Recollections of Rolling Stones in Bedford concert feature in new book

The Rolling Stones performing in 1964.
The Rolling Stones performing in 1964.

A new book about the career of the Rolling Stones gives a front row perspective on the group’s early live shows and includes memories of their performances in Bedford.

Amongst the shows remembered in You Had To Be There: The Rolling Stones Live 1962 – 69, is the concert which took place at Bedford Granada on January 15, 1964.

The book, written by Richard Houghton and published by Gottahavebooks on October 1, contains more than 500 eyewitness accounts of the band’s very first performances, beginning with pubs and clubs in and around London, across the UK, and culminating in their 1969 Hyde Park show. It also contains previously unreleased photos of the band.

Included in the book are the memories of David Arnold who said: “After the show we made
our way to the back of the venue. I remember the sight of the Stones all being in a
Mini. These screaming girls had surrounded the Mini as they leapt into it and off they went. The Ronettes were signing autographs at the stage door and the Stones were being ripped apart by several enthusiastic girls. One had a trophy of half of a black knitted tie.”

Also there was Derek Edmunds who said: “The Bedford Granada was a premier venue in those days and we saw many new and established acts there. When I saw the Rolling Stones I thought they were absolutely brilliant. My wife had a different opinion and as we left the Granada she said “who were that scruffy bunch? They were awful” to which I replied “I loved them. They will be big one day.”

The publication of You Had To Be There: The Rolling Stones Live 1962 – 69 coincides with the recent announcement of a major Rolling Stones exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London next year. The group have been performing live for more than 50 years and interest in the group’s early days is stronger than ever.

Author Richard Houghton said: “I got the idea for the book last year when I went to see the Rolling Stones perform in Stockholm. Mick Jagger was about to turn 71 and it occurred to me that many of the people who saw the Stones when they were starting out would be of a similar vintage. Fifty years ago they were teenagers and I thought it would be good to capture those memories of the early Stones shows before they fade.”

He added: “This book is not just about the Rolling Stones. It’s also a window on the past, a look at what it was like to grow up in 1960’s Britain. Teenagers hadn’t really been invented until the Rolling Stones came along and they played a part in opening many people’s eyes to what was possible. The Stones helped to make the Sixties swing.

“I’ve been lucky enough to capture some great anecdotes of people who saw the Stones on their journey to stardom. They started out as a group of rhythm and blues aficionados sometimes playing to a handful of people in a pub and became the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world.”

Richard did not see the Rolling Stones live in the 1960s himself, although his mum did take him to see The Beatles. He was four years old, and the Fab Four are the subject of his next book.

He said: “I’d love to hear the memories of anyone who saw The Beatles in the 1960s, because they set the entertainment world alight when they came along and there will be lots of people out there who heard them or saw them and just thought wow.” You can share your Beatle memories with Richard on

You Had To Be There: The Rolling Stones Live 1962 – 69 can be ordered from and

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