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The Stones Are Coming!

Rock Stars & Hollywood
By KEW Townsend
(Copyright 1990/2016)

Chapter One

It was June 2, 1964, when fifteen year old Sherri and I heard on the radio that the next day the Rolling Stones were arriving at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).  There wasn’t much press.  We had read about some rumblings of the Stones in the fan magazines.  They were scary looking and billed as the Bad Boys of England.

Headlines read:

“Would You Let Your Sister Marry These Boys?”  Well, I certainly wouldn’t even go out with them.  We sifted through the magazines we bought at the bookstand on the corner of Cahuenga and Hollywood Boulevard in downtown Hollywood.  There we were able to purchase the valuable import magazines from England, so we were able to investigate the Stones.  We didn’t have any import albums except for Meet the Beatles, so we really didn’t know how the Stones sounded.  We devised a scheme.  We had never cut school before, so we plotted and designed our escape.

The first part of our plan was to take the RTD bus to Wallach’s Music City on the corner of Sunset and Vine, in downtown Hollywood.  This was not just any record shop.  Lining the walls inside the store was a row of glass enclosed booths.  Inside them were turntables and a person could select any album, enter the booth and privately preview the tracks before purchasing.

We proceeded to the record file for “R” to find the new Rolling Stones album.  What a cover!  Dark, light pouring down on top of them lined up in a row fading into darkness.  Similar to the album cover of the Beatles.  Copycats!  We took the vinyl into the booth and prepared to meet the Rolling Stones.  While the tracks played, I took the album cover and study the faces.  I decided that the one called Keith was the most intriguing. 

All went well. 

One-by-one the tracks filled the booth, mostly blues covers; “Not Fade Away”, “Route 66”, “I Just Wanna Make Love To You” (a tasty little tune), “Now I’ve Got A Witness”, and “Little By Little”.  But the outstanding track that suggested ‘making honey and buzzing around your hive’-“King Bee”, was outrageous!  Imagine that?  My teen-age fantasies ran wild and soaked up every lyric until … the last cut.  The guitar pierced right though me reaching depths of my adolescent heart in a way I had never felt before, I had to feel it, hear it again … and again.  It was “Tell Me”, a Jagger/Richards original composition.  The voices, the harmonies, the lyrics, the guitars, the powerful and strong pounding drums, the haunting tambourine, the mood, what a love song. 

That did it. 

The Stones had me. 

If they could create that sound and feeling I had to see the Stone.

Until now, Sherri and I had agreed that if we did not like the album we would abort the airport trip.  I immediately purchased the Stones first album – “The Rolling Stones”.  Finally, I had a contender for The Beatles.

“Sherri, we’re going to the airport for sure!”  I declared, “I have to see Keith.”

Who did you hear on the radio that you just had to meet?