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As the home of the blues, Chicago has always been the spiritual home of the Rolling Stones. From their long distance love from London, in the early sixties, when the band bonded over their love of Chess Records, to the Chicago musicians who inspired and collaborated with them, to having played memorable shows in the city and surrounding areas many times, it's only fitting that the band bring Exhibitionism to this city that has provided them such inspiration.

See the full Rolling Stones map of Chicago for a tour of the band's love of the city, featuring the location of key venues, performances, festivals and collaborations as well as key points of interest in the history of the Chicago blues — which have been so influential to them throughout their career.

 

Arie Crown Theater
2301 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60616

A favorite venue of the band throughout the 1960's, the Stones played their first Chicago gig here on on November 15th 1964 and returned to play several times, including May 9th 1965, November 28th 1965 and July 10th 1966.

Setlist from the Stones' first Chicago show:

  • Not Fade Away
  • Walking The Dog
  • If You Need Me
  • Carol
  • Time Is On My Side
  • Around and Around
  • Tell Me
  • It's All Over Now
  • Hi-Heel Sneakers
  • You Can Make It If You Try
  • I'm A King Bee
  • I'm Alright

 

International Amphitheater
4220 S Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60609

The Rolling Stones returned to Chicago for the first time in three years, on November 16th 1969, and brought new guitarist Mick Taylor, who had joined the band that year. Their setlist included tracks from their upcoming album Let It Bleed, along with Blue s covers. They returned to play two dates in June 1972, for their Exile On Main St tour.

Setlist from November 16, 1969:

  • Jumpin' Jack Flash
  • Carol (Chuck Berry cover)
  • Sympathy for the Devil
  • Stray Cat Blues
  • Love in Vain (Robert Johnson cover)
  • That's No Way to Get Along (Robert Wilkins cover - Prodigal Son)
  • You Gotta Move (Mississippi Fred McDowell cover)
  • Under My Thumb
  • Midnight Rambler
  • Little Queenie (Chuck Berry cover)
  • (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
  • Honky Tonk Women
  • Street Fighting Man

 

University of Illinois Champaign
1800 S 1st St, Champaign, IL 61820

The Stones played Assembly Hall (now the State Farm Center) at the University of Illinois on November 15, 1969.

 

Chicago Stadium
1859 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60612

Photo by Charles Osgood

Chicago Stones fans got to meet the newest member of the band in in July 1975, when the legendary Tour Of The Americas hit the Chicago Stadium. Being a fan since 1964, and longtime friend of the band, Ronnie joined the Stones in June, following the departure of Mick Taylor. The tour featured a groundbreaking lotus shaped stage, which opened to reveal the band and their instruments. Plans for this stunning set design will be on display at Exhibitionism.

 

Soldier Field
1410 Museum Campus Dr, Chicago, IL 60605

Soldier Field has always been a favorite venue for the Rolling Stones, having first played there on the Some Girls tour, on July 8th 1978. They returned to the 61,500 capacity stadium in 1994 for the Voodoo Lounge tour, and even opened their legendary Bridges To Babylon tour at the venue in 1997. The Bigger Bang tour saw the band play the venue in both 2005 and 2006.

 

Rosemont Horizon (Allstate Arena)
6920 Mannheim Rd, Rosemont, IL 60018

Now called the Allstate Arena, this 18,500 capacity venue was home to the Stones for three nights in November 1981, part of their Let's Spend The Night Together tour. This was to be the Stones' last show in the area for eight years, as they took an eight year hiatus from touring, returning to the stage for the Steel Wheels tour. For this 1981 show, fans were treated to a 25 song setlist, including ‘Under My Thumb', ‘Let It Bleed' and ‘You Can't Always Get What You Want', along with tracks from their new album Tattoo You, which was a quadruple platinum hit.

 

United Center
1901 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60612

The Stones have played the United Center on numerous occasions since 1999, but perhaps the most memorable was their three date run in 2013, as part of their 50 & Counting... anniversary tour, due to the array of special guests the band invited to play with them. On May 28, they were joined on stage by special guest Taj Mahal for the country classic ‘Six Days on the Road'. Taj Mahal and his band, famously performed as part of the Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus in 1968, and played with the Stones in 1997. On May 31, Sheryl Crow, who has performed with the Stones many times, and even supported most of the Bridges To Babylon tour, joined for ‘All Down The Line'. For their third and final performance on June 3rd, Taylor Swift dueted on ‘As Tears Go By', the song Mick and Keith wrote for Marianne Faithfull in 1964.

