The Price Of Fame: Rolling Stones Tickets Then And Now

The ticket prices for the latest Rolling Stones concert tour have some fans feeling like they can't get what they want. NPR's All Things Considered looks back to the Rolling Stones' first concert in London's Marquee club in 1962 to hear about the vibe and the much-lower price tag.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

While Radio Liberty struggles to reinvent itself, this week brought a big announcement from a group that has dominated the radio for half a century.

SIR MICK JAGGER: Soon we'll be back on stage playing for you in two cities that know how to rock and roll.

SIEGEL: That's the Rolling Stones announcing a new concert tour to celebrate their 50th anniversary. They've scheduled four shows so far, starting next month, two in Newark, New Jersey and two in their hometown of London.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

But before you reach for your wallet, consider yourself warned. Those Stones tickets are going to cost you a pretty pence. The cheapest seats in London are 106 pounds each. That's around 170 U.S. dollars for a nosebleed seat.

SIEGEL: Tickets for the American show start at $120 and the price goes up, way up, from there.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BLOCK: Well, those prices got us thinking about how far the Rolling Stones have come since selling their very first ticket to their very first show.

CHRISTOPHER SANDFORD: July the 12th, 1962 and it was held at the Marquee Club in Oxford Street in London.

BLOCK: That's Rolling Stones biographer, Christopher Sandford.

SANDFORD: It was a smoky dark room with about 110 people. The ambient smell was one of stale beer and body odor. So it was a subterranean smoky kind of a feel and a very different atmosphere from the vast scrubbed stages that the Stones are playing on now, of course.

SIEGEL: And the cost of a ticket to take in a bit of that body odor and see some new young band called the Rollin' Stones...

BLOCK: And that is Rollin' with an apostrophe, they didn't add the G until later.

SIEGEL: The cost 4 bob for members, that's 4 shillings or just under $6 today.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BLOCK: Biographer Christopher Sandford says it's amazing that the Stones are still together, but will he be among the fans clamoring for a golden ticket?

SANDFORD: The answer is sadly, no. However, I do remain open for offers should anyone insist that I attend. I'd certainly be amenable. But no, it's beyond the pay grade of a mere jobbing author, I'm afraid.

SIEGEL: So music lesson of the day, the best things in life are free.

BLOCK: The Stones at 50, definitely not.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.