Another historical find in the Huntley Archives–unfortunately there is no sound.
The band’s previous tours had been brief, incandescent sets played to mostly screaming teenage girls. But as the 60s grew to a close, the Stones’ music had evolved. They played longer sets, which charted their influences by including tracks by their blues heroes, and as Bill Wyman said; “for the first time the audiences were actually listening to what we playing”.
1969 was the year of the free rock festival. The Stones’ Hyde Park concert in London in July was followed a month later by Woodstock and, as their Let It Bleed tour rolled triumphantly across America, the Rolling Stones decided to end the decade with a massive free concert to thank their US fans for their continuing support.
The concert, held at Altamont Speedway in the scrublands of Northern California on 6th December, was meant to be the West Coast’s answer to Woodstock but the event turned out so differently, some believe it signalled the end of the peace and love era. It was badly organised, Hell’s Angels were providing security, and trouble started early on. Four people died including a young black man who was stabbed and kicked to death, at the front of the stage, as the Rolling Stones played Under My Thumb.
The programme features contributions from those who were on the road with the Stones on this groundbreaking tour including Mick Jagger’s personal assistant, Georgia Bergman; the tour’s business manager Ron Schneider; production manager Chip Monck; tour manager Sam Cutler; journalist Michael Lydon; photographer Ethan Russell; director Albert Maysles; and the Guardian’s Eamonn McCabe.
Shedding Hippie Blood provides a fascinating insight into what Rolling Stone magazine at the time called “the biggest rock tour music has seen”. It was a tour that defined an era with The Stones basically inventing stadium rock as their ground breaking journey unfolded. But it also represented the dark side that had emerged from a counterculture without control, conscience or conviction.
The book is almost done. I am going through the final editing and then on to design and the cover. Those seeking the facts about the classic 1969 Rolling Stones tour and Gimme Shelter please hang on a little longer. The myths will be dispelled with the facts.
Don’t go towards the light –wait for the book!
In early January 1971, I flew to NYC from my home in North Miami Beach, Florida to go snow skiing at Hunter Mountain. While on the plane I got a copy of the New York Post and saw an article by Al Aronowitz which was part of a series about Gimme Shelter. He was getting his info from John Jaymes. It was filled with misinformation and lies from the low life con man. Usually I don’t bother with reporters as they have their own agenda but the article infuriated me. I called my old PR friend Candy Leigh and she said she knew the reporter, he was a cool guy and I should talk to him. I called Al and we arranged a phone interview when I returned to Florida. We spoke for three hours and me of little faith wondered if it was worthwhile. It was, he posted a revised column and wrote the truth. This was the only time I had seen a writer care about posting the facts and following through.
New York Post Feb. 10,1971
I just saw this:
August 13, 2005 – Alfred G. Aronowitz, a pioneering rock journalist, dies of cancer in Elizabeth, N.J. He is 77. Aronowitz, who went by Al, was a brash, high-living character who paved the way for writers covering the evolving rock scene of the 1960s and subsequent cultural rebellion journalists like Hunter S. Thompson.
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