Letter: Did you see Rolling Stones at Great Yarmouth’s ABC in 1965?

Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones - Credit: Archant

After doing a tour in 1963 supporting the Everly Brothers, the Rolling Stones broke through as a headline act in 1964.

Richard Houghton

Richard Houghton - Credit: Archant

Like many pop bands of the time they thought it was only a matter of time before the bubble of fame burst and so they gigged extensively throughout 1964, performing over 300 times - not including TV and radio appearances - in order to make hay while the sun shone.

Due to demand for tickets, they often performed twice on the same day.

The Stones played two shows at the ABC in Great Yarmouth on Sunday, July 25, 1965 doing an early evening show and then a mid-evening one. Front row tickets cost 15 shillings (75p) which is less than many concertgoers pay in booking fees these days.

By the time of these concerts they were firmly established as the biggest pop band in Britain (and arguably the world) after the Beatles, having had three number one hits in a row with It’s All Over Now, Little Red Rooster and The Last Time.

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction had been released in the US in June and was topping the American singles charts when the band played Great Yarmouth but UK fans could only hear the song by tuning into pirate radio stations as the lyrics were deemed too sexually suggestive for British ears. A UK release was finally granted for the song in August 1965.

No complete record of exactly which songs they played at these gigs exists (unless your readers know better) but it seems likely they will have played nine or 10 songs including their three UK number ones and the Chuck Berry covers Around And Around and Route 66.

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I live in Preston and am a huge Rolling Stones fan, having seen them live over 20 times, most recently in Stockholm on their 2014 On Fire tour. I own more than 60 of their CDs and albums and also collect books about them, with more than 200 books in my collection to date. I decided to write a book because although there are loads of books and articles about the Stones there has been very little written about their earliest fans. Many of those fans, like the Stones themselves, have some great stories to tell. The country was going through a huge period of change after the post war austerity years and the Stones and their fans were part of that change.

I’m really interested to hear from anyone who went to either of these concerts - who they went with, what they remember of the shows - and if they have any photos of themselves or souvenirs from the gigs stored away in a cupboard somewhere.

Original programmes from shows of that period can sell for several hundred pounds and for up to a thousand if they’re autographed by the band.

We always took our family holidays in Great Yarmouth (staying at the North Denes caravan camp) so it’s entirely possible I was in Yarmouth when the Stones played there. I also lived in Norwich for seven years.

I came across a story while I was looking for images of the Stones in Great Yarmouth. This may be old news but it seems the Stones’ founding member Brian Jones had a child with a woman who was originally from Great Yarmouth:

I can be contacted via email at richardmhoughton@gmail.com or by letter at 32 Manor Avenue, Preston, PR2 8DN.