1965 NME Concert Dream Lineup: Beatles, Stones, Kinks + more

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"You Really Got Me"

Ray Davies and Dave Davies at the 1965 NME concert

We all have our idea of what would constitute a dream concert, and if you were a British teen in 1965—or an adult today who happens to know where to find a good time machine—yours might go something like this: First, you’d book the Rolling Stones as one of your opening acts, performing some rhythm and blues favorites like Otis Redding’s “Pain in My Heart” and Solomon Burke’s “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” (beginning at the 34:40 mark, in the video below).

You’d also invite some of the currently happening bands like the Moody Blues (who begin the concert), the soulful Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames and Herman’s Hermits (at the 21:10 mark).

The Stones during their set

For the second half of your fantasy concert, you’d get serious, bringing on the heavyweights: the SearchersThem (featuring that dynamic singer Van Morrison, beginning at 51:40) and the Animals, (at the 1:00:05 mark), along with a couple of the best solo artists the U.K. has to offer: Dusty Springfield and the young folk singer from Scotland, Donovan.

And, of course, the Beatles, singing some of their recent hits like “I Feel Fine” and “Ticket to Ride” before closing out their five-song set with Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally.” And then you’d have the Kinks follow them, singing “You Really Got Me” (at the 1:29:45 mark).

If only, right?

Well, if you were at London’s Wembley Empire Pool on April 11, 1965, you wouldn’t have to dream; you could have witnessed that very concert, filled out with other current faves like Cilla Black, Freddie and the Dreamers (at the 9:20 mark), folk-rockers the Seekers (at 16:30), Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, Donovan, (at the 45:08 mark), and more.

Each year, beginning in 1953, the British music weekly NME (New Musical Express) polled its readers on the best of the year. The winners were then invited to perform for the people and, at the height of the British Invasion, that meant the Beatles, Stones, Animals, Kinks, etc.

You might think that a concert featuring so many future classic rock acts would last for a week, but in those days it was all about running on stage, playing a few hits and beating a hasty retreat. The entire show—presented here in black and white, of course—took about two hours from start to finish.

Our Classic Video also includes live performances of the Moody Blues’ “Go Now,” Herman’s Hermits’ “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter,” the Stones’ “The Last Time,” Donovan’s “Catch the Wind” and Them’s “Here Comes the Night.” Whew!

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Many of the acts that played at this event are still performing today: 100s of classic rock tour listings.

Best Classic Bands Staff

6 Comments so far

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  1. LABriton
    #1 LABriton 22 December, 2017, 03:11

    This is perhaps the best 60s live concert with an incredible line up. Music is all live and the sound is surprisingly good, actually great. I will be watching this almost as often as Katy Perry’s “Roar”

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  2. Ed Sullivan
    #2 Ed Sullivan 17 April, 2018, 10:00

    Wow! This really is a time machine! Great seeing all the hit-makers from 1965. Although the modern video gimmickery is a bit distracting, the sound is surprisingly good.

    Reply this comment
  3. Steve
    #3 Steve 11 April, 2019, 11:08

    THANK YOU. Brings joyous tears to my eyes as I listen and go back in time.

    Reply this comment
  4. mick62
    #4 mick62 12 April, 2022, 09:12

    Wonderful. Truly marvellous.

    Reply this comment
    #5 ROBERT 11 April, 2023, 17:18

    The 1966 NME show was even better with the Yardbirds and the Who. Too bad no one filmed it.

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