 

Comiskey Park (now Guaranteed Rate Field)
Lot E, Princeton Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

Rolling Stones photo credit E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune

The Rolling Stones' Forty Licks tour came to Comiskey Park on September 13th, 2002. For this special anniversary show, the band played rarities, covers and album tracks, including, Chicago's own Willie Dixon's ‘Little Red Rooster', the O'Jays' ‘Love Train', Bob Dylan's ‘Like A Rolling Stone', and ‘Undercover Of The Night', ‘Monkey Man' and ‘Neighbours'. The home of the Chicago White Sox, it was the first concert in the stadium's history and the band were supported by The Pretenders.

 

Aragon Ballroom
1106 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

In September 2002, 5,000 lucky Chicagoans got to see the Rolling Stones in the intimate surrounds of the Aragon Ballroom, where the band played a 20 song set, including full of rarities and cover versions. Perhaps the most memorable moments of the night were when Dr John joined the band to play Willie Dixon's ‘I Just Want To Make Love To You' and U2's Bono performed ‘It's Only Rock ‘n' Roll (But I Like It)' with the band. Part of the magic of the Forty Licks tour, was that the Stones played three different types of venues (theaters, arenas and stadiums) with three different types of setlist.

 

Chess Studios
2120 S Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616

The Rolling Stones recorded in the U.S. for the first time, at famed Chess Studios on South Michigan Avenue in June 1964. They recorded their single ‘It's All Over Now', as well as songs such as ‘Down the Road Apiece', ‘Time Is on My Side' and ‘Look What You've Done'. The band also meet Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Willie Dixon and Buddy Guy. They returned again in November 1964 and May 1965. Also recorded at Chess Studios was the band's song ‘2120 South Michigan Avenue', named in tribute to Chess Records, which appeared on their EP Five By Five and their 2nd US album 12x5, both in 1964.

"2120 South Michigan Avenue was hallowed ground," writes Keith Richards in his 2010 autobiography. "There in the perfect sound studio, in the room where everything we'd listened to was made...we recorded fourteen tracks in two days. One of them was... ‘It's All Over Now,' our first number one hit."

 

Checkerboard Lounge
423 E 43rd St, Chicago, IL 60653 (until 2005)

The Checkerboard Lounge was owned by Chicago blues legend, Muddy Waters, whose song ‘Rollin' Stone' the band were named after. In the middle of their 1981 North American Let's Spend The Night Together tour, the Rolling Stones were invited to the blues club by Muddy, and played an impromptu set with other Chicago blue greats, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells and Lefty Dizz. This magical night was captured on film, and released as a live album and DVD, Live At Checkerboard Lounge, Chicago 1981.

 

Chicago Blues Festival
Petrillo Music Shell, 235 S Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL 60604

Keith Richards joined Chuck Berry, Dr. John and Junior Wells onstage at Chicago Blues Festival in June 1986, just after the release of the Rolling Stones' new album Dirty Work whilst the band were on touring hiatus. A major influence on Keith, The Stones covered many of Chuck Berry's songs, including ‘Confessin' The Blues' and ‘Around and Around' from the band's 1964 EP Five By Five, which was recorded at Chicago's Chess Studios, and ‘Carol' from their 1964 debut album The Rolling Stones: England's Newest Hit Makers.

 

Buddy Guy's Legends
700 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605

The Rolling Stones were in the Chicago area to play Milwaukee's Summerfest in June 2015. Their old friend and special guest at the festival, Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy, invited the band to come to his nightclub Buddy Guy's Legends, where he played a set for them. Buddy had previously said of meeting his friends in 1964: "They were so damn wild back then I couldn't keep up with them. Just a bunch of kids playing the best music that you ever heard."

Buddy Guy talks about the Rolling Stones love of Chicago and the blues in the Meet The Band Room at Exhibitionism.

 

Summerfest
639 E Summerfest Pl, Milwaukee, WI 53202

During the band's set at Summerfest in Milwaukee on June 23rd 2015, the band played Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) for the first time in eight years and welcomed Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy on stage for a cover of Muddy Waters' ‘Champagne and Reefer'. The band have performed the duet with Buddy various times including at the Beacon Theater in New York in 2006 and at Chicago's Checkerboard Lounge in 1981.

Before the show, Mick posted a video to Twitter of him and Buddy together and Keith tweeted ‘Great news that Buddy Guy is joining us in Milwaukee', to which Buddy Guy replied ‘Hey man! Thanks for the invitation. I'll see you soon!'

