On this date in 1969, the Rolling Stones played one of their most iconic shows and it was free in front of a massive crowd at London’s Hyde Park.
The Stones had taken two years off the road, and they thought there was no better way to break in their new guitar player Mick Taylor, than to throw him in this massive fire. The Stones may have chosen someone else if they had a ton of time to decide. But they only had a month or so before the Hyde Park gig, so they had to make a quick decision.
The band was dealing with Brian Jones decreasing output and eventual firing, working on their next album Let It Bleed, hiring Taylor and rushing a song to be released before the Hyde Park gig with “Honky Tonk Women.” Then Jagger with crippling allergies and laryngitis right up to the show. Not to mention the whole band was emotionally drained, and Jagger was worried that the Brian Jones fans wouldn’t like their new guitarist.
The Hyde Park show was huge, but the Stones weren’t on their A-game musically. Add in the fact that Brian Jones, their co-founding member, who was no longer in the band, had died two days earlier.
Mick Jagger walked up onstage alone, before the Stones joined him and read a poem, and then released hundreds of white butterflies into the air.
Jagger thought the Stones wouldn’t match the 150,000 that showed up for Blind Faith’s first concert…but some estimates say, 500,000 were in attendance.