Industry and fans whispers put the Rolling Stones‘ 1977 El Mocambo Tavern gigs as the band’s latest vault release. Although four selections from the famed Toronto club gigs found their way onto that year’s double concert album, Love You Live, the tapes of the show in varying quality have made the rounds on the underground for decades. According to sources, an announcement regarding the release is coming as soon as next week.
It was on February 27th, 1977, while in Toronto for the 500-seat El Mocambo dates, that Keith Richards was arrested for possession of heroin. Richards was awakened by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who found five grams of cocaine and 22 grams of heroin in his room, among other substances. Richards was charged with “possession of cocaine and heroin with intent to traffic.”
Although Richards was eventually released on $25,000 bail, due to the trafficking charge, he faced a minimum seven-year prison term if found guilty. Richards, who due to his growing and public drug use had been on the wrong side of the law since 1967, was now facing the most serious criminal charge of his life.
He eventually received a suspended sentence after the court concluded that Richards did not bring the drugs into the country, but rather purchased them while in Canada.
While on the road in 1976, Keith Richards spoke about the desperate need for the Stones to stay active: [“I never had to worry about my body. I’ve been used to punishing it and I’ve been able to take it. If you wanna keep the band together, you have to go on the road. You have to play. A band isn’t a band in the proper sense of the word if it doesn’t play in front of people.”] SOUNDCUE (:15 OC: . . . front of people)
Songs performed by The Stones on March 4th & 5th, 1977 at Toronto’s El Mocambo Tavern:
“Honky Tonk Women”
“All Down The Line”
“Hand Of Fate”
“Fool To Cry”
“Melody” – live premiere
“Dance Little Sister” – live premiere
“Around And Around”
“Worried About You” – live premiere
“Let’s Spend The Night Together”
“Little Red Rooster”
“Crazy Mama” – live premiere
“Worried Life Blues” – live premiere
“It’s Only Rock and Roll (But I Like It)”
“Rip This Joint”
“Jumpin’ Jack Flash”
- The Rolling Stones‘ pair of March 1977 shows at Toronto’s El Mocambo Tavern are rumored to be tapped for the band’s next vault release.
- During Keith Richards drug trial later in 1977 a blind woman and die-hard Stones fan privately appealed to the judge and explained how Richards had always looked out for her when the band was on the road in Canada, making sure she was safe and cared for, and often helping find her a ride home after the shows.
- Part of Richards’ sentence involved playing a local charity concert for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind in 1979 with his and fellow Stones guitarist Ron Wood‘s side band the New Barbarians — along with the Rolling Stones, who performed a show closing set.
- By that time, Richards had been heroin-free for two years, having quit the drug cold turkey.