The Rolling Stones, propelled by the winds of the British Invasion at their backs, released three albums in the United States in the first half of 1965 and toured the States in the second half of that year. The band was establishing its own sound and songwriting prowess as it inched away from simply covering old blues standards by Bo Diddley and Muddy Waters. Rather, the Stones’ sound was being born in songs like “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” and “Get Off of My Cloud.”
And on this day 47 years ago, the Rolling Stone brought those songs and more to Reynolds Coliseum to play on NC State’s campus.
But what has become a part of the famous arena’s music tradition didn’t impress everyone that night. Jim Lewis, a critic in The News & Observer, panned the performance and suggested that the Stones had come to just make some money for a gig by “wailing several of their popular songs” for 5,000 people.
“‘This Could Be The Last Time’ the Rolling Stones come to Raleigh,” Lewis wrote in 1965, “but England’s second-class Beatles left town after Wednesday night’s performance at Reynolds Coliseum $12,500 richer.”
Lewis instead celebrated the other bands on the bill, like the Embers, Patti LaBelle and her Blue Bells, and the Vibrations. “The program had other entertaining groups whose music surpassed anything England’s native sons attempted,” he wrote.
But Lewis was incorrect, according to one witness who was on the front row as a freshman that November night.
“It was quite an event to be at, especially coming from eastern North Carolina,” says Alumni Association Executive Director Benny Suggs. “The Stones were cranking. And they still are. And guess what? So am I, thanks to NC State.”