The Arrest History Of The Rolling Stones

The Arrest History Of The Rolling Stones | I Love Classic Rock Videos

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The Rolling Stones have carved their name in rock and roll history, not just for their music, but also for their rebellious reputation. As the band’s arrest history shows, being one of the most popular and rebellious bands in the world can come with a price.

Throughout their career, the Stones (and even some of their family members) have found themselves on the wrong side of the law on eleven occasions. These encounters range from the sensational and humorous to the occasionally concerning, but, for some reason, none of them seem to involve whoever designed the infamous day-glo suits the group wore on their 1986 album Dirty Work.

Here, we’ll tackle the stories behind these eleven brushes with the law, offering a glimpse into the wild and sometimes chaotic world of The Rolling Stones.

Feb. 12, 1967 – The band’s first brush with the law 

The Rolling Stones’ rebellious reputation wasn’t just for show. In February 1967, their rock and roll lifestyle landed them in hot water for the first time. Police raided a party at guitarist Keith Richards’ house after receiving a tip about drug use. Both Richards and singer Mick Jagger were arrested.

The situation escalated quickly, with the judge handing down surprisingly harsh sentences: three months for Jagger and a year for Richards. Fortunately, these sentences were overturned on appeal two months later. This incident marked the beginning of a long and colorful history of the Stones’ occasional brushes with the law.

May 10, 1967 – Brian Jones arrested for marijuana possession

Following on the heels of his bandmates’ legal troubles, Brian Jones, the Rolling Stones’ guitarist, wasn’t far behind. In May 1967, just months after Jagger and Richards received warnings for drug offenses, Jones was arrested on similar charges. The police found marijuana at his apartment, and he was accused of allowing others to use it there.

Despite facing potential consequences, Jones received a lighter sentence than his bandmates – a mere warning. However, this incident foreshadowed future struggles with drugs and the law that would sadly mar Jones’ life and career.

May 21, 1968 – Brian Jones again, this time with much heavier consequences

Just a year after his first brush with the law, Jones found himself in trouble again in May 1968. This time, the stakes were much higher. He was arrested for marijuana possession and faced the possibility of a significant jail sentence.

The situation became even more complex when a psychiatrist intervened, citing mental health concerns and advocating for leniency. Thankfully, the judge took these factors into account and ultimately opted for a more lenient outcome. Jones received another stern warning but avoided jail time. However, this incident had lasting consequences. Obtaining a visa for the band’s upcoming U.S. tour became significantly more challenging, casting a shadow over their touring plans.

May 24, 1968 – ‘Misery loves company’ for Jagger and Faithfull

The saying “misery loves company” could also apply to trouble, as Mick Jagger and his then-girlfriend Marianne Faithfull discovered on May 24, 1968. The couple was arrested for marijuana possession, adding another chapter to the Stones’ growing list of legal encounters.

Interestingly, this arrest coincided with a significant moment in the band’s career. The very same day, the Rolling Stones released their single “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, marking a comeback after their previous album’s lukewarm reception. Despite the legal trouble, the song’s release proved to be a turning point, propelling the Stones back into the spotlight.

Feb. 16, 1972 – Not-so-smooth travels for Mrs. Watts

While drummer Charlie Watts managed to stay out of trouble throughout his Rolling Stones career, his wife Shirley wasn’t as fortunate. In February 1972, she made headlines for an altercation at Nice International Airport in France. According to reports, Shirley was arrested after a heated exchange with customs officials, which allegedly involved both verbal abuse and physical assault.

This incident, while not directly involving a band member, undoubtedly cast a shadow over the Rolling Stones’ image. It served as a reminder that even the seemingly untouchable world of rock and roll wasn’t immune to the occasional brush with the law, even if it came from an unexpected source.

July 18, 1972 – The Stones nearly canceled a crucial Boston concert

The Rolling Stones’ 1972 tour wasn’t without its hiccups. In July, Jagger and Richards found themselves arrested in Rhode Island following a scuffle with a photographer. This incident threatened to derail their highly anticipated concert in Boston that same evening.

However, in a surprising turn of events, Boston’s mayor, Kevin White, intervened to ensure the show went on. He personally secured the release of Jagger and Richards from custody and even announced their liberation to the eager audience at the Boston Garden, declaring, “The Stones have been busted, but I have sprung them!”

June 26, 1973 – Significant amount of drugs were found in Keef’s home

In June 1973, Keith Richards’ rock and roll lifestyle collided with the law in a dramatic way. Police raided his London home, uncovering a significant amount of drugs and drug paraphernalia. The seized items reportedly included marijuana, heroin, various prescription drugs, and even a loaded handgun and ammunition.

The charges against Richards were serious, and the presence of firearms added another layer of complexity. Richards maintained his innocence, claiming the guns belonged to a tenant and that he was the victim of a police setup. Ultimately, he received a relatively lenient sentence, avoiding jail time.

July 5, 1975 – Keith and Ron Wood found trouble in Arkansas

During the Stones’ 1975 tour, a seemingly routine lunch stop in Fordyce, Arkansas, took an unexpected turn for the band. While leaving the restaurant, Richards, behind the wheel of an Impala, was pulled over for reckless driving. Suspecting drug use, the officers proceeded to search the car. However, their search yielded no marijuana, but instead uncovered a small amount of cocaine in a briefcase belonging to a passenger, Fred Sessler.

While Richards passed the sobriety test, he wasn’t entirely out of the woods. He was cited for carrying a hunting knife, which was deemed an illegal weapon in the state. News of the arrest spread quickly, turning the incident into local lore. Despite the charges, the situation was eventually resolved, with Richards and Wood being released later that day. 

Feb. 27, 1977 – Keef (again) almost said goodbye to his career

In February 1977, the Rolling Stones faced a potential band-breaking crisis when Richards was arrested in Canada. Police discovered heroin in his hotel room, leading to serious charges of “possession of heroin for the purpose of trafficking.” This offense carried a daunting potential sentence of seven years to life in prison.

The situation escalated quickly. Richards’ passport was confiscated, and he remained in Canada until April, when he was granted a medical visa to return to the United States for addiction treatment. Fortunately, the charges were later downgraded to simple possession. The judge, seemingly swayed by a blind woman’s testimony about Richards’ efforts to ensure her safety at concerts, ultimately showed leniency. Richards pleaded guilty, receiving a suspended sentence and a unique community service requirement: performing a benefit concert for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.

Dec. 3, 2009 – Ronnie’s serious domestic incident

While most of the Rolling Stones’ brushes with the law involved drugs or disorderly conduct, one incident in 2009 stands out for its darker nature. On December 3rd, Ron Wood was arrested following an argument with his girlfriend at the time. The details of the altercation remain unclear, but the incident resulted in Wood being “cautioned” by the police for common assault.

This arrest marked a rare instance of violence associated with the band. While the details remain limited, the incident cast a shadow over Wood’s personal life and highlighted the potential dangers of escalating arguments.

March 1, 2011 – This time, it was Keef’s kid

In 2011, Keith Richards’ daughter, Theodora, found herself following in her father’s footsteps, albeit in a less desirable way. She was arrested in New York City on charges related to vandalism and drug possession. The incident involved graffiti, with reports indicating Theodora was caught with spray paint and eight unidentified pills, which she claimed to have purchased on the street.

This arrest brought unwanted attention to both Theodora and the Richards family. While not as serious as some of her father’s brushes with the law, it highlighted the potential consequences of impulsive decisions and the challenges faced by children of celebrities in navigating their own paths.