It’s unlikely you’d describe The Rolling Stones as an “insignificant group” nowadays, isn’t it? But the folks at The SSE Arena (formerly Wembley Arena) have sent us a fascinating document of pop’s history, which you can see below: it’s a letter from former NME executive Maurice Kinn, who was locked in negotiations with The Beatles’ management team over NME’s 1964 Poll Winners Party.
The Beatles wanted to close the show; Kinn worried that their presence would cause a mass scrum. And so they thrashed out a deal for the Fab Four to appear earlier in the programme. “Dear John,” it says. “Just a note to tell you I have spoken to Brian Epstein this morning. He has agreed for The Beatles to appear prior to the presentation of the Poll Awards, so I will get one of the insignificant groups to close the bill.”
And who would that insignificant group be? Step forward, Mick Jagger and co, who’s performance – according to NME at the time – could “hardly be heard above the shouts”. It was the only time they ever shared a bill with The Beatles.
Oh, and Kinn’s plan didn’t go all-too smoothly, either: he got his wish with The Beatles being whisked away before the end of the concert, but he and John Lennon also came to blows as a result. And for more on The Beatles v The Stones’ rivalry, see our gallery of pop’s biggest feuds here.