Join me in celebrating the birthdays of two Rolling Stones; Ronnie Wood (74) and Charlie Watts (80). They say that 60 is the new 40.
But 80 is 80…right Charlie?
Here’s my take. Time for a surreal memory from the Stones’ Voodoo Lounge tour in 1994. As the head of marketing for VH1, I wanted to attach our channel to the tour and create a national buzz. So, I pitched several ideas to Michael Cohl, the Stones’ tour promoter.
He killed them all, but liked this one.
The tour finale would be in Miami, the day before Thanksgiving. So, let’s find America’s top Stones fan and give them VIP treatment at the show. VH1 will host a Beggars’ Banquet on the 50-yard line of the Dolphins’ stadium. Before the concert, our winner will feast with the Stones, then get front row tickets to the show.
“I’ll go you one better,” said Cohl. “I’ll put the winner on the Stones plane to Miami, and they can hang out with Mick.”
Finding the band’s top fan couldn’t be a typical contest. We needed to reach Stones freaks who’d demonstrate their love for the band. So, we asked rock fans across America to convince us why they’re number one. Prove it, and you’ll win a fantasy trip.
We got thousands of pick-me letters. But one entry stood above the rest. Richard Wongo sent a beautiful line drawing of the Stones, done in loving detail.
We’d found our #1 fan. Or so we thought.
Aboard the Stones’ private jet, I introduced our winner to Mick Jagger who jokingly asked, “So, mister #1 fan, what’s your favorite Stones song?” Wongo thought a while and finally said, “Uhhh, I don’t really have one”.
Mick glared at me, then turned to Wongo, “I thought you’re our biggest fan.”
“Uh, not really. I just like to draw.”
Mick politely excused himself as Wongo and I crawled back to our seats.
It’s true, you can’t always get what you want.