Getting Stoned in Myrtle Beach...

June 19, 2013 

Like a Rolling Stone(s)

I just finished reading an article about a possible 100,000-square-foot expansion of the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.

But did you know 35 years ago this week, that the convention center in the heart of Durty Myrtle on Oak Street, did some mind-expansion?

Yep, Saturday marks the 35th anniversary of The Rolling Stones concert in Myrtle Beach - a feat likely not to be repeated as the rock ‘n’ roll dinosaur slogs its 50th anniversary tour around the U.S. and the U.K.

Much has been made about the band’s current tour with high ticket prices and some questioning whether Jagger, Richards and Co. still deliver the goods, but back in 1978, few could match the self-professed “Greatest Rock ‘N’ Roll Band in the World.”

In 1978, The Rolling Stones had just added guitarist Ron Wood and released a new disc “Some Girls,” containing the hits “Shattered,” “Miss You” and “Beast of Burden” and going to No. 1 on the album charts. If you’re an old-timer, you’ve probably heard about it or even went to the show, but it kind of seems like myth and legend these days - the bad boys of rock brought the “Some Girls” tour to our then-sleepy little beach town, performing a sold-out show at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, the most-out-of-the-way locale on the tour.

I was not living in Myrtle Beach at the time, but I am old enough to remember seeing The Stones perform “Shattered” on “Saturday Night Live” and I remember hearing “Beast of Burden” on Top 40 radio.

In my former life as a reporter here in Myrtle Beach, I did a story about the 25th anniversary of The Stones concert at MBCC and it was such a joy, and I made many connections, and it was a revelation that so many people even ten years ago had forgotten - or didn’t know about this show.

In our short term memory, tear-it-down and throw-it-out culture, I think it’s important to tell this type of story and keep the memories alive - because let’s face it, if Surge doesn’t, who will?

So, I kept a folder of my notes and artifacts - some newspaper clippings covering the gig, transcriptions of interviews and a promotional bumper sticker (that’s it on this week’s cover).

And somewhere down the line when I received my 2013 day planner I started thinking about what significant anniversaries were coming up this year - and lo and behold I stumbled onto the date: June 22, 1978. I immediately marked it down in my calendar.

My article published in 2003 told part of the story of The Stones’ visit, but for this week’s cover story, we enlisted a local who was around (but, much to his lament, did not get into the legendary concert) in 1978, veteran music writer Brian Howle. His story is an insider’s take on how the English kings of rock came, saw and conquered our beach town back in the pre-Internet, pre-Broadway at the Beach days, and left an indelible mark that can still be traced - if you know where to look.

So turn to our homepage as we take a look at this slice of Myrtle Beach history and reveal how it came about. And in Howle’s words: “Rumors and myths give way to first-hand recollections from the people who were on the front line of breaking the news and promoting this once-in-a-lifetime show; we talked to those who did just that in one of the best-coordinated, multi-radio station simulcast announcements in the history of radio.”

Kent Kimes, Editor

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