I went down to the demonstration

    January 1968: Mick Jagger purchases an apartment in Chester Square in London. Keith Richards recovers
        in Paris, France from catching hepatitis in Morocco.

    Late January 1968: Jo Bergman starts running the Rolling Stones' new London office on Maddox Street.

Keith Richards: Rediscovering the guitar

Around 1966 or so, after 3 or 4 years of constantly being on the road, rocking the Rolling Stones, I took a little time off and started to listen to some blues again. On the road, none of us had  had the time to listen to much beyond the Top 10: our stuff, the Beatles, and Phil Spector's latest. All great records. But when we finally came off the road, I started listening to Blind Blake. A whole lot of blues had become available that we just couldn't get in England back in ‘61 or ‘62...

Then I started looking into some '20s and '30s blues records. Slowly I began to realize that a lot of them were in very strange tunings. These  guys would pick up a guitar, and a lot of times it would be tuned a  certain way, and that's how they'd learn to play it. It might be some  amazing sort of a mode, some strange thing. And that's why for  years you could have been trying to figure out how some guy does this  lick, and then you realize that he has this one string that is supposed to be up high, and he has it turned down  an octave lower.  And later Ry Cooder popped in, who had the tunings down. He had the open G. By then I was working on open E and open D tunings. I was trying to figure out Fred McDowell shit, Blind Willie McTell stuff. I used open D on Beggars Banquet. Street Fighting Man is all that, and Jumpin' Jack Flash.


    January 21, 1968: Brian Jones participates in the Jimi Hendrix Experience's recording of All Along the
        Watchtower at Olympic Sound Studios in London.

Early-Mid February 1968: The Rolling Stones start rehearsals for their next album at Keith Richards's
    house Redlands in West Wittering, Sussex.

    February-March 1968: Bill Wyman suffers from anxiety attacks.

    February 4, 1968: Mick Jagger is interviewed on British TV's Eamonn Andrews Show.

February 21-Mid-March 1968: The Rolling Stones hold more rehearsals at R. G. Jones Studios in
    Morden, Surrey, with just-hired producer Jimmy Miller.

Bill Wyman & Glyn Johns: Hiring Jimmy Miller

Bill: I think that everybody knew that we had to get back to our roots, you know, and start over. That's why we got Jimmy Miller as a producer and came out with Beggars Banquet and those kinds of albums after, which was reverting back and getting more guts - which is what the Stones are all about.

Glyn Johns: Jagger came to me after Satanic Majesties and said, We're going to get a new producer, so I said, OK, fine. He said, We're going to get an American. I thought, Oh my God, that's all I need. I don't think my ego can stand having some bloody Yankee coming in here and start telling me what sort of sound to get with the Rolling Stones. So I said, I know somebody! I know there's one in England already and he's fantastic, and he'd just done the Traffic album: Jimmy Miller. And it was a remarkably good record he made, the first record he made with Traffic. I said, He's a really nice guy. I'd met him, he'd been in the next studio room and I said, I'm sure he'd be fantastic. Anything but some strange lunatic, drug addict from Los Angeles. So... Jagger actually took the bait and off he went, met Jimmy Miller and gave him the job.


    March 1968: Mick Jagger purchases the country house Stargroves, near Newbury in Berkshire, which he starts
        renovating. He also purchases an apartment on Cheyne Walk in Chelsea, London.

    March 17, 1968: Mick Jagger participates in the first major British demonstration against the Vietnam War, at
        London's Grosvenor Square outside the American Embassy.

March 17-April 3, 1968: The Rolling Stones start recording sessions for Beggars Banquet at Olympic
    Studios in London, working on Jumpin' Jack Flash, Street Fighting Man, Child of the Moon,
    Parachute Woman and other songs. Brian Jones misses many sessions.

