Sympathy for the Stones as Blackpool buries the hatchet over 1964 riot

The Rolling Stones said it was only rock 'n' roll, but the people of Blackpool didn't like it and promptly banned them from the town. But now, 44 years after their gig at the Empress Ballroom ended in a riot, Blackpool has lifted the ban on the Stones playing a gig in the town and apologised to the band.

Back in 1964 the Rolling Stones were banished from the town after their "suggestive" gig ended in chaos. Angry fans smashed crystal chandeliers, tore seats and smashed a Steinway grand piano. Bottles and stones were hurled, and 50 of the audience had to be treated in hospital.

According to witnesses, the Stones were playing to a capacity audience of about 7,000 at the gig on 24 July 1964, when some of the crowd started spitting at them. One man was seen by Keith Richards with his hands on the stage and telling others to aim their phlegm at his fellow guitarist Brian Jones. Richards warned the man but the spitting began. He is then said to have stood on the man's hands and kicked his nose. The place erupted and the band ran off the stage before police officers with dogs calmed the situation.

The riot angered the town council fathers so much that they placed an indefinite ban on the Stones ever performing in Blackpool again. But now, nearly half a century on, the council has decided to lift the ban and invite the ageing rockers back to the seaside resort.

Peter Callow, the leader of Blackpool Council, explained: "From what I hear, some sections of the crowd were outraged at the performance – they found it suggestive. Nowadays it would probably seem very normal, but back then the Rolling Stones were very new to the scene and it wasn't something the fans were used to. A lot of people got very wound up. The crowd were hysterical and they went wild and trashed our world famous ballroom.

"As you'd imagine, the council and the people who ran the venue at the time weren't very happy about it all and banned the band from returning to the resort. But I think it's now time for reconciliation. It's time to bury the hatchet and extend the hand of friendship. I want to say: 'Come back, Mick. All is forgiven.'"

Blackpool has chosen to lift the ban to coincide with the release of Martin Scorsese's biopic of the band titled Shine A Light, which premieres on 2 April in Leicester Square, London, and 100 other cinemas in the UK, including Blackpool's Odeon. Mr Callow added: "When we heard that they'd be coming back here, albeit not in the flesh, the topic of their ban surfaced again and I decided it was time to lift it and let bygones be bygones. I've instructed my staff at the town hall to write a letter to the band's management explaining that the ban has now been lifted and that we would welcome them back if they could fit us in on one of their world tours. The ideal scenario would be if they wanted to come back and play a gig or come and turn on the illuminations."

A spokesman for the band said that it would be making no comment on the lifting of the ban.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45000: SThree: SThree Group have been well es...

Guru Careers: Copywriter / Direct Response Copywriter

£20k plus sales linked bonus. : Guru Careers: We are seeking a Copywriter to j...

Recruitment Genius: Accounting Technician

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has bec...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen