The Stones Busted

This week sees the 52nd anniversary of the first big British rock'n'roll drug bust – 12th February 1967…


The scene: Rolling Stone Keith Richards' country manor Redlands. The players: Mick Jagger, Keith, gallery owner Robert Fraser, 24 heroin ‘jacks’, a lump of hash, some uppers, 15 cops and Marianne Faithfull wrapped in a fur rug

The tabloids had an orgasm. 

Legend has it that the cops waited for George Harrison of those nice Beatles to leave the premises before the bust went ahead.

Editor of The Times William Rees Mogg (father of current Tory MP Jacob) looked to Alexander Pope in his reaction to the (brief) incarceration of Jagger and Richards by writing his famous editorial under the headline Who Breaks A Butterfly On A Wheel?



The tale of gallery owner Robert Fraser, the "third man" in the bust, is something less celebrated than that of the errant Stones. Fraser, an Old Etonian and ex-officer in the King's African Rifles, was one of the most influential figures of swinging London. He put the work of Rene Magritte before Paul McCartney, inspiring the design of the Apple logo and also suggested Peter Blake as designer of the Sgt Pepper sleeve. For his part in the drugs bust he was sentenced to six months.

His story is told in Harriet Vyner's excellent book Groovy Bob.





With Mick and Keith facing custodial sentences, in a show of solidarity, The Who recorded two Stones tracks…





Here's The Who's take on The Last Time…



And here's the Stones' own response to the whole ordeal, the single We Love You, with a video featuring Jagger as Oscar Wilde and Marianne Faithfull (Mick's then girlfriend) as Bosie…




When the convictions were finally overturned at the end of July '67, Jagger appeared on ITV's World In Action to debate the drug culture with The Bishop of Woolwich and the editor of The Times…




And here's Ep.1 of my book vlog My Back Pages by Andrew Loog Oldham which features my favourite account of the bust…







My scheduled London Music Tours in Feb/March: www.londonmusictours.co.uk/2019/01/febmarch2019.html



londonmusictour@gmail.com


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