Keith Richards: "Street Fighting Man"

The basic track of Street Fighting Man was done on a mono cassette with very distorted overrecording, on a Phillips with no limiters..... (Even the high-end lead part was through) a cassette player with no limiter. Just distortion. Just two acoustics, played right into the mike, and hit very hard. There's a sitar in the back, too. That would give the effect of the high notes on the guitar. And Charlie was playing his little 1930s drummer's practice kit. It was all sort of built into a little attaché case, so some drummer who was going to his gig on the train could open it up - with two little things about the size of small tambourines without the bells on them, and the skin was stretched over that. And he set up this little cymbal, and this little hi-hat would unfold. Charlie sat right in front of the microphone with it. I mean, this drum sound is massive. When you're recording, the size of things has got nothing to do with it. It's how you record them. Everything there was totally acoustic. The only electric instrument on there is the bass guitar, which I overdubbed afterwards.

Keith Richards: Brian deteriorating

Brian, in many ways, was a right cunt. He was a bastard. Mean, generous, anything. You want to say one thing, give it the opposite too. But more so than most people, you know. Up to a point, you could put up with it. When you were put under the pressures of the road, either you took it seriously or you took it as a joke. Which meant that eventually - it was a very slow process, and it shifted and changed, and it is so impossible to describe - but in the last year or so, when Brian was almost totally incapacitated all of the time, he became a joke to the band. It was the only way we could deal with it without getting mad at him. So then it became that very cruel, piss-taking thing behind his back all the time...

(But even though he wasn't really contributing anymore), there was no immediate necessity to go through the drama of replacing Brian because no gigs were lined up. We first had to recognize the fact that we needed to make a really good album. After Satanic Majesties we wanted to make a STONES album.


    March 18, 1968: Shirley Watts gives birth to her and Charlie's daughter, Serafina.

    March 20, 1968: Keith Richards' ex-girlfriend, Linda Keith, is found unconscious at Brian Jones' apartment
        following a drug overdose.

    Late March 1968: Bill Wyman starts producing new recording sessions for The End in London.

    April 1968: During a shopping spree, Mick Jagger purchases the books Confucius to Cummings, Dylan Thomas,
    Penguin Modern Poets, W. B. Yeats Poems, Morte d'Arthur, and Jung Volume 10.

Mick Jagger: The Beggars Banquet era

God, what was I doing during that time? Who was I living with? It was all recorded in London, and I was living in this rented house in Chester Square. I was living with Marianne Faithfull. Was I still? Yeah. And I was just writing a lot, reading a lot. I was educating myself. I was reading a lot of poetry, I was reading a lot of philosophy. I was out and about. I was very social, always hanging out with (art gallery owner) Robert Fraser's group of people. And I wasn't taking so many drugs that it was messing up my creative processes.

It was a very good period, 1968 - there was good feeling in the air. It was very a creative period for everyone. There was lot going on in the theater. Marianne was kind of involved with it, so I would go to the theater upstairs, hang out with the young directors of the time and the young filmmakers.


April 20, 1968: The Rolling Stones finish work on their next single, Jumpin' Jack Flash, at Olympic
    Sound Studios in London.

April 27-28, 1968: The Rolling Stones shoot a promotional film clip for Jumpin' Jack Flash in London.

    May 1968: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards first meet Gram Parsons, who is touring Europe with the Byrds.

Keith Richards: Meeting Gram

Gram Parsons blew into town with the Byrds, who were playing Blasés. Gram came back to Mick's Chester Square flat with Roger McGuinn.


May 9-10, 1968: The Rolling Stones start working on Salt of the Earth at Olympic Sound Studios.

May 11, 1968: The Rolling Stones film a promotional film clip for Child of the Moon in the Surrey
    countryside nd another one for Jumpin' Jack Flash at Olympic Sound Studios.

May 12, 1968: The Rolling Stones perform their first public performance in over a year, at the New
    Musical Express Poll-Winners' Concert, at the Empire Pool in Wembley, London.

May 13-23, 1968: The Rolling Stones continue recording sessions for Beggars Banquet at Olympic
    Sound Studios, working on Dear Doctor, No Expectations, Family, Factory Girl, Stray Cat Blues and
    other tracks, as well as finish Street Fighting Man.

