Today is the anniversary of the very first gig the Rolling Stones played!
During the late spring and early summer of 1962 Mick Jagger and Keith Richards would catch the train from Dartford to London, where they nurtured dreams of forming a blues band.
They always visited the Marquee Club on Oxford Street where Mick, on a few occasions, sat in to sing a few blues songs with Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated. Playing drums with Alexis was one Charlie Watts.
Brian Jones, Ian Stewart, Mick and Keith along with whoever else they could find to play some Rhythm & Blues were soon rehearsing a set of favourites at The Bricklayers Arms Pub in Soho’s Broadwick Street, just a stone’s throw away from Oxford Street.
Their luck changed when The Blues Incorporated were offered a slot on BBC Radio’s Jazz Club programme on 12th July 1962, so the Marquee’s owner, Harold Pendleton booked this new four piece band to deputize for Korner’s group on this historic night.
Needing a name, quickly, so the club could advertise their appearance they came up with The Rollin’ Stones, lifted from a song by their hero Muddy Waters. Jazz News carried the band’s line up:
Mick Jagger (vocals harmonica), Keith Richards (guitars) Elmo Lewis, real name Brian Jones (guitars), Dick Taylor (bass), Ian Stewart (piano), & Mick Avory (drums).
Brian Jones was calling himself Elmo Lewis, Elmo, after his hero Elmore James, and Lewis being his first name: Lewis Brian Hopkin Jones.
According to the band’s handwritten set list for that first gig (penned by Ian Stewart in his appointment diary) they played songs by their heroes Jimmy Reed, Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry.
The rest is history.
The Set List
Kansas City – Wilbert Harrison
Honey What’s Wrong – Billy Fury
Confessin’ The Blues – Chuck Berry
Bright Lights, Big City – Jimmy Reed
Dust My Blues – Elmore James
Down The Road Apiece – Chuck Berry
I Want To Love You – Charles Smith
I’m A Hoochie Coochie Man – Muddy Waters
Ride ‘Em On Down – Robert Johnson
Back In The USA – Chuck Berry
I Feel A Kind Of Lonesome – Jimmy Reed
Blues Before Sunrise – Elmore James
Big Boss Man – Jimmy Reed
Don’t Stay Out All Night – Billy Boy Arnold
Tell Me That You Love Me – Fats Domino
Happy Home – Elmore James