Letters of Note (via The Daily What) plucked this fascinating correspondence from Keith Richards‘ autobiography Life, a 1962 letter to Richards’ aunt Pat that marks one of the more important moments in rock history. Because while many fans might say that seeing a band’s first performance matters more than any other piece of their history, I’d argue that the circumstances that bring that group together in the first place rank higher.
We already knew that Richards and Mick Jagger had gone to elementary school together and reconnected as teenagers before founding The Rolling Stones. But how did that exact moment come about? As 18-year-old Richards tells Pat, he was standing at Dartford Station holding his Chuck Berry album, when an old schoolmate wandered up to him. Obviously in those pre-internet times, Richards thought he was the only Chuck Berry fan for miles, but this kid he’d grown up with turned out to be a Berry enthusiast as well.
Anyways the guy on the station, he is called Mick Jagger and all the chicks and the boys meet every Saturday morning in the ‘Carousel’ some juke-joint well one morning in Jan I was walking past and decided to look him up. Everybody’s all over me I get invited to about 10 parties. Beside that Mick is the greatest R&B singer this side of the Atlantic and I don’t mean maybe. I play guitar (electric) Chuck style we got us a bass player and drummer and rhythm-guitar and we practice 2 or 3 nights a week. SWINGIN’.
Three months later, the Stones played their first show at London’s Marquee Club. How absolutely fantastic is that letter? It’s a relic that, better than an interview or Behind the Music documentary, transports us back to 1962 and a bunch of scrawny kids with a shared, fervent love for music.