Simon Wells: ‘The Great Rolling Stones Drugs Bust’

The recent News of the World ‘phone hacking scandal wasn’t the first time the red top used illicit means to obtain stories. Back in the swinging sixties, the paper regularly bartered with the police for information to use in its pages. 

One of the News of the World’s tip-offs to the cops led to the most infamous drugs trial of the twentieth century, where Mick Jagger, Keith Richard of The Rolling Stones, and art dealer Robert Fraser were imprisoned in an apparent attempt to destroy the band’s corrupting influence over the nation’s youth.

For the first time, the true story behind the arrests and trial is revealed by Simon Wells in his excellent book Butterfly on a Wheel: The Great Rolling Stones Drugs Bust. Wells’ previous work includes books on The Beatles and The Stones, British Cinema and most recently, a powerful and disturbing biography of Charles Manson. In an exclusive interview with Dangerous Minds, Wells explained his interest in The Stones drugs bust:

‘As a student of the 1960s it was perhaps inevitable that I would collide with the whole Redlands’ issue at some point. Probably like anyone with a passing interest in the Stones, I first knew about it mainly from legend - the “Mars Bar”, the fur rug, the “Butterfly On A Wheel” quote etc. However, like most of the events connected to the 1960s I was aware that there had to be a back story, and not what had been passed down into myth. This story proved to be no exception, and hopefully the facts are as sensational (if not more) than what has passed into mythology. Additionally, as a Sussexboy - I was familiar with the physical landscape of the story- so that was also attractive to me as well.’

Just after eight o’clock, on the evening of February 12 1967, the West Sussex police arrived at Keith Richards’ home, Redlands. Inside, Keith and his guests - including Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull, the gallery owner Robert Fraser, and “Acid King” David Schneiderman - shared in the quiet warmth of a day taking LSD. Relaxed, they listened to music, oblivious to the police gathering outside. The first intimation something was about to happen came when a face appeared, pressed against the window.

It must be a fan. Who else could it be? But Keith noticed it was a “little old lady”. Strange kind of fan. If we ignore her. She’ll go away.

Then it came, a loud, urgent banging on the front door. Robert Fraser quipped, “Don’t answer. It must be tradesmen. Gentlemen ring up first.” Marianne Faithfull whispered, “If we don’t make any noise, if we’re all really quiet, they’ll go away.” But they didn’t.

When Richards opened the door, he was confronted by 18 police officers led by Police Chief Inspector Gordon Dinely, who presented Richards with a warrant to “search the premises and the persons in them, under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1965.”

This then was the start to the infamous trial of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Robert Fraser.
More on Simon Wells ‘The Great Rolling Stones Drugs Bust’, after the jump…

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Mick Jagger: His first appearance on TV at 15

Mick Jagger makes his TV debut with some sensible shoes.


Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Michael Fish: Apocalyptic fashion from 1969

Fashion designer Michael Fish created some of the most memorable outfits of the 1960s and 1970s, most famously the “men’s dress” as worn by Mick Jagger and David Bowie. His designs were also graced the films Modesty Blaise and Performance.

Here is Mr Fish as he introduces a brief taster of his 1969 collection, from German TV’s Aktuell.

With thanks to Maria Salavessa Hormigo Guimil

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Backstage footage of the Rolling Stones: Hampton Coliseum, VA, 1981

Video filmed backstage at a Rolling Stones concert, from the Hampton Coliseum, Virginia, in 1981.

Alway wanted to know about the backstage antics???
Here’s your chance to be with the Stones before they go on stage.
I guess the routine of touring has gotten to the point of ...well this!
Warming the crowd before they go on is George Thorogood & the Destroyers, on stage in the background.

Your Backstage pass says “ALL ACCESS”.
Please follow through this door and onto your left!

Taken from the December 18 performance, this was broadcast as The World’s Greatest Rock’n’Roll Party on pay-per-view and in closed circuit cinemas - the first use of pay-per-view for a music event.

It’s interesting footage, inasmuch as it belies the backstage tales of excess most associated with the “World’s Greatest Rock’n’Roll” band.

With thanks to Vince Giracello

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Mick Jagger turns 68 today
06:16 pm


Mick Jagger

A very happy birthday to Sir Michael Philip “Mick” Jagger, who was born 68 years ago today, July 26, 1943.

God bless ‘im! What a freak of nature he truly is.

