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‘Electrifying music’ and tomato-throwing: Rolling Stones album brings back memories of Jersey performance

THIS week’s news that The Rolling Stones were about to release their first new album in 18 years brought back memories for Islanders of the time that the world’s most famous rock band paid a visit to Jersey almost six decades ago.

Indeed, it was a memorable evening, with one audience member writing himself into the history books by throwing a tomato at Mick Jagger’s white trousers.

Over two nights in August 1964 – one year after the Beatles’ iconic performance at the same venue – the band performed at the Springfield Ballroom to crowds of around 4,000.

In its write-up from the time, the JEP described the Jersey concert as ‘deafening’, with the room filled with ‘roars, screams, and applause’ as well as ‘fanatic teenagers and electrifying music’.


The night was marked by controversy even before the group took to the stage, though, as a JEP report recorded that many local youths were denied entry owing to their choice of attire, ‘jeans and open-necked shirts’.

However, the event was probably best remembered for the tomato-throwing incident, which enraged frontman Mick Jagger.

This incident stemmed from the Stones’ provocative appearance on the 1960s BBC music panel show Juke Box Jury, where the band members, acting as judges, were rude to other bands and criticised their music.

The man who threw the tomato, Islander Peter ‘Biffo’ Smith, was reportedly annoyed by their attitude on the popular programme.

Thelma Warren, who was 15 when she attended the concert, described the evening as being full of young people ‘jumping up and down and screaming’ with excitement.

She also recounted the tomato-throwing incident, explaining that multiple tomatoes were hurled at lead singer Mick Jagger, with one hitting the singer on his leg while he was wearing white trousers.

He responded with a few ‘choice words’ towards the perpetrator, and the band briefly paused before rallying to ‘play even better than before’.

In the aftermath, the crowd turned on the tomato thrower, who was then ejected from the concert.

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