On This Day in 1964: The Rolling Stones Played Their First-Ever Concert in the U.S.

June 5, 2024, sixty years ago, marks a historic day in Rolling Stones lore. On that day, the British rock legends invaded America, playing their first concert ever in the U.S. The show took place at the Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino, California.

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Prior to the show in San Bernardino, The Rolling Stones had never played a concert outside of the U.K. The event took place one week after the band’s debut album, England’s Newest Hit Makers, was released in the States.

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Local radio station KMEN promoted The Stones’ concert, billing the group as “Britain’s bad boys” and “the ugliest band in England.” The Stones lineup at the time featured singer Mick Jagger, guitarists Keith Richards and Brian Jones, bassist Bill Wyman, and drummer Charlie Watts.

According to Setlist.fm, The Stones played an 11-song set that featured all covers, with the exception of the early Jagger-Richards composition “Tell Me.”

[RELATED: Watch The Rolling Stones Perform Their Country-Rock Classic “Dead Flowers” with Country Star Tyler Childers]

The first song the band played was Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away,” which was the group’s first U.S. single. “Not Fade Away,” like most of the songs they played at the show, appeared on their debut album. Exceptions were The Beatles’ “I Wanna Be Your Man,” which The Stones had released as a single in the U.K. in 1963, and Chuck Berry’s “Beautiful Delilah” and “I’m Talking About You.”

Also on the bill with The Rolling Stones were Bobby Goldsboro and girl group The Chiffons.

KMEN Deejay Bill Watson Shared Details About the Show

Bill Watson, a KMEN deejay who emceed the concert, wrote a recap of The Stones’ show.

“The Stones were nervous. They opened their show cautiously. Their sound was less than wild,” Watson recalled. “But the audience went insane. Objects were thrown on the stage, girls fainted, the screams were deafening and The Stones began to feel at home. “Just like at home,” they said.”

He continued, “Then they loosened up, began to have fun, feel it, swing with it. Mick wiggled, Keith did a little dance step, Brian smiled, Bill laid down the beat, Charlie’s eyes sparkled … and the wildest, most uninhibited sound I had ever heard filled the auditorium.”

About The Rolling Stones’ First U.S. Tour

The San Bernardino concert marked the start of The Rolling Stones’ first U.S. tour. The trek was a brief 13-show outing that wrapped up with a pair of concerts on June 20 at the historic Carnegie Hall in New York City.

About The Rolling Stones’ Current Tour

The Rolling Stones currently are in the middle of a U.S. tour supporting their 2023 album, Hackney Diamonds. The trek is plotted out through a July 21 concert in Ridgefield, Missouri. The band’s next concert is scheduled for Monday, June 7, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Tickets for the shows are available now via various outlets, including StubHub.

The Rolling Stones Set List, Swing Auditorium, San Bernardino, CA, 6/5/1964:

  1. “Not Fade Away”
  2. “I’m Talking About You”
  3. “I Wanna Be Your Man”
  4. “Hi-Heel Sneakers”
  5. “Route 66”
  6. “Walking the Dog”
  7. “Tell Me”
  8. “Beautiful Delilah”
  9. “Can I Get a Witness”
  10. “I Just Want to Make Love to You”
  11. “I’m All Right”

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