This week in 1964, The Rolling Stones released their first U.S. single, a soaring cover of Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away." Certainly any American artist (or fan) who heard the 'Stones for the first time probably had the same reaction to their clattering driving sound as they did upon hearing The Beatles: "What is going on?"
That must have been Dean Martin's reaction, too, who could have just as easily been a character out of Bob Dylan's "Ballad of A Thin Man" after hearing The Rolling Stones make a racket on his booze-fueled variety show. By the time the quintet came to America, Mick & Keith had already perfected the form they are still using today--a loose, improvisational take on American Rhythm & Blues. The sound was part Chicago, part folk, and all British. Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone? Today, your answer might be very different than it would have been in 1964.
Mr. Keith Richards during this time was partial to his Epiphone Casino which also powered their smash #1 single "Satisfaction" the following year. Back in the early 60s, Keith was a trend setter. He played a Casino before The Beatles (and not many artists can claim first over The Beatles). The following year, Keith would settle on a late 50s Les Paul Standard with a Bigsby (worth over $250,000 today) as his main guitar. Once Richards took to the Les Paul, every young blues player in the western world took notice including future Les Paul devotees Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Michael Bloomfield, and a teenage Duane Allman. As for where that Casino is now, who knows? Evidently according to Andy Babiuk, it's one of the last dark secerts of Rock N' Roll.
"It's unfortunate," said Babiuk. "When I did that book for them, there were a lot of things I found out that were stolen from them. And unfortunately, it was done by people who were supposed to be watching their stuff for them. It's kind of sad state of affairs but it is what it is. And Keith would wish to have it back. We got him another old one just like it because he really wanted his Epiphone back and we can't get the original back. We got him a vintage model. Everything was the same on it and he likes it quite a bit." Don't put it past Mr. Richards to find a way to take that Casino back from the offending thief and store it perhaps underneath that rickety ladder in his notoriously treacherous library in Connecticut.
If you want to turn back the clock, we've taken care of that for you with the Epiphone Ltd. Ed. "1965" Elitist Casino Outfit
, powered with Gibson USA P-90 pickups and made just like we used to in the old days. Not Fade Away indeed.