In recent years, The Rolling Stones have celebrated Charlie Watt’s first gig in Ealing. Both the date (12th Jan 1963) and location (Ealing) have become engrained in the bands history as the day that Charlie, known as ‘The Heartbeat of the Band’, officially joined the group.
The First Gig of The Rolling Stones?
Can Ealing now claim to be the place where the Rolling Stones first legendary line-up, performed its inaugural gig in Jan 1963? Charlie Watts was the last person to join up with Mick, Keith, Brian, Bill and keyboardist Ian Stewart.
Since March 1962, the future members of the Rolling Stones had been mingling at Keith Richard’s favourite ‘Rhythm & Blues’ club in Ealing, rubbing shoulders with other Blues fanatics who were ‘cutting their teeth’ and performing in front of audiences for the first time (more details here). In March 1962, Blues Incorporated had launched the so-called British RHYTHM and BLUES movement that would later take root at The MARQUEE JAZZ CLUB in central London.
In fact, Rolling Stones legend always states that the 12th July 1962 was the first ever Rolling Stones gig. (but the band were yet to establish their definitive drummer and bassist)
Ealing (capacity 200) would be a springboard for other’ Blues based electric guitar’ bands such as Manfred Mann, The Who and The Birds that would make a mark on the Marquee Club (capacity 700). Countless others would pass through Ealing’s doors and play: Jack Bruce & Ginger Baker as members of both Blues Incorporated and Graham Bond Organisation. Eric Clapton and even a young David Bowie have stated that they attended the Ealing venue, along with countless other future music legends.
The Demise of Small Venues & LIVE MUSIC: The demise of THE MARQUEE Club in London may have been the first indication that LIVE MUSIC in small venues needed a boost. Small venues ensure that new performers gain confidence to help them grow into larger venues. During 2015, some ‘movers & shakers’ started to review action that could be taken to assure a sustainable future for countless small live music venues in London & beyond: (See Ealing on The London Map)
FAST FORWARD…… 2018 & 19……
The Ealing Club Community Interest Company continues to organise gigs at the original venue (‘The Cradle of British Rock Music’) and other forgotten spaces across Ealing in an attempt to create ‘sustainable’ music opportunities for the future. The Ealing Eclectic Music Space Project has been backed by The Arts Council of England to highlight forgotten spaces across Ealing through live music. Please sign up to our twitter/facebook and newsletter to keep up with events.
SUBURBAN STEPS TO ROCKLAND – The story of the Ealing Club
In 2018, this new feature film documentary by premiered at film festivals in London, Barcelona and Liverpool and saw promo in Amsterdam and it has already caught the interest of some TV executives in the UK.
In 2019, we hope to see the worldwide distribution that will finance the music licensing for all those songs that have already been enjoyed by some great audiences.
Please go and enjoy the two minute promo clip at
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