On This Day in Music History: The Rolling Stones’ Album Release Party Ends in Food Fight

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Nothing launches an album into the world like a pie to the face. That’s exactly how The Rolling Stones released their 1968 studio album, Beggars Banquet.

On this day in 1968, the British rockers killed two birds with one stone, hosting part press reception and part release party in celebration of their new album, set to drop the next day. The Elizabethan room of London’s historic, and highly elegant, Gore Hotel, accommodated the night’s festivities.

Reportedly dressed as beggars, the Stones – then comprised of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman, and Charlie Watts – were seated alongside their media guests in the candlelit, wood-paneled banquet room where they were all served a seven-course dinner. However, the rambunctious young bandmates weren’t ending the night without a little raucous fun.

During dessert, Jagger was the first to start the commotion, standing up to push a handheld custard pie into the face of Jones, who was seated next to him. Chaos ensued as everyone in the room armed themselves with their desserts. Pies flew between jovial band members, record executives, and press guests. The wait staff, standing in the wings, wiped the cream from their uniforms with looks of bewilderment on their faces.

With a mug coated in pie shrapnel, Jagger called out over the mischief, “Send your clothes cleaning bills to Austere’s.”

Watch the event play out in the video, below.

Beggars Banquet marked a turning point in the band’s career. The project followed Between the Buttons and Their Satanic Majesties Request, both released in 1967. Songs on Beggars Banquet including “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Street Fighting Man” became rock standards. Beggars Banquet is widely considered the work that set the Rolling Stones on the path toward becoming the enduring rock icons they are today.

Photo by Helmut Newton

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