The Stones Roll Through Dayton!

Bill Wyman plays his [bass] guitar at Hara Arena.

Bill Wyman plays his [bass] guitar at Hara Arena.

Just a few weeks ago, the Rolling Stones announced a North American Tour which will roll though Ohio with a stop in Columbus on May 30th.   Sell-out crowds are expected as they always are at Stones’ concerts, as the band usually puts on one of the highest grossing tours of a particular season.

It is certain the Stones would never bother with the City of Dayton these days; however, as a fan of this city and the band, I find it fascinating that 50 years ago they played here on two separate occasions, on two different U.S. tours.

Though I am not sure of the source of the following quote, I have seen it on numerous sites and it is attributed to Keith Richards.  Regarding playing towns in the Midwest on their early tours, Richards said:

The first time we arrived there, the only people to meet us off the plane were 12 motorcycle cops…we get to the auditorium and there’s 600 people there in a 15 000-seat hall. But we had a good time. That’s what stopped us from turning into pop stars then… Then we really had to work America and it really got the band together… Some towns you went into on that first tour they’d look at you with a look that could kill.

The band’s experience in Dayton may have been similar to the description above as the following Dayton Daily News articles and images suggest. The images of the band in this post were taken at their first show in Dayton, November 13, 1964.  The articles chronicle both Hara Arena shows, the 1964 performance and when the band returned a year later on November 27, 1965 with a few more hit singles and a larger crowd.  Evidently, not a fan of Rock music, one of the 1964 show’s reviewers, Gee Mitchell, mocks the band’s devotees and the group’s inability to attract a large crowd.  You may remember Gee Mitchell’s snarky critique of Elvis’s 1956 performance in Dayton in a previous blog post.

Interestingly, one of the opening bands at the Stones’ first Dayton show at Hara Arena was Ivan and the Sabers.   The Sabers were a very popular local rock and roll act.  Last year, Ivan Browne, lead singer of the Sabers, who later went on to front a band called the Lemon Pipers, donated some of his memorabilia to Special Collections & Archives.  Stay tuned for an upcoming blog-post on Ivan and the Sabers on our Out of the Box blog.  To see what’s in the Ivan and the Sabers Collection visit the collection’s finding aid here:

Captions for the images in this post were all taken verbatim from the backs of the photographs.


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