Mick Jagger: "No Expectations"

That's Brian playing (steel guitar) on No Expectations. We were sitting around in a circle on the floor, singing and playing, recording with open mikes. That was the last time I remember Brian really being totally involved in something that was really worth doing. He was there with everyone else. It's funny how you remember - but that was the last moment I remember him doing that, because he had just lost interest in everything.

Mick Jagger: "Street Fighting Man"

It was a very strange time in France. But not only in France but also in America, because of the Vietnam War and these endless disruptions.... 

I wrote a lot of the melody and all the words for Street Fighting Man, and Keith and I sat around and made this wonderful track, with Dave Mason playing the shehani on it live. It's a kind of Indian reed instrument a bit like a primitive clarinet. It comes in at the end of the tune. It has a very wailing, strange sound... 

There was all this violence going on. I mean, they almost toppled the government in France; De Gaulle went into this complete funk, as he had in the past, and he went and sort of locked himself in his house in the country. And so the government was almost inactive. And the French riot police were amazing. Yeah, it was a direct inspiration, because by contrast, London was very quiet...


May 15, 1968: The Rolling Stones hold a press conference at their London office for the release
    of Jumpin' Jack Flash. Mick Jagger and Brian Jones record an interview for BBC radio's Top Gear.

    c. May 18, 1968: The Rolling Stones and girlfriends/wives see the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    May 21, 1968: Brian Jones is arrested for a second time at his apartment, for possession of cannabis. He is
        sent to Marlborough Street Magistrates Court where his is charged. He moves temporarily into Redlands with
        Keith Richards.

May 24, 1968: The Rolling Stones' single Jumpin' Jack Flash is released in the UK.  (Released in the U.S. on June 1.)

Early June 1968: The Rolling Stones hold a photo shoot for the inside cover of Beggars Banquet, at
    a house in Hampstead, London.

June 4-10, 1968: The Rolling Stones pursue recording sessions for Beggars Banquet at Olympic
    Sound Studios, recording Sympathy for the Devil among other tracks, and getting filmed by French
    film director Jean-Luc Godard for One Plus One.

Mick Jagger: "Sympathy for the Devil"

I wrote Sympathy for the Devil as sort of like a Bob Dylan song.  (I wrote that song by myself). I mean, Keith suggested that we do it in another rhythm, so that's how bands help you... I knew it was something good, 'cause I would just keep banging away at it until the fucking band recorded it... But I knew it was a good song. You just have this feeling. It had its poetic beginning, and then it had historic references and then philosophical jottings and so on. It's all very well to write that in verse, but to make it into a pop song is something different. Especially in England - you're skewered on the altar of pop culture if you become pretentious... 

It has a very hypnotic groove, a samba, which has a tremendous hypnotic power, rather like good dance music. It doesn't speed up or down. It keeps this constant groove. Plus, the actual samba rhythm is a great one to sing on, but it's also got some other suggestions in it, an undercurrent of being primitive - because it is a primitive African, South American, Afro-whatever-you-call-that rhythm. So to white people, it has a very sinister thing about it. But forgetting the cultural colors, it is a very good vehicle for producing a powerful piece. It becomes less pretentious because it's a very unpretentious groove. If it had been done as a ballad, it wouldn't have been as good.


    June 6, 1968: Mick Jagger records an interview for BBC radio's Top Gear.

June 8, 1968: The Rolling Stones shoot an outdoors photo session in Balcony Field, Swarkestone, near
    Derby in central England.

    June 11, 1968: Brian Jones is back in court at Inner London Sessions and elects trial by jury. He then flies off to
        Malaga, Spain, with Suki Poitier.

    June 22, 1968: At Olympic Sound Studios in London, doing producing work for The End, Bill Wyman gets
        a preview of the first Led Zeppelin recordings by Jimmy Page.

June 24-28, 1968: The Rolling Stones finish recording sessions at Olympic Sound Studios for
    Beggars Banquet, working on Prodigal Son and Family among others.

    July 1968: Bill Wyman decides to fight his separated wife for the custody of his son.

