A Surprise From The Rolling Stones, 1981

THE ROLLING STONES once played a surprise gig at Sir Morgan’s Cove in Worcester. The Cove had a reputation as a dive bar and rock club. After The Stones’ surprise gig it became legendary. Holed up in their practice space at Long View Farms in North Brookfield rehearsing for an upcoming world tour, The Rolling Stones were dying to play live in a small, dark and dank nightclub and Sir Morgan’s Club fit the bill. With WAAF (107.3 FM) distributing a handful of free tickets, the Rolling Stones played Sept. 14, 1981, at Sir Morgan’s Cove. However, rival rock station WBCN (104.1 FM), ‘The Rock of Boston,’ was so pissed that a Worcester radio station and Worcester venue got the “World’s Greatest Rock & Roll Band” that the Boston radio station did everything in its power to screw up the show by broadcasting all the fun facts of the upcoming performance and telling everyone to show up at a place that held only 235 people. An estimated 4,000 people lined Green Street that night.The owner of Sir Morgan’s Cove’s parents went to high school with my parents at Weequahic High School in Newark, N.J. Club emperor Neal Newman and I used to laugh about that in the 80’s when my business partner Mickey O ran The Cove later in the decade. Once, on a stormy blizzard weekday night, Mickey had an emergency when his scheduled band cancelled playing at this Worcester blue-collar bar because of the nasty nor’easter; and on about an hours notice me, and Grammy Award Winner TOM HAMBRIDGE got a three piece band together and played to about a dozen drunk regulars who weren’t about to let bad weather interfere with their buzz !!! T.H. has long been the producer and drummer for blues legend Buddy Guy and has been honored with many of the top music industry awards for his talents. We laughed during that gig that “if the Stones could play a surprise gig than BLIND LEMON PLEDGE and THE SEEING EYE DOGS could too.” To this day, I ask T.H.if this surprise Sir Morgan’s Cove gig is at the top of his long and impressive resume or not.

(by A.J. Wachtel)

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