Dec 5, 1968: Stones Throw Beggars Banquet Bash

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Sometimes “those were the days” isn’t just mushy sentiment but an acknowledgement that certain aspects of life in the past were, well… let’s just say a gas, gas, gas. Back in the days when a bunch of people and then even more bunches of people spent their hard-earned money on recorded music, the record industry would take some of the dough it was raking in and throw some quite wonderful parties.

The December 5, 1968, release bash that the Rolling Stones enjoyed for Beggars Banquet was certainly of the sort that Swinging London in the late 1960s knew how to excel at. The original notion was to rent out the Tower of London for its site. Now that would have been quite the bash.

Instead, the grand Gore Hotel, near neighbor of the Royal Albert Hall, a hop, skip and jump from Hyde Park, was just the sort of place where the Stones could party in a style to which they had grown accustomed. One of its bars had an Elizabethan atmosphere where the band could dress as the beggars and bourgeoisie of an earlier era among their guests and friends and indulge in a seven-course meal served by bosomy wenches.

Related: The London bar scene of the early Stones

The meal was capped, in the frequently insouciant Rolling Stones way, by a pie fight. Alas, Keith Richards took ill that evening and was not able to join in the revelry and debauchery.

The album was the Stones’ third straight release to peak at #3 on the U.K. charts and only reached #5 in the U.S., a somewhat dismal showing. Of its two singles, “Street Fighting Man” didn’t chart in the U.K. and peaked at just #48 in the U.S. The follow-up, “Sympathy for the Devil,” failed to chart.

Related: Our review of 2018’s Beggars Banquet 50th anniversary edition

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