Thursday, March 24, 2016

The British take Havana again: The Rolling Stones rock Cuba

It's only rock n roll
The British empire invaded and occupied Havana in March of 1762. They traded Havana back to Spain in exchange for all of Florida in 1763 and two hundred years later another British invasion, this time with rock n roll music, not military fleets invaded and conquered the world. The Rolling Stones were one of the shock troops of British rock n roll.

Their music and presence banned from Cuba by Fidel Castro during their heyday in the 1960s through the 1990s only now when Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are both 72, Charlie Watts 74, and Ron Woods 69 will Cubans be able to finally see them play in Havana. This is because the Rolling Stones came into existence in 1962, and the following year in Cuba that kind of music was forbidden.

On March 13, 1963 Fidel Castro gave a speech were he openly attacked “long-haired layabouts, the children of bourgeois families,” roaming the streets wearing “trousers that are too tight,” carrying guitars to look like Elvis Presley, who took “their licentious behavior to the extreme” of organizing “effeminate shows” in public places. The Cuban dictator warned: “They should not confuse the Revolution’s serenity and tranquility with weaknesses in the Revolution. Our society cannot accept these degeneracies.”

The punk rock band Porno para Ricardo summed up the old official attitude with the chorus from the one of their songs La Puerca Roja: It's only rock n roll pero te molesta (but it bothers you)

Bit sad really.  This band has been rocking the world for six decades and only now has been allowed to play Cuba three days after President Obama's historic visit to the island

The British invasion arrives in 2016: The Rolling Stones in Cuba
Sadder still Cuban musical icons, loved the world over, are still banned on the official airwaves posthumously because they didn't like the government.

It was pretty cool that Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts passed by the University of Miami to jam with music students earlier this week. Members of the band have always had a well earned reputation of being pretty cool.

Not too shabby after six decades touring and making music.

Still remember seeing The Rolling Stones during the Steel Wheels Tour in Miami in 1989. Amazing show 27 years ago and they seriously rocked the entire stadium.

Rock n roll fans in Cuba have addressed the difficulties they had getting to listen to the Rolling Stones and some current rock n rollers, who are being persecuted have made a call out to the band

The playlist below mixes together some classic Rolling Stones and Cuban rockers sending them a message.


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