Freddie Mercury
Celebration Days 2019

September 5/6/7/8 - 2019

J-101 days
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Montreux Celebration

Artists & People in Montreux


Rolling Stones and Montreux

The Rolling Stones performed a memorable show April 24th 1964 at the Golden Rose annual television broadcasting event, together with the English singer....Petula Clark. It was the beginning of their fame, and the songs "Mona", "Route 66" and "Not Fade Away" were already in the charts.

Later, they performed at the Hallenstadion in Zurich (capacity 10'000 people), then another visit to Montreux on May 21, 1972, this time incognito, to rehearse for more than ten days their new show in the Scala cinema theatre, opposite the Casino, (now the Adam’s café) the place was turned into a rehearsal studio for the occasion.

From mid-September 1972 Keith and his family were installed first in Gyron and then in a chalet called "Le Pec Varp" in Villars, high up in the mountainside between Montreux and Martigny. Charlie Chaplin, then 83 years old, was one of his neighbours.

It is a fact that in 1975, after touring the United States to promote "It's only Rock and Roll", Keith wanted to find the ideal place to record "Black and Blue".

He soon decided the Stones needed a place where they could get a new sound. "Somewhere where we can get a real shitty, rock n' roll sound".

Naturally, they chose Switzerland.

In October everyone set up at Mountain Studios in Montreux, where Charlie Chaplin's son was the staff engineer.

In the state-of-the-art control room, in front of the best musicians, a 19-year-old kid just arrived from England : David Richards. Located a the shore of the lake, the Mountain Studios, in which the young assistant was working, was equipped with the most modern sound equipment in the world.

The Stones sleep during the day and work all night. Something that David's prestigious namesake, Keith Richards, is struggling to get used to. One night, as the group celebrates around a huge banquet on the first floor before starting to work, the phone rings at the studio. It was Mick Jagger's wife. David joins the band and shyly slips a word to the singer. On the other side of the table, Keith Richards sleeps, his face immersed in his plate. No one is surprised. David Richards displays this same phlegm, grown in Albion, behind his control room.

After Montreux, the Stones moved back to Munich. Despite enjoying the champagne air of the Alps, Keith was, according to Nick Kent, concerned that staying too long in the sanatorium of the Western world was bound to sap his creative juices.

Keith Richards :

"I’m actually quite ignorant of a lot of things that go on because I’m forced to live in these wooden huts for quite a long part of the year, in Switzerland".

"They come up to me on the street and say : Hey, you’re a Rolling Stone ! I’m in a band. How do we get to be really big and earn lots of money? What do you have to do to make a really good group" ?

And I say, "Well, look, why don’t you try starving ? They don’t understand that man, they’re so rich. I mean, have you ever heard of a good Swiss musician ? a good Swiss painter or writer" ?

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