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
‘Human, Not Human’: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in Italian avant-garde mess, 1972

Mario Schifano, an Italian pop art painter and collagist who exhibited alongside Warhol and and Roy Lichtenstein, released this unusual art film Umano Non Umano (“Human, Not Human”)  in 1972. It looks quite boring (I don’t speak Italian, so it’s boring to me) but is notable for the inclusion of odd scenes with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (Anita Pallenberg, once Schifano’s girlfriend, is also in the film, and there are appearances by Carmello Bene and Italian existentialist novelist Alberto Moravia).

At about 36 minutes in, Mick Jagger is seen looking a right prat in a pink suit doing a not terribly convincing lip-sync of “Street Fighting Man.” At the one hour and one minute mark, Keith is seen arsing about making avant-garde music (we posted this clip a while back, too). That part is pretty cool, but the rest of it looks awful.

Although the film came out in 1972, I’d imagine that Jagger’s scene was probably shot sometime prior to when Marianne Faithfull left Mick for director Mario Schifano in 1969. Two pages are devoted to the affair in her 1994 autobiography, Faithfull. Schifano was apparently a huge coke freak, according to her. Maybe that’s why he thought the incessant heartbeat noise going on throughout this film was a good idea?

Below, Keith’s scene:

Thank you, Chris Campion!

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Marsha Hunt: Brown Sugar

Although a famous Vogue cover shot by Patrick Lichfield of Marsha Hunt, naked, with a huge Afro, as a London cast member of Hair is an indisputably and quintessentially iconic image of the 1960s, Hunt remains under the radar of most music fans. For one (quite good) reason, there are exactly zero CDs of her music on the market currently and there is nothing on iTunes either. This is too bad, because she made some worthwhile music during her career. However, some pretty great clips of her live on European TV have been popping up on YouTube and many of her better known singles have made it to some audio blogs, as well, so there’s plenty for me to illustrate here what still makes Hunt the object of cult fascination. Eventually, I have no doubt, she’ll be rediscovered by music nerds.

Hunt, an insanely gorgeous, highly intellectual 19-year-old model, originally from Philly, who went to Berkeley (and marched with Jerry Rubin!), moved to swinging London in 1966. She married Mike Ratledge of the Soft Machine so she could stay in the country (and is still married to him to this day, although they have not been together for decades) and sang back-up vocals for blues great Alexis Korner. She became a cast member of Hair, having but two lines as “Dionne” in the West End production.

Below, a clip of Marsha Hunt performing her cover version of Dr. John’s Walk on Gilded Splinters:

Next up, my favorite Marsha Hunt track (Oh No! Not) The Beast Day. To my ears this sounds way, way, way ahead if its time, reminding me (a lot) of Demon Days by the Gorillaz or mid-career Talking Heads. Turn this up LOUD, you’ll be really glad you did:

More Marsha Hunt after the jump…

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Romy Haag: David Bowie’s transsexual muse

Glamorous Romy Haag is one of the most famous transsexuals in Europe and a cabaret performer of some renown. She is also well-known as a former lover and muse of David Bowie during his Berlin years (and indeed was the apparent reason for his move to the city in 1976). Her influence on his work is clearly evident in his “Boys Keep Swinging” video, where Bowie appears in triplicate as a chorus of drag queens.

Haag was born in 1951 and early in her life, the issue of gender reassignment was discussed. She developed breasts naturally. Haag left her home at the age of 13, working as a clown, then a trapeze artist with the Circus Strassburger before becoming a female impersonator in Paris. At this time, Haag began living as a woman.

In 1974, she opened what would become Germany’s most popular nightclub during the disco-era at the age of 23, “Chez Romy Haag.” Celebrity guests included Bowie and Iggy Pop, who were regulars, Bryan Ferry, Freddie Mercury and Lou Reed. Mick Jagger was another patron and had a brief affair with Haag.

Haag began her musical career in 1977. In 1983, when she was in her 30s she had a sex change and in 1999, published an autobiography with the great title, A Woman And Then Some. She’s still an honored performer and going strong at the age of 60. Follow Romy Haag on Twitter.

Below, Romy Haag discusses her relationship with David Bowie.

Romy Haag in 1978 performing her disco single “Superparadise” on the Musikladen TV show. Compare this to “Boys Keep Swinging.” He was basically just copping her act!

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
What LANGUAGE is Mick Jagger singing in here?
03:39 pm


Mick Jagger
Rolling Stones

A YouTuber saw fit to offer a transcript of this amusingly incoherent live Rolling Stones performance from 1976 where Mick Jagger simply refuses to form real words with his mouth.

