September 18, 2018

Mick Jagger gave me a signed photo but still owes me a cigarette

73 year old Denise Jones recalls The Rolling Stones 1963 debut at King’s Heath’s Ritz Ballroom

Denise Jones was just 17 when she saw The Rolling Stones for the first time on 14 September 1963 at King’s Heath’s old Ritz Ballroom. “My boyfriend and I went there regularly to dance. We remember seeing Jerry Lee Lewis and The Beatles there. But there was a really special excitement when The Rolling Stones played. The audience stopped dancing and just listened. They played their hit single Come On and a number of other Chuck Berry songs including Roll Over Beethoven and Brown Eyed Handsome Man. The Ritz had a bar beneath the dance floor where you could mingle with the musicians. I was standing at the bar when Mick Jagger asked if he could cadge a cigarette off me. He still owes me one back but he did get the group to sign a fan club postcard signed by the whole group and gave it to me”.

Now satisfaction is guaranteed for Denise and all other Rolling Stones fans as King’s Heath Walk Of Fame has organised a mini festival to celebrates the 55th Anniversary of that historic gig.

Formed in London in 1962 by Brian Jones after he met up with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards who had been childhood friends, the Rolling Stones started out as a blues group taking their name from the title of a song by Muddy Waters. For the whole of 1962, they played exclusively in the London area. But all that changed on 7 June 1963 after they released their first single a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Come On”. Just a few months later on 14 September 1963 they played one of their first ever gigs outside London and their first ever in Birmingham at King’s Heath’s Ritz Ballroom. Joining Brian, Mick and Keith on the tiny stage were Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts. The day after they returned to London to play at the Great Pop Prom at the Royal Albert Hall! And when they returned to Birmingham the following year they played the much larger venues of the Hippodrome and the Town Hall. They then went onto become the world’s greatest Rock and Roll Band in the world selling over 200 million albums.

From 3 to 6 pm some great local musicians including 2 Stoned, Acoustica, Acoustic Sunset, Goodall, Harmonica Bob and Oz, Layla Tutt, Matilda Pratt, and Mr. Apollo will perform their interpretations of classic Rolling Stones songs at Fletchers Bar & Eatery directly opposite the burnt down ruins of the old Ritz Ballroom.

Doors will then open at 7 pm at the award winning Hare and Hounds for an evening concert starting at 7.45 pm by The Stones who are one of Europe’s leading Rolling Stones tribute bands regularly playing at festivals and concert halls throughout Britain and Europe

Tickets and further information can be got from or websites or in person from the Kitchen Garden Cafe on York Road

Joint organisers Bob Prew and Ken Whittaker said  “KIng’s Heath’s York Road will be rocking on Sept 30 to the sounds of the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world. Hot on the heels of the success of the annual Kings Heath Street Party, satisfaction is guaranteed to all those who come on down to Fletchers Bar and then Hare & Hounds near the burnt down ruins of the old Ritz Ballroom and help commemorate The Rolling Stones Birmingham Debut. This will be yet another day to remember”.

Further Information
Bob Prew – 0121 689 2360 or 07779 782240