Brian Jones performs w/ The Rolling Stones @ Atlantic City 1966

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sad, sad news. We received word on Sunday that Tom Sheehy, aka The Colonel — longtime Philly music publicist/scenester/historian, storied music biz vet, barroom philosopher, perennial guest list fixture, late-blooming recipient of a P.H.D. in 20th Century American History from Penn, colonel in the ‘MMaRmy, and frequent Phawker contributor — passed away this weekend. This week we will honor his memory by re-posting some of his greatest Phawker hits. Today we’re re-posting The Colonel’s 2011 remembrance of seeing The Rolling Stones at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City in 1966. MORE

Dear Jonathan,

I trust all is well.

I usually listen to Aftermath every July 1st to commemorate the day I saw The Rolling Stones play Atlantic City at Steel Pier in 1966. Tours were not “branded” in those days. If they had been, it would have been called: “The Aftermath Tour” because that was the album they were touring in The-Rolling-Stones-1966-Tour-Programme-15support of that summer. The Stones played Convention Hall at Asbury Park, New Jersey that Sunday, July 3rd. I didn’t see that show, but another teenage Stones fan named Bruce Springsteen saw the Stones that day for the first time. The first time I saw the Rolling Stones was in 1965, a full year before Springsteen saw ’em. The Boss may be older than me, but he ain’t got shit on me when it comes to The Rolling Stones! I always recall the events of that day, so that I can further burn them to memory just in case my brain cells start to die.

When I left Philly with my crew, I was loaded with cash. I had nearly $10.00 on me !!! Round trip bus fare was $5.00. Admission to Steel Pier, to see the Stones perform THREE shows that day was $1.90. I know I must have swallowed a few hot dogs with soda, and I came home with some dough still left in my pocket. The Stones played in the ballroom on the pier. Same place where where Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey played back in the 1940s. It was general admission, so me and my friends got there early, and right in front of Brian Jones; I actually touched the back of his jacket that day. I also saw that it was Brian, not Keith, who played that lead riff on “The Last Time.” And I will always remember when Brian sat down on a chair, picked up this weird looking instrument called a dulcimer, which he played with a hawk feather, when the Stones performed “Lady Jane.”

On July 2nd, I celebrate America’s independence, because that was the day in 1776 when the thirteen American colonies as represented by their several delegates, voted to break all ties with His Majesty George III. As the delegate from Massachusetts, John Adams wrote to his wife: “This day will be celebrated for years to come with parades, and fireworks from one coast to the other.” (That was also the first recorded utterance of the United States of America envisioned as a continental nation; long before Lewis & Clark).

On July 3rd, I usually recall the passing of Brian Jones. Had he survived, The founder of the band that changed my life would have reached 69 years on Sunday.

Declaration_Of_Independence.jpgOn July 4th, I usually tell people that “The 4th of July” is the biggest mistake in American history. The delegates voted for independence on the 2nd of July, however when they sent the document stating said independence over to John Dunlap, the printer on Chestnut street, the paper was undated. By the time Dunlap got to the printing order (picture a busy Kinkos) it was July 4, 1776. Hence, Dunlap placed “July 4, 1776” on the declaration. The existence of the document and the status of American independence was not announced until July the 8th, when on that date, twelve horsemen left 5th and Chestnut for the other colonies, so that the document which Dunlap printed, could be read allowed to the populace, as it was read to the citizens of Philadelphia in the court yard of the State House (now referenced as Independence Hall) early that morning.

On July 5th, I usually recall Hyde Park in July of 1969. The Rolling Stones had scheduled their first live performance in almost a year — which back then, was an astonishingly long time for a working band to go dark. This occasion was also the introduction to Londoners to the new guitarist, Mick Taylor, who was tapped from John Mayall’s band, after the firing of Brian Jones. However, that concert soon became a memorial for Brian, who drown to death under mysterious circumstances two day’s prior. There was no rock press to speak of in July of 1969 and there was no Internet. However, I had befriended one of the biggest Stones fans in London as a “pen pal” and she not only wrote to me straight way, but included B&W photos of the gig now didn’t she.

As a historian, I usually look forward to the beginning of July, for those first eight days of the month are so rich in Buddy.JPGhistory, both musical and political. However, I did not listen to Aftermath last Friday. I’d planned on doing so after I took my puppy Buddy [pictured, right] for a walk. I haven’t even thought of the Stones or  America until today, because last Friday evening at about 8:15pm, Buddy was attacked by a vicious dog. I was in the hospital with him until 3 AM on Saturday and I’m lucky that he has survived. And since that time, I have not only been dealing with veterinarians, but Philadelphia Police, and the SPCA as well.

I am telling you all of this, because I do not know if you had made any arrangements for me to cover Kid Cudi @ The Mann on Thursday or not, but because of the events of the last five days, I will not be able to go.



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