    July 4, 1968: Brian Jones and Suki Poitier arrive in Tangier, Morocco.

c. July 4, 1968: Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull and Jimmy Miller arrive at Sunset Sound Studios in Los
    Angeles, California, for the overdubbing and mixing sessions for Beggars Banquet album.

    July 5, 1968: Mick Jagger attends The Doors' concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, and meets and
        eats with the group beforehand at Mu Ling's Chinese restaurant.

    July 7, 1968: The Byrds, with Gram Parsons, perform a charity concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Keith
        meets Parsons again, who quits the Byrds and starts hanging with Keith.

July 9, 1968: Charlie Watts arrives in Los Angeles to join the Beggars Banquet mixing sessions.

July 20, 1968: Keith Richards, along with Anita Pallenberg and Gram Parsons, arrive in Los Angeles
    to join the final Beggars Banquet sessions.

Keith Richards: Taj & Gram

Mick and I went to L.A. in '68 to mix down Beggars Banquet with Jimmy Miller and stayed for two months (sic). Hung out with Taj (Mahal) and the Flying Burritos (sic). Went to the Palomino a lot... 

In the 60s, I knew these (old blues) guys were using other tunings. Obviously. Up until about '68, we were just on the road so much, I had not time to experiment: Oh, when I get some time off, I'm gonna figure this out. Up until then, the Stones were out like 315 nights a year. It doesn't give you a lot of room to maneuver and check out new things. Around 1967 (sic), I was just starting to hang out with Taj Mahal and Gram Parsons, who are all students too. I mean, Taj, as beautiful as he is, is a student who basically approaches the blues from a white man's angle. He's got it all together, and always did have. But at the same time, he came from that angle. He's very academic about it. He showed me a couple of things.So in that year I started to get into that, and the Nashville tuning the country boys use - the high stringing - and all the other things you can do. When I was locked into regular, I thought, The guitar is capable of more than this - or is it? Let's find out... 

(The Byrds') next gig was to be in South Africa, and we told Gram English bands never even went there. So he threw in his lot with the Stones and hung around London. The reason Gram and I were together more than other musicians is because I really wanted to learn what Gram had to offer. Gram was really intrigued by me and the band. Although we came from England, Gram and I shared this instinctive affinity for the real South.

Gram showed me the mechanics fo country music... Gram knew songs that I'd forgotten or had never known. He introduced me to a lot of players, and he showed me the difference between the way country would be played in Nashville and in Bakersfield - the two schools - with a completely different sound and attitude. But apart from that he was just a very special guy. He was my mate, and I wish he'd remained my mate for a lot longer. It's not often you can lie around on a bed with a guy having cold turkey, in tandem, and still get along.


    July 21, 1968: Bill Wyman purchases Gedding Hall, near Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk.

    July 23-24, 1968: Brian Jones records the Master Musicians of Joujouka in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Mick Jagger: Brian's Moroccan tapes

I remember Brian playing (his Moroccan) tapes (in the '60s). We had this engineer we were working with, George Chkiantz, and George was one of the first people to be heavily into phasing, which was like the scratching of the middle '60s. So Brian took all of the Joujouka tapes and put them through phasing, which was really quite before its time. I always felt the Stones were quite adventurous that way.


July 25, 1968: The Rolling Stones' Beggars Banquet is completed at Los Angeles' Sunset Sound

    July 26, 1968: Mick Jagger celebrates his 25th birthday at the Vesuvio Club in London, England, with Marianne
        Faithfull, Charlie Watts, John Lennon and Paul McCartney among others. Allegedly Mick Jagger previews the
        Beggars Banquet album.

August 1968: The Rolling Stones and Decca Records start a battle over the image for the cover of
    Beggars Banquet, delaying the album's release.

    August 1968: Gram Parsons spends time with Keith Richards at Redlands.

    August 1968: Brian Jones finds his future home, Cotchford Farm in Hartfield, Sussex, the former home of auhor
        A. A. Milne.

August 31, 1968: The Rolling Stones' U.S. single Street Fighting Man is released.

