In 1976, The Rolling Stones were one of the biggest bands on the planet and their touring life was that of rock ‘n’ roll legend. In the years that have followed, it would appear not a lot has changed for Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood, and Charlie Watts.
While the Rolling Stones’ riders are usually stuff for the history books, it was their room requirements at the hotel of their last performance which shows that the band may have been a unit on stage but off it, they had a complex web of relationships— “Keep Bill Wyman away from Keith because of noise”.
The band’s 1976 tour of Europe was a fruitful one. The group were arguably in the form of their life and were able to fill stadiums and auditoriums wherever they went with a bulge of frenetic energy. It was an intoxicating mix for the band and one that could only be matched by their off-stage substances.
Those extra-curricular activities couples with the sheer boredom that comes with touring meant the Rolling Stones may have been at the height of their success, but they were also near the peak of excess too. That meant hotels had to be properly briefed ahead of time, a job which at the end of the tour fell to “Roland”.
Below is a note from the band’s tour manager to “Roland” which details the hotel requirements of the biggest band on earth which shows that they may have been up all night but they still needed big beds and their rooms to be just right. A process that was undoubtedly made vastly more complicated because of the band’s variety of pseudonyms.
The list of demands are relatively simple but offer up a keen insight into the life the band was leading at the time. First off, “Try to place everyone on one floor”, adding: “Must have at least one security man on each floor housing a musician.”
Then demands then get complicated: “Callaghan should be next to Percy Thrower,” and “Bender & Poweski near Arthur Ashe.” But most importantly, “Keep Bill Wyman away from Keith because of noise.”
Take a look at the note below and find the full transcript below that, it provides a small piece of what it was like touring with The Rolling Stones in 1976.
Sorry I could not meet you. I had to leave at 10:00AM for Washington. However you will not have any trouble if you follow these notes.
1. I suggest you go to Vienna on the morning of June 22nd — to arrive in Vienna around 12:00 noon.
2. Go to the hotel first & tell them you would like to see the rooms the have blocked for you. I am enclosing copies of our correspondence.
1. Try to place everyone on one floor.
2. Must have at least one security man on each floor housing a musician.
3. Callaghan should be next to Percy Thrower.
4. Bender & Poweski near Arthur Ashe.
5. Try to get large beds for everyone.
6. Keep Bill Wyman away from Keith because of noise.
7. Everyone gets rooms for single occupancy however the hotel should give us large rooms.
8. Rooms specific other than singles are as follows:
1. Patrick Moore (Ron Wood) must have large bed.
2. Ollie Brown must have large bed.
3. Arthur Ashe (Mick J.) must have deluxe suite with attached luggage room.
4. James Burke (Billy Preston) gets a suite.
5. Peter West (Charlie Watts) must have large bed.
6. Security men must be near musicians.
7. Peter Rudge must have large bed.
8. Alan Dunn must have connecting door with Jennie-Collen-Smith.
9. Percy Thrower (Keith Richard) gets a suite.
10. Debbie Freis & Bill Zysblatt must have connecting rooms.
11. Robin Day gets a suite.
12. John Victor should be close to Percy Thrower.
Source : Letters of Note