THE ROLLING STONES AT CHESS RECORDS STUDIOS CHICAGO, 1964
A WORLD PREMIERE EXHIBITION: THE ROLLING STONES IN CHICAGO, 1964 INCLUDING PREVIOUSLY UNSEEN AND UNPUBLISHED PHOTOGRAPHS
CELEBRATING THE 55TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ROLLING STONES FIRST RECORDING SESSIONS AT CHESS RECORDS, June 10-11, 1964
The Bob Bonis Museum in Miami Beach, Florida in association with Gallery Schuster of Berlin, Germany are thrilled to announce THE ROLLING STONES IN CHICAGO, 1964 – a World Premiere Exhibition celebrating the 55th anniversary of the first time the Rolling Stones recorded at Chess.
The exhibit at the first venue on the tour of this exhibition opens on June 5, 2019 at Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Foundation at 2120 South Michigan Avenue in Chicago in the very building, the hallowed ground, that Chess Records occupied, where the Rolling Stones had three recording sessions. They first recorded there June 10-11, 1965, returning for another session on November 10, 1964 and again in May of 1965 where they laid down the first (and still unreleased) version of their breakthrough hit (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.
The exhibition features 55 photographs from these historic recording sessions, many of them unpublished and never seen before by the public. Additionally, there are photographs of the Rolling Stones visit to The Palmer House hotel in Chicago on their second visit to Chicago in November 1964.
Limited edition portfolios and prints of photographs are available for sale through this website, with a portion of the proceeds going to Blues Heaven Foundation’s efforts to restore Chess Studios that has been closed since 1975, and open it back up as a functioning recording studio.
The photographs revealed here, many for the first time anywhere, were taken by the late Bob Bonis, an accomplished photographer who also served as the U.S. Tour Manager for both The Rolling Stones and The Beatles from 1964 through 1966 beginning with both famous bands’ first ever tours of America.
The association between the Rolling Stones and the city of Chicago and Chess Records is one of the most important in the bands’ history and was the spark that connected its founding members, leading to the formation of the band in 1962.
Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones was a blues enthusiast who idolized blues masters such as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and other blues masters from Chicago. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, childhood friends, ran into each other on October 17, 1961 on the train platform in Dartford, England. Keith, carrying his guitar, noticed that Mick had some record albums under his arm. Keith recalled “The thing about Mick and my meeting was that he was carrying albums with him – Rockin’ at the Hops by Chuck Berry, and The Best of Muddy Waters. I had only heard about Muddy up to that point.”
As they continued their conversation Keith Richards learned that Mick had mail-ordered these albums directly from Chicago’s Chess Records, as they were unavailable in England. Later they saw Brain Jones playing slide guitar (considered the first British guitarist to play this style of blues) and they soon joined forces and the Rolling Stones were born.
During their first-ever tour of America, Phil Spector helped the Rolling Stones book to record at Chess on June 10 and 11, 1964 where they met several of their heroes, including Muddy Waters, who helped them carry their equipment into the studio, and Chuck Berry himself, who stopped by to eavesdrop on their recording session, giving them his stamp of approval.
They returned again on their second and third tours of America to again record at Chess. No photos of their later sessions, on November 10, 1964 and in May of 1965, are known to exist. Bob Bonis’ photographs from this first visit the Chess are among the only photographs known to exist and will be on display at the Blues Heaven Foundation from June 5, 2019 through June 29, 2019.