ROLLING STONES POLICE TARGETS > WE’LL SHOW YOU LONG-HAIRED UPSTARTS A THING OR TWO
“We are not old men and we’re not worried about petty morals”
> A defiant Keith Richards in court on drug charges
“The (prison) food is awful. The wine list is terribly limited and the library is abysmal.”
> Keith Richards, 1967
ABOUT 20 police officers descended on Keith Richards’ recently purchased Redlands country estate in Sussex late afternoon on February 12, 1967.
Among his guests were Mick Jagger, Jagger’s girlfriend singer Marianne Faithful, hip art dealer Robert Fraser and one David Schneidermann > known as the Acid King because he carried around an attache case of illegal substances, including LSD, the rock stars’ drug of choice in this the flower power era.
The Beatles’ George Harrison and his partner Patti Boyd were also there, but had left before the police arrived.
Jagger and Richards faced drug charges as a result, but probably nowhere near the severity the police had hoped for > Jagger for possessing four amphetamine tablets and Richards for allowing marijuana to be smoked on his property. It was art dealer Fraser who faced the more serious charge of heroin possession.
The raid made headlines around the world, including revelations later in court about Marianne Faithfull being wrapped naked in a fur rug.
The raid was of particular interest to London’s News of the World newspaper, which was being sued by Jagger after it published a story accusing him of taking LSD.
The newspaper mysteriously published details of the Redlands arrests before a police public announcement was made.
THE LEGEND OF THE VAGINA AND MICK MUNCHING ON A MARS BAR
AFTER the police drugs raid on the Rolling Stones at Keith Richards’ Redlands mansion, rumours circulated that police had interrupted Mick Jagger chewing on a Mars Bar inserted in girlfriend Marianna Faithfull’s vagina.
But police reported no sexual activity apart from Faithfull being wrapped nude underneath a blanket.
Marianne Faithfull writes in her biography: “The Mars Bar is a very effective piece of demonizing. It was so overdone > with such malicious twisting of the facts. Mick retrieving a Mars Bar from my vagina, indeed! It’s a dirty old man’s fantasy – some old fart who goes to a dominatrix every Thursday. A cop’s idea of what people do on acid.”
WHAT A COINCIDENCE > ANOTHER STONES DRUG BUST SAME DAY AS JAGGER/RICHARDS COURT APPEAL
Jagger, Richards and Fraser faced a court hearing on May 10 and a trial date was set.
That evening 12 police executed a raid on Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones’ flat in London’s South Kensington.
He and friend Prince Stanislaus Klossowski, of Switzerland, faced cannabis charges.
ON TRIAL > THE STONES ARE BAD – DRUGS ARE BAD
Jagger, Richards and Fraser arrived in a plush Bentley at Chichester Court on Tuesday, June 27, for their date with drug destiny.
Fraser was the first to stand trial, pleaded guilty and was remanded in custody. Jagger was next up and it took a jury just a few minutes to find him guilty. He was also remanded in custody. His defence team had argued that the tablets in his possession were little more than prescription drugs used for tiredness.
The next day Jagger and Fraser arrived at court handcuffed and waited in a cell as Richards faced the wrath of the British chattering classes.
Surprise, surprise … he was also found guilty > after a day and half of evidence and testimony which included claims News of the World had organised a person as a plant at the Redlands party and that police were given a tip-off through News of the World.
The chief suspect is Acid King Schneidermann, who despite his bag of illegal drugs and presence at Redlands during the police raid, failed to face charges. He made himself scarce soon after.
Judge Leslie Block sentenced Richards to 12 months jail > his case not helped by Richards telling the court: “We are not old men and we are not worried about petty morals”.
Jagger copped three months jail and Fraser six months. Jagger was that night sent to Brixton prison and the other two to Wormwood Scrubs prison.
SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVILS > PUSH TO FREE THE STONED
The harsh sentences caused a storm of protest > including 200 people outside Fleet Street newspaper offices chanting “free the Stones’’.
British rock band The Who recorded Rolling Stones songs The Last Time and Under My Thumb as a show of support and vowed to continue to record Stones songs as they languished in jail.
Of more importance in swaying opinion was an editorial in the ultra-conservative London newspaper The Times by editor William Rees-Mogg. He argued the case that Jagger > despite “the new hedonism” that was in conflict with “the sound traditional values” of Britain > should be treated the same as everyone else when it came to justice. Poor Keith failed to get a mention!!
BACK IN COURT
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were granted bail and released on appeal. On July 31 a court quashed Keith’s conviction and upheld Jagger’s > but quashed his sentence. No such luck for art dealer Fraser, who had to serve his sentence.
Guitarist Brian Jones faced court several months later and pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis and permitting his premises to be used for smoking of said drug. He was sentenced to three months jail on the first charge and nine months for the second.
Jones was refused bail and sent to Wormwood Scrubs prison where he spent the next 24 hours > before being freed on bail in a High Court appeal.
In December Jones had his sentence reduced to three years probation and was ordered to seek drug treatment.
KEITH RICHARDS ON THE ROLLING STONES DRUG BUSTS
“There was a realisation that the powers that be actually looked upon us as important enough to make a big statement and to wield the hammer. But they’d also made us more important than we every blood well were in the first place”
“Up until then it had been as though London existed in a beautiful space where you could do anything you wanted.’’
> quotes from the book According to the Rolling Stones.
* Some source material from the book Rolling with the Stones by bass player Bill Wyman.