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Interview

RICHARD HOUGHTON p4

Richard Houghton tells how he started collecting stories for his book about the fans of The Rolling Stones formed in Dartford, Kent in 1962, and the society of 1962-66.

READERSVOICE.COM: When did you start collecting stories from the people going to The Rolling Stones concerts?

RICHARD HOUGHTON: I had the idea for the book about six months ago. But I went to see the band play on their 14 On Fire tour in Stockholm and realised then that time was of the essence. The 50th anniversary since the band was first formed has already been and gone and so has the 50th anniversary of them first performing live, first performing on TV and so on. From a marketing of the book point of view, therefore, lots of landmarks have already been passed. But more importantly, and what prompted me to write the book, was realising that the band won’t be around for ever and neither will the fans who were teenagers fifty years ago. Someone needs to document those memories while people are still around to tell them and it doesn’t look as though anyone else has thought to do it so I might as well get on with it.

RV: You’ve been to about 20 Rolling Stones concerts. When was the first one and where else have you seen them?

RH: The first time I saw them was in Rotterdam in 1982 at the Feyernoord football stadium. These days big concerts are announced months in advance and tour dates all announced together, but back then there were rumours of UK shows but nothing had been confirmed. So off I went to the Netherlands in case that was the only chance I was going to get to see them. But then they announced some British dates and I ended up going to see them at Wembley Stadium, at Bristol and at Roundhay Park in Leeds, where they ended their European tour in front of 120,000 people on the day before Mick Jagger’s 40th birthday. Everyone thought then that that could be the last time. Since then I’ve been to the USA and Sweden to see them, but mainly I’ve seen them play shows in London, including one of Hyde Park concerts they played last summer.

RV: Do you have a schedule planned for various stages of the book and if so can you break it down to what stages you aim or aimed to reach?

RH: Because the book is a history of the Stones told in the first person by the people who saw them, it is chronological. I’m still receiving material from people who have some great anecdotes to tell and so I’m slotting these in, and editing them, as I go along. I plan to publish next summer.

RV: What do you remember about life in 1962-66 and the Stones then?

RH: Not a great deal! I was born in 1960 and have no memory of the Stones in that decade. The earliest memory I have of the band is them playing Brown Sugar on BBC television in 1971, with Mick Jagger strutting his stuff on Top of the Pops, which was the only music show on television and one that kids up and down the land tuned in to watch. My mum did take me to see the Beatles in 1964 (when I was four years old) but I have no particular memory of it.

– Anyone who saw The Rolling Stones from 1962-66 can contact Richard Houghton at richardmhoughton@gmail.com or 32, Manor Avenue, Preston PR2 8DN.
– Follow Richard Houghton on Twitter @stonesinthe60s, or The Rolling Stones in the 1960s on Facebook to find out more about his book about the Rolling Stones.
– Copyright Simon Sandall.