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May 20th, 1965: The Rolling Stones perform on The Ed Sullivan Show

The Rolling Stones perform on The Ed Sullivan Show

The events we write about at Gaslight Records happened in some form or another 50 years ago to the day. Roll along with us and imagine you are back in 1969.

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On May 2nd, 1965, The Rolling Stones performed on CBS's The Ed Sullivan Show for the second time.

On their first visit, on October 25th, 1964, The Stones had played two covers: Chuck Berry's "Around & Around" and Jerry Ragovoy's "Time Is On My Side". According to The Ed Sullivan Show's website, constant screaming from the audience accompanied the band's entire performance and continued long after they had finished. Sullivan appeared to be so inpatient with the screaming, while trying to introduce the next act, that he had to tell the audience to be "Quiet!" several times.

The Rolling Stones first appearance on The Ed Sullivan show, October 1964.

Following the episode, Sullivan reportedly said of The Rolling Stones, "I promise you they'll never be back on our show. It took me 17 years to build this show and I'm not going to have it destroyed in a matter of weeks."

The Stones management fought the ban from the show and received a response from Sullivan saying, "We were deluged with mail protesting the untidy appearance--clothes and hair of your Rolling Stones. Before even discussing the possibility of a contract, I would like to learn from you, whether your young men have reformed in the matter of dress and shampoo."

The Stones opened their set on May 2nd, 1965 with their recent single, "The Last Time", notably the first performance of a Jagger/Richards original on the show. A blues standard entitled "Little Red Rooster" followed, and then, "Someone To Love".

The Ed Sullivan Show's website recounts that the second time around "The audience, while still raucous and enthusiastic, was far more tame for the band’s second appearance--as were The Stones themselves, who spruced up for the show, even donning sports jackets to help clean up their image."

The Rolling Stones performing "The Last Time" on the Ed Sullivan Show in May 1965.

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