In All Down The Line – A People’s History of the Rolling Stones 1972 North American Tour, over 300 fans look back 50 years at the most infamous tour in rock ‘n’ roll history.
1972 saw the Rolling Stones performing on American soil for the first time since the stabbing of a fan by Hell’s Angels at Altamont three years earlier. The Beatles having split up – and with Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison all dead – in 1972 the Stones embodied what was left of Sixties counter culture. The United States was coming to terms with 1970’s Kent State massacre and grappling with the Vietnam War, the draft and the civil rights movement. So it was that the Stones played 51 shows in 32 cities in 54 days to promote their new album, Exile on Main St.
With a groundbreaking new stage show and a hit-filled setlist, demand for tickets was high and the tour a sell-out. But the Stones and their fans found themselves going head-to-head with the authorities from the outset. Concerts were marked by crowd riots in the clamour for tickets and there were drug busts and tear gassings as a result of over-zealous cops. And in Rhode Island, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wound up in police custody after an altercation with a photographer while miles away in Boston a full house waited expectantly for them to appear on stage.
This is the story of the 1972 tour as it’s never been told before, with eyewitness accounts from opening night in Vancouver to tour finale (and Mick Jagger’s 29th birthday) at Madison Square Garden.