An Editor's Letter From The NME Archive: The Booking Of The Beatles And The 'Insignificant' Rolling Stones
By NME Blog
Posted on 01 Oct 14
It's unlikely you'd describe The Rolling Stones as an "insignificant group" nowadays, isn't it? But the folks at The SSE Arena (formerly Wembley Arena) have sent us a fascinating document of pop's history, which you can see below: it's a letter from former NME executive Maurice Kinn, who was locked in negotiations with The Beatles' management team over NME's 1964 Poll Winners Party.
The Beatles wanted to close the show; Kinn worried that their presence would cause a mass scrum. And so they thrashed out a deal for the Fab Four to appear earlier in the programme. "Dear John," it says. "Just a note to tell you I have spoken to Brian Epstein this morning. He has agreed for The Beatles to appear prior to the presentation of the Poll Awards, so I will get one of the insignificant groups to close the bill."
And who would that insignificant group be? Step forward, Mick Jagger and co, who's performance – according to NME at the time – could "hardly be heard above the shouts". It was the only time they ever shared a bill with The Beatles.
The Rolling Stones (in a never before published picture) in April 1964 at the NME Poll Winners Concert at Wembley Empire. From left to right: Mick Jagger, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, the late Brian Jones and Keith Richards Photo: John Chilton
Oh, and Kinn's plan didn't go all-too smoothly, either: he got his wish with The Beatles being whisked away before the end of the concert, but he and John Lennon also came to blows as a result. And for more on The Beatles v The Stones' rivalry, see our gallery of pop's biggest feuds here.