Alex Constantine - November 2, 2012
By Jason MacNeil
Spinner, Oct 1st 2012
A new book on Mick Jagger reveals that Britain's MI5 -- the American equivalent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) -- plotted to destroy the Rolling Stones during the infamous 1967 Redlands drug bust.
An excerpt of the forthcoming Philip Norman book Mick Jagger -- published in The Daily Mail late Sunday -- claims the organizations used a failed actor named David Snyderman to befriend the band, establishing a means to try to ruin them through the notorious raid.
According to Norman, "the Redlands raid was part of an extraordinary plot, orchestrated by our own MI5 and the FBI and designed to put an early end to the Rolling Stones' career." The author said a British film agent based in Los Angeles named Maggie Abbott revealed the details to him after she befriended a failed actor David Jove. Jove told her his name was David Snyderman, known to the Rolling Stones as "Acid King David."
In January, 1967 Snyderman was arrested at London's Heathrow Airport with drugs. However, British customs officials sent him to "heavy people" believed to be MI5 officials who offered him a way out of his arrest.
"This was to infiltrate the Rolling Stones, supply Mick Jagger and Keith Richards with drugs, and then get them busted," Norman writes.
The operation was part of the FBI's Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) to maintain the social and political status quo. Back in the mid-'60s the Stones were considered genuine rebels.
By 1965, the Rolling Stones appeared on the agency's radar for the single "Satisfaction" with the lyric "Tryin' to make some girl" while "Let's Spend The Night Together" would 18 months later make more inferences to sex. Following Jagger rolling his eyes after changing the lyrics to "Let's Spend Some Time Together" for the Ed Sullivan Show, the Stones caused more furor after sarcastically waving during the British television show Sunday Night at the London Palladium.
"The cumulative effect of all these outrages became clear when the FBI asked for MI5's co-operation in getting Mick Jagger and Keith Richards charged with drug possession, thus ensuring they would be denied visas for the U.S. tours, which were essential if they were to remain at the top of the music business," Norman writes.
Snyderman agreed to the terms and within weeks was hanging out with the Jagger and Keith Richards, arriving at Richards' Redlands residence with "a business-like attache case" containing a California-produced type of LSD dubbed "Sunshine." Hours before the raid, Detective Constable John Challen received a call from an anonymous male saying drugs were being used at "riotous party" at Redlands.
Seven police vehicles arrived at Redlands and then entered the premises with "the tell-tale odour of cannabis" in the air. Each plain-clothes officer began searching a house guest with the first discovery being a "small tin box and envelope" on Snyderman containing cannabis. Both Richards and Jagger were arrested after the raid but were later freed on appeal. Snyderman, meanwhile, left the country that night, flown home with "his remaining acid stash" in tow.
The bust never actually stopped the Stones from touring, though.
Snyderman died in September 2004 from pancreatic cancer, one month before the Stones would release their double-live CD package Live Licks as part of their 40th anniversary celebrations.
As previously reported, the Rolling Stones will be releasing a two-disc, 50-song compilation GRRR! on November 13 in North America. The release will contain two new songs, "One Last Shot" and "Gloom and Doom."
Meanwhile, Norman's book will be released in the U.K. on Oct. 4. Norman has written several books on The Rolling Stones, his first being 1984's Symphony For The Devil: The Rolling Stones Story.
Watch The Rolling Stones' "Undercover of the Night" Video