Name that tune:

“Yah Awa bo anna craw fah huh cay Anna ho alamo in a try ray Buh ah ray ah now yeah and fad is a gay Oh ray now, a jumpin jay flay sa gas gas gah. Ah wa lay bah a toodleh beedeh hay. Ah wa sko wid a strap rahda craws ma bah. Bahda oh ray now en fad is a gay. Buh oh ray now jumpin jah flah sa da ga ga geh “

What freaking made up slurry LANGUAGE is he singing in, anyway? What drugs is he on? I want some!

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Awesome People Hanging Out Together

The site Awesome People Hanging Out Together has rather fine photographs of celebrities from times gone-by just hanging out together.

Here you’ll find William Burroughs having dinner with Andy Warhol and Mick Jagger; Grace Slick and Janis Joplin playing-up for the camera; and the usual suspects backstage at concerts. There are also a couple of fun video clips, including a chat-show meeting between Alfred Hitchcock and James Brown. It’s a bit like Us or Hello! Magazine with a degree in Pop Culture, and you can see more here.

Grace Slick, Janis Joplin
Jack Nicholson, Lauren Bacall, Warren Beatty

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Cal Schenkel’s candid snapshots of Zappa, Beefheart and Jagger in 1968

Frank Zappa and various GTOs
Say what you will about Facebook but the fact that I can befriend life long heroes such as Zappa/Beefheart LP sleeve designer / visual muse Cal Schenkel and get a glimpse of his middle-of-it-all perspective is a wonderful by-product of selling out my privacy to gawd-knows who, really. Cal was gracious and generous enough to allow me to share these marvelous snapshots he took in 1968 at Zappa’s Laurel Canyon compound, known as The Log Cabin which once stood at the corner of Canyons Laurel and Lookout. The basement jam session here was also well documented in John French’s recent book as well as Bill Harkleroad’s Lunar Notes, which I quote here in order to give a small sense of what we’re looking at:

It turns out Frank was trying to put together this Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus thing, which The Stones later put together without him. I don’t know how many Rolling Stones were there at the time, but Mick Jagger certainly was, as were The Who and Marianne Faithfull. She was so ripped she was drooling - but what a babe - I was star struck! It was funny because Jagger really didn’t mean a whole lot to me at that point. I’d played all their tunes in various bands. To me he really wasn’t a signer - he was a “star”. But when I actually met him, all I can remember thinking is, “How could you be a star? You’re too little!” ....I ended up in this jam session in a circle of people about six or seven feet apart and we’re playing Be-Bop-a-Lu-La”! Done was to my immediate left wearing his big madhatter hat and to his immediate left was Mick Jagger and right around the circle all these people were playing, Frank included. So I’m jamming with these guys almost too nervous to be able to move or breathe. I started to ease up after I noticed that Jagger seemed to be equally intimidated. Then we went into Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ & Tumblin’” and a couple of blues things and that was it. It was such a strange experience - somehow just out of nowhere I’m down in Hollywood meeting Frank Zappa and this whole entourage of famous people like Jagger, Marianne Faithful [sic] and Pete Townshend. What an audition! There I was 19 years old and I’m very taken with these big important people.

Don Van Vliet and Mick Jagger
Marianne Faithfull
FZ and Miss Christine
More photos and a link to Cal’s online shop after the jump…

Written by Brad Laner | Discussion
Save the 100 Club - The Fight Continues

The campaign to Save the 100 Club continues apace with support from a host of rock musicians including Mick Jagger, who came out in support of the campaign earlier this month saying:

There’s a real need for these places - they have a connection with the past. And what is important is that you have places where bands can cut their teeth and places of a certain intimacy and size, that new bands can experiment in. There aren’t that many great places in London, or indeed any city, that you can say that about.

Jagger isn’t the only legend offering his support, Ray Davies of The Kinks has said:

Simon Cowell should underwrite the money needed to save the 100 Club, that would be a real payback. The amount of money he takes out of pop music he could put some back in. I’‘m very concerned about the 100 Club, The Kinks played there and it’s such an iconic venue we shouldn’t allow things like that to close down. Everything is being overrun by the chain stores and the conglomerates and it such a pity that the 100 Club has to suffer like that.

