In terms of your wardrobe, there are few things more heartbreaking than losing a true vintage band tee. They’re high in both monetary and sentimental value. This young lady does her best to summarize the sorrow in less than 141 characters.
Then we caught wind of another tragic story involving a Stones tee. The reported loss of a 1969 t-shirt glorified by some club beats. Watch this video. We weren’t sure if we should dance or cry. They can’t be done at the same time, we tried.
We contacted the artists behind this track, Dada Life, to find out more details about the shirt in question.
Sadly, they never replied. They probably just want to move on. We understand. Or maybe, just maybe, the artists didn’t bother to base their track on something plausible. Assuming that theory is likely to be the outcome, the catchy tune still got us wondering what’s the oldest known Stones t-shirt?
The Rolling Stones formed in 1962 and toured in ’69, so a tour tee from that year is entirely possible. Yet, that we know of, one has never surfaced online or been photographed in any rock or vintage t-shirt book.
In the music video we’re presented with lots of eye candy – most notably two Stones tops worn by (spoiler alert) the artists themselves with the famous Stones’ lips logo blocked out. Dada Life was either unable to get clearance or didn’t try. Their tops are obviously not vintage; but worse yet, the The Stones’ lips logo also didn’t exist in 1969. Oops!
So let’s rewind to 1969. Mick, unhappy with their current branding, visited the Royal College of Art in London to ask for help finding a design student. He was introduced to Jon Pasche, who decided to use Mick’s mouth as inspiration. It wasn’t until 1970 that the most iconic symbol of rock known to man was born. It was first used on the back of their Sticky Fingers album in 1971.
But what do we know? We reached out to three individuals – each with his own unique Stones expertise.
First up, Max Bittle, a vintage t-shirt aficionado who buys and sells tees so he can support his Stones habit. The beginnings of his impressive collection and more about him can be viewed here.
When we asked Max specifically about The Stones in ’69, he had this to say:
“1969 was an amazing, yet tragic, year for the Stones. Brian Jones was kicked out of the band and died shortly thereafter. They performed at very large venues throughout the U.S. and ended their tour with a free concert at the Altamont Speedway in San Fransisco. The concert, which involved the Hells Angels fatally stabbing a fan, is widely credited as the ‘official’ end of the ’60s era of peace and love.
“I’ve searched high and low for original clothing from this era. I’m convinced that there must be some sort of shirt out there, but I have yet to see it. The anti-establishment culture of rock during the late ’60s kept many bands from merchandising their brand.”
Enter Ira K, an expert in Stones memorabilia who operates The Rolling Stones Museum. Surely someone with these credentials can shed some light?
“I’ve never seen one definitively from 1969. The earliest crew shirt I’m aware of is from the 1972 U.S. tour. I recently discovered a previously-unheard-of ’73 European tour roadie jumpsuit, so you never know what’s hiding at the back of someone’s closet. The earliest shirt I’m aware of is this circa ’67 fan club t-shirt.”
Alas, this story has a happy ending.