Many years ago a young lad stood among the crowd at a ballroom - that's what
they used to call them in those days - not a million miles from Welwyn Hatfield
and witnessed a phenomenon that was about to change the face of popular music.
Before him, pounding out a bassy bluesy ear-splitting set, were five young men in leather waistcoats and white shirts.
He didn't have to be genius to know that this was something special. It was completely different from anything that had gone before at a venue that had featured most of the top names in the music world.
The Rolling Stones on stage at the California 1964
The Cali' as this was known was run by the Green family, and they had a happy knack of being able to book the big acts, often signing them at a time when they were virtually unknown, only for them to be in the big time when they made their Cali appearance.
The Rolling Stones
So it was that on that particular earth-shattering night, hundreds of
us stood and watched in awe as a group who had just released their first
single on to the market showed us why the rock world was beginning to
take a lot of notice of them.
By now you will have realised that the group was called the Rolling Stones.
Messrs. Jagger, Jones, Richards, Watts and Wyman hit us with a noise that was louder than I had ever heard before. They didn't move about a lot in those days, they more or less just stood there and blasted out a string of numbers with such power that the floor of the old Cali was vibrating like never before. Not many people were dancing - most just stood and watched and wondered about what was happening.
Jagger in full flight at the California
Memories: earliest memories of the ‘Cali’ (July 63) was watching the Stones uniformed in blue tabs and leather waistcoats playing 2nd bill to Russ Sainty and the Nu-notes. Bill Wyman had a string break on his homemade bass and with Bill’s upright style this whirred around his head for the rest of the set.
Mr. Green had re- booked them 2 weeks later, still 2nd on Bill to Russ Sainty but both groups played the big stage. We used to dance in groups then and Jagger and Jones (both out of uniform) came onto the floor near the end of the evening and offered some of the girls a lift home - and I guess more if anyone had accepted
Contributed by Alan L