    September 2-Mid-October 1968: Mick Jagger shoots his acting part in the film Performance in London, alongside
        Anita Pallenberg and others. Mick and Anita possibly have an affair together.

    September 1968: Keith Richards moves into Robert Fraser's apartment in London with Anita Pallenberg, and
        starts experimenting with heroin.

Keith Richards: Starting heroin use

Taking heroin was a really, really gradual thing. I would stop for 6 months, take it for a month, stop for 4 months, then take it for 2. I started taking it because it was... around. I liked it as a mixture.


    September 3, 1968: Mick Jagger tapes an interview on British TV's Frost on Friday.

Mick Jagger (September 1968): The delay for Beggars Banquet

Making music (is what) interests me but unfortunately you can't buy it at the moment, which is a pity because we'd like to get on with making the next album.


    September 26, 1968: Brian Jones attends his trial in London, with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Suki Poitier
        present. He is found guilty of possession of cannabis and fined.

Keith Richards: Brian and the courts

It didn't hit me for months because I hadn't seen him a lot. The only time we'd seen him was down at the courthouse, at one of his trials. They really roughed him up, man. He wasn't a cat that could stand that kind of thing and they really went for him like when hunting dogs smell blood. There's one we'll break, so keep on. And they busted him and busted him. That cat got so paranoid at the end like unto Lenny Bruce, the same tactics. Break him down. Maybe with Mick and me, they felt they're just old lads.


    October 1, 1968: Charlie Watts produces a recording session for The People Band at Olympic Sound Studios in

    Early October 1968: Marianne Faithfull's pregnancy to Mick Jagger's child becomes public.

October 9, 1968: The Rolling Stones start rehearsals at a newly purchased warehouse studio in

    October 12, 1968: Mick Jagger appears on British TV's Frost on Saturday, and discusses marriage and living out
        of wedlock with Mrs. Mary Whitehouse, founder of the National Viewers and Listeners Association.

    Late October 1968: Marianne Faithfull suffers a miscarriage.

    October 30, 1968: Bill Wyman and Astrid Lundstrom move into Gedding Hall.

    November 1968: Mick Jagger records the soundtrack for the film Invocation of My Demon Brother at his Cheyne
        Walk apartment.

November 16-17, 1968: The Rolling Stones initiate the Led It Bleed sessions at Olympic Sound Studios
    in London, starting work on You Can't Always Get What You Want and Memo from Turner.

    November 21, 1968: Brian Jones purchases Cotchford Farm in Sussex.

November 29, 1968: The Rolling Stones perform on British TV's Frost on Saturday.

    November 29, 1968: Jean Luc Godard's film One Plus One is premiered in London.

December 5, 1968: The Rolling Stones hold a promotional party for the release of Beggars Banquet
    at the Gore Hotel in London.

December 6-7, 1968: The Rolling Stones' 9th U.S. and 7th UK studio album, Beggars Banquet, is released.

December 6-12, 1968: The Rolling Stones rehearse then film The Rolling Stones' Rock and Roll Circus
    at Intertel Studios in London, along with The Who, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, John Lennon,
    Eric Clapton and other artists.

    December 14, 1968: Mick Jagger is interviewed for BBC radio's Scene and Heard.

    December 18, 1968: Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull, Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg fly off for a 3-week
        holiday in Peru and Brazil.

Keith Richards: Glimmer Twins in Brazil

On a trip to South America, Mick and I went to a ranch and wrote Honky Tonk Women because it was into a cowboy thing. All these spades are fantastic cowboys. Beautiful ponies and quarter horses. Miles from anywhere. Just like being in Arizona or something.... 

We used to see the same couple in the bar, who kept saying to us, Who ARE you? What's it all about? Come on, give us a clue. Just give us a glimmer.  That's when Mick and I started to call ourselves the Glimmer Twins.


    Late December 1968: Brian Jones and Suki Poitier start a prolonged stay in Sri Lanka.

Continue chronicle

Return to Time Is On Our Side main page