‘If you can’t rock me -somebody will…’
March 4th, 1977. The Rolling Stones surprised many fans and people alike by doing a small club act in Toronto. The performance was also to be part of a live album they were recording titled; Love You Live. For Montreal music fans, witnessing local favorites April Wine as the opening act; a double bill to drool over.
Just weeks earlier – Keith Richards was arrested for heroin possession with the intent of trafficking. A real threat to The Stones’ guitarist spending perhaps life in prison and in essence; the potential end of The Rolling Stones.
Thankfully with the help of Richards’ ‘blind angel’ ( a girl from Quebec city named Rita Bedard) and a fair judge, Richards was allowed to continue his work with the band and The El Mocambo show must go on.
Judge Graburn agreed, deeming: “No incarceration or fine would be appropriate because of Mr. Richards’ continuing treatment for drug addiction and his long-term benefit to the community.”
Richards was given a one-year suspended sentence, one years’ probation, and was ordered to give a special performance at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. There was some speculation that the court’s leniency amounted to preferential treatment, but Prosecutor, Paul Kennedy, didn’t seem to object: “If you get a member of the Rolling Stones off heroin” he said, “you’ve done some good.”
Gary Moffett of April Wine fame came away from the entire experience with a new found respect for Keith Richards.
” We finished sound check and were back in our dressing room when I realized I had forgot my jacket on stage.’ Recalls Gary. “The door was closed and I heard a guitar being played from inside the room.Whoever it was – I did not want to disturb them so I quietly opened the door to peak in.’
‘Keith was sitting on top of his amp and playing this beautiful arrangement. It was one of the most beautiful sounds I have heard. It was coming directly from the man’s heart. I stood there as quiet as could be and watched and listened for about five minutes. I closed the door just as quietly and walked away with the utmost respect for Keith as a musician and as a man.’
Please listen below to LIVE songs from The Rolling Stones’ 1977 El Mocambo gig.
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