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October 11, 2014

Rare Color Photographs of The Rolling Stones Free Concert at Hyde Park in 1969

On July 5, 1969, before Woodstock and the summer of love, the Rolling Stones played to over 250,000 people in Hyde Park, for free, with a collection of other bands, in an event which helped to define UK youth culture in the late 1960s.

The festival was an important one for the Stones. They had not performed a public concert since their 1967 European Tour, and in 1968 had only performed at the NME Poll Winners Concert.

However, the growing estrangement of founding member Brian Jones, along with his increasing drug and alcohol dependency, led to the decision to part ways with him. Jones died on 3 July, two days before the festival. The Stones were in Olympic Studios when they were told of his death by Ian Stewart, and, although grief-stricken, decided they would go ahead with the gig and dedicate their performance to him. Keith Richards later wrote:
"The all-important thing for us was it was our first appearance for a long time, and with a change of personnel. It was Mick Taylor's first gig. We were going to do it anyway. Obviously a statement had to be made of one kind or another, so we turned it into a memorial for Brian. We wanted to see him off in grand style. The ups and downs with the guy are one thing, but when his time's over, release the doves, or in this case the sackfuls of white butterflies."


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