When the Rolling Stones Got Shocked Onstage
Bob Dylan famously "went electric" in 1965, but four out of the five Rolling Stones actually experienced a shocking accident that same year.
Riding the success of the No. 1 U.K. single "The Last Time," their most successful band-written tune to date, the Rolling Stones had shows planned in Odense and Copenhagen in Denmark, then in Gothenburg and Stockholm in Sweden. It turned out that bassist Bill Wyman was fortunate to live to perform at any of those shows.
He was knocked unconscious by way of a 220-volt electric shock on March 26, 1965, just as the Stones were beginning their first tour of Scandinavia. He wasn't the only Stone to ride the lightning that day. Details are sparse, but the accident happened during a rehearsal at the Fyens Forum in Odense – and not an actual concert, as is sometimes reported. Either because of a faulty microphone, or because he touched two live mics simultaneously, Mick Jagger received an electric shock that spun him around the stage – and into Brian Jones. The guitarist, now shocked via Jagger, then backed into Wyman – who fell down, unconscious, onstage.
The bassist eventually came to, although pictures exist of Wyman on the floor and Jagger and Charlie Watts looking quite grave about the situation. The show's promoter would later explain that Wyman was saved by happenstance when Jagger accidentally pulled out the main plug while reeling from the shock. Wyman, Jagger and Jones recovered to play every show on the tour.
Curiously, that wouldn't be the only shocking escapade for the Rolling Stones in 1965. Guitarist Keith Richards received quite a jolt at a U.S. show in December when his guitar brushed against an ungrounded mic stand. That leaves Watts as the only original Stone who didn't get shocked onstage. Maybe that explains his always-cool demeanor.
By the way, the Rolling Stones aren't the only rockers to survive onstage battles with electricity. Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley experienced an epic jolt in 1976, which would inspire his song "Shock Me."
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