger, Richards, and Watts at Jones' house, Jones admitted that he was unable to "go on the road again". Richards said all agreed to let Jones "...say 'I've left, and if I want to I can come back'". On 3 July 1969, less than a month later, Jones drowned in the swimming pool at his Cotchford Farm home in Sussex.

The Rolling Stones were scheduled to play at a free concert for Blackhill Enterprises in London's Hyde Park, two days after Brian Jones' death; they decided to proceed with the show as a tribute to Jones. The concert, their first with Mick Taylor, was performed in front of an estimated 250,000 fans. The performance was filmed by a Granada Television production team, and was shown on British television as Stones in the Park. Jagger read an excerpt from Percy Bysshe Shelley's elegy Adonaïs and released thousands of butterflies in memory of Jones  before opening their set with "I'm Yours and I'm Hers", a Johnny Winter number. Also performed, but previously unheard by the audience, were Midnight Rambler and Love In Vain from their forthcoming album Let It Bleed (released December 1969) and Give Me A Drink from their forthcoming album Exile On Main Street (released May 1972). The show also included the concert debut of Honky Tonk Women, which the band had just released the previous day. The Blackhill Enterprises stage manager Sam Cutler introduced them as "the greatest rock & roll band in the world" a description he repeated throughout their 1969 US tour, and which has stuck to this day (Cutler left Blackhill Enterprises to become the Stones road manager following the Hyde Park concert).
The release of Let It Bleed (UK number 1; US 3) came in December. Their last album of the sixties, Let It Bleed featured "Gimmie Shelter"(which would later be described by journalist Greil Marcus as "the greatest ever rock and roll recording") The lead female vocalist and famed solo - on "Gimmie Shelter" is performed by singer Merry Clayton, sister of Sam Clayton, of the American rock band, Little Feat. The other female singer also performing on the album was vocalist Nanette Workman).

Other tracks include "You Can't Always Get What You Want" (with choral accompaniment by the London Bach Choir, who asked for their name to be removed from the album's credits after being apparently 'horrified' by the content of some of its other material, but later withdrew this request), "Midnight Rambler" as well as a cover of Robert Johnson's "Love in Vain". Jones and Taylor are featured on two tracks each. Many of these numbers were played during the band's US tour in November 1969, their first in three years.

Just after the tour the band performed at the Altamont Free Concert at the Altamont Speedway, about 60 km east of San Francisco. The biker gang Hells Angels provided security, and a fan, Meredith Hunter, was stabbed and beaten to death by the Angels after they realised that he was armed. Part of the tour and the Altamont concert were documented in Albert and David Maysles' film Gimme Shelter. As a response to the growing popularity of bootleg recordings (in particular the still sought-after Live'r Than You'll Ever Be), the album Get Yer Ya-Yas Out! (UK 1; US 6) was released in 1970; it was declared by critic Lester Bangs to be the best live album ever.

Stones in the park was a 1969 Grenada Television production and aired on the BBC 2 network.
Half a million people gathered on July 5th, 1969 in the open air in London's Hyde Park to pay homage to the group described as the GREATEST ROCK'N'ROLL BAND IN THE WORLD: THE ROLLING STONES. It was two days after the tragic death of guitarist BRIAN JONES and the atmosphere in Hyde Park was charged with emotion. One newspaper's headline dubbed the concert, "REQUIEM FOR A STONE". The Guardian called it " A MAJOR EVENT IN ENGLISH SOCIAL HISTORY." This concert is Mick Taylor's first live performance with The Rolling Stones.
I'm Yours, She's Mine
Jumpin Jack Flash
I'm Free
Love in Vain
Midnight Rambler
Honky Tonk Women
Sympathy for the Devil

53 MIN

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