Other musicians including Mick Jones and Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie have also spoken out against the possible closure, while Brian Travers from UB40 said:

It feels like live music is being pushed out of our cities to make way for car parks and duplex apartments. You are not on your own, all over the UK small live venues are being closed down. Just last November in Birmingham, the city’s premier live music venue The Rainbow was threatened with closure as well as noise abatement orders because a private property company had built downtown duplex apartments for the upwardly mobile who now don’t like the sound of downtown and wanted to turn it into a haven of peace and tranquility, live music being the first noise they wanted to mute.

This is a much bigger issue than just a noisy musicians being told to turn down the volume, this an all out attack on the UK’s finest export, music. If we are not careful our culture will be irreversibly damaged. As you have quite rightly said pretty soon there will be no where left for young bands to learn their craft.

Steve Diggle from The Buzzcocks said:

The 100 Club is as important as St Paul’s Cathedral!

While Frank Black from The Pixies has pledged £100,000 to the campaign and Liam Gallagher wrote a letter in support saying the 100 Club is “very rock n roll” and that its a shame as he “fancied playing there with the mighty Beady Eye.”

Save the 100 Club organizer, Jim Piddington tells Dangerous Minds that £150k has already been raised, but more is needed if they are to reach the target of £500k. A fund-raising gig is to be held at the venue on Thursday, 25 November, headlined by Specials guitarist Roddy Radiation and the Skabilly Rebels, and a line-up that also includes Chas Hodges, and a selection of “very special guests” who “are also expected to join the bill”.

If interested in attending the gig or in Saving the 100 Club please check details here.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

Save the 100 Club


Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Jerry Hall claims Mick Jagger was a heroin addict in the 70s
07:54 am


Mick Jagger
Jerry Hall

Keith, well we all know about Keith Richards’ appetite for destruction, with a particular emphasis on smack, but Mick, too??? From the NME:

Mick Jagger’s former partner Jerry Hall has claimed that he regularly used heroin in the 1970s.

Hall, who has four children with The Rolling Stones frontman and split with him in 1990, says she managed to wean him off the drug. reports that Hall wrote in her new autobiography: “Mick had told me he took LSD every day for a year in the ‘60s. He also admitted he was smoking heroin. I was disgusted. I told him I couldn’t see him if he took drugs, saying, ‘Go away and don’t come back until you’re straight’. He succeeded – he had amazing will power.”

Jagger himself has previously remained secretive about his use of heroin, denying that the drug was his when it was found by police at his Chelsea home in 1969.

Sir Mick, thus far, has made no comments on Hall’s claims.

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
How Mick Jagger and Keith Richards tried to screw over bandmates on the Windows 95 ads!

Tattoo You? More like “fuck you” if your names happen to be Ronnie, Charlie and Bill!

Business Insider asked former Windows head, Brad Silverberg how he and his team got the Rolling Stones song “Start Me Up” for use in the company’s marketing campaign for Windows 95. What transpired makes for a rather amusing tale:

The Stones are a Corporation, with Mick as CEO, Keith as COO. Their business happens to be music. Those two make decisions. The other band members are essentially employees.

The Stones had not licensed their music for TV commercials. Mick was reluctant to license the song to us because of “artistic purity.” But Keith apparently has a higher burn rate than Mick, or not as good as an investor. He told Mick he could use the money and ultimately convinced Mick to do the deal. At the same time, the Stones were at a low point in their career and looking to become relevant again, and Win 95 looked like it could be a big hit and give them a helpful association and visibility.

The final version of the song was delivered for the commercial. We noticed though that it was not the studio version, but rather a more recently recorded live version. We pushed back and got the familiar studio version. The reason we got the other version was some of the band members in the newer version were more recent, and Mick/Keith got much higher royalties for themselves from that version than the studio one. Nice try. But it was tense till the very end.

Via the essential Bob Lefsetz

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Nicolas Roeg “shatters reality into a thousand pieces”—and turns 81!

Since we at Dangerous Minds have previously found ourselves marveling at his film Performance, it only makes sense to salute the wonderful English filmmaker Nicolas Roeg on this, his 81st birthday.

Check out Steve Rose’s great interview in the Guardian with the oft-aloof and prickly director (from which I paraphrase this post’s title), and for heaven’s sake check out the man’s films. He’s currently working on a screen adaptation of Martin Amis’s book Night Train.

Here’s a cool overview, with five themes spotlighted, by the excellent film video-essayist Hugo Redrose.

Written by Ron Nachmann | Discussion
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