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The Price Of Fame: Rolling Stones Tickets Then And Now


While Radio Liberty struggles to reinvent itself, this week brought a big announcement from a group that has dominated the radio for half a century.

SIR MICK JAGGER: Soon we'll be back on stage playing for you in two cities that know how to rock and roll.

SIEGEL: That's the Rolling Stones announcing a new concert tour to celebrate their 50th anniversary. They've scheduled four shows so far, starting next month, two in Newark, New Jersey and two in their hometown of London.


But before you reach for your wallet, consider yourself warned. Those Stones tickets are going to cost you a pretty pence. The cheapest seats in London are 106 pounds each. That's around 170 U.S. dollars for a nosebleed seat.

SIEGEL: Tickets for the American show start at $120 and the price goes up, way up, from there.


BLOCK: Well, those prices got us thinking about how far the Rolling Stones have come since selling their very first ticket to their very first show.

CHRISTOPHER SANDFORD: July the 12th, 1962 and it was held at the Marquee Club in Oxford Street in London.

BLOCK: That's Rolling Stones biographer, Christopher Sandford.

SANDFORD: It was a smoky dark room with about 110 people. The ambient smell was one of stale beer and body odor. So it was a subterranean smoky kind of a feel and a very different atmosphere from the vast scrubbed stages that the Stones are playing on now, of course.

SIEGEL: And the cost of a ticket to take in a bit of that body odor and see some new young band called the Rollin' Stones...

BLOCK: And that is Rollin' with an apostrophe, they didn't add the G until later.

SIEGEL: The cost 4 bob for members, that's 4 shillings or just under $6 today.


BLOCK: Biographer Christopher Sandford says it's amazing that the Stones are still together, but will he be among the fans clamoring for a golden ticket?

SANDFORD: The answer is sadly, no. However, I do remain open for offers should anyone insist that I attend. I'd certainly be amenable. But no, it's beyond the pay grade of a mere jobbing author, I'm afraid.

SIEGEL: So music lesson of the day, the best things in life are free.

BLOCK: The Stones at 50, definitely not. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.