 

Muddy Waters' House
4339 S Lake Park Ave, Chicago, IL 60653

Muddy Waters was arguably the greatest influence on the Rolling Stones — it was his song ‘Rollin' Stone', after all, that inspired their name. Legend has it that the Rolling Stones finally met Muddy in June 1964, at Chess Records, where he was up a ladder painting the ceiling. Often cited as the ‘father of modern Chicago blues', Muddy had a monumental impact not only on the Rolling Stones but on the genres of blues, rock ‘n' roll, folk, jazz and country as a whole. His longest permanent address, Muddy lived on South Lake Park Avenue between 1954 and 1974, where he also used the basement as a rehearsal space. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame posthumously in 1987, four years after his death.


Keith on Muddy Waters and recording at Chess Studios:
"I have several memories of Muddy Waters. The weirdest one is when we first went into Chess Studios in '64, the first time we came here... There's Phil Chess and there's Ron Malo, the engineer, and this guy in white overalls painting the ceiling. As we walked by into the studio, somebody said, Oh, by the way, this is Muddy Waters, and he's painting the ceiling. He wasn't selling records at the time, and this is the way he got treated... I'm dying, right? I get to meet The Man — he's my fucking god, right — and he's painting the ceiling! And I'm gonna work in his studios. Ouch! Oh, this is the
record business, right?... And bless him."

 

The Rolling Stones, ‘Hate To See You Go', & Chicago

As a tribute to the Chicago blues that inspired last year's studio album Blue And Lonesome, the music video for single ‘Hate To See You Go' was filmed around the city of Chicago. A 12-track album of blues cover songs, it features covers of songs of some of Chicago greatest blues musicians such as Buddy Johnson, Howlin' Wolf, and Willie Dixon. ‘Hate To See You Go' was written by Chicago blues great, Little Walter, and originally released in 1954.

 

Route 66 - Historic Chicago Start Point
122 Chicago Pedway System, Chicago, IL 60604

Route 66

The historic starting point of Route 66, that ran from Chicago through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona before ending at Santa Monica, California. The Rolling Stones covered the song ‘(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66', originally written by Bobby Troup, on their first album, 1964's The Rolling Stones: England's Newest Hit Makers, and they have played the song throughout their careers, most recently in Chicago in September 2002 on the Licks Tour.

 

Alpine Valley
2699 County Road D, East Troy, WI 53120

The Stones took their Steel Wheels tour for three sold out shows in Wisconsin, in September 1989. Elton John attended the September 11 show, watching from backstage, and he and 35,600 fans each night were treated to a 27
song setlist, including gems such as Willie Dixon's ‘Little Red Rooster' and the never previously played ‘2000 Light Years From Home'

Quote from Rolling Stone magazine's review of the tour:
"As for the Stones' own impressions of the tour, Richards could not be happier with how the shows have been proceeding. "They're going well, man, so far," he said, before going onstage at Alpine Valley, in East Troy, Wisconsin, on September 11th. "We're keeping our fingers crossed, and I'll hit the wood here, but, yeah, they're getting better every day. The band's really winding up now." Given the success of the tour and the initial response to Steel Wheels, Richards said, "this has been a dream year for the Stones as a band."

 

Indianapolis Motor Speedway
4790 W 16th St, Indianapolis, IN 46222

The Stones played a sold-out show to approximately 50,000 people at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Independence Day, 4th July 2015. The band played ‘Let It Bleed', which was chosen via fan vote and the concert ended with a 19-minute display of more than 10,000 fireworks.

 

The Dome at America's Center
901 N Broadway, St. Louis, MO

The Rolling Stones chose to film to film the Bridges To Babylon concert film in St Louis, Missouri in December 1997. The movie shows the wild and enthusiastic local crowds at this sold out show, and the innovative twin-stage set-up, with a smaller stage right in the centre of the audience, accessed from the stage by the Bridge. The stage model and designs are on display at Exhibitionism.

 

Crossroads Guitar Festival
Toyota Park, 7000 Harlem Ave, Bridgeview, IL 60455

 Ronnie Wood performs the Rolling Stones' ‘Miss You' with Buddy Guy and Johnny Lang at the Crossroads Guitar Festival, a series of music festivals and benefit concerts founded by Eric Clapton, near Chicago on June 26, 2010. A long-time friend, and influencer of the Stones, Buddy Guy first met the Stones at Chess Records in 1964. Ronnie told Rolling Stone magazine he flew from London to Illinois at the last minute to perform at the festival, drawn by the opportunity to perform with such great musicians:

"We get attracted like bees around a honey pot," he said. "One guitarist melds another one, and the line increases and increases. All the guys who influenced people like me, Jeff and Eric are here. People like Buddy Guy and James Burton and B.B. King - they're all here. It's wonderful."

 

Howlin' Wolf
Chess Records, 2120 S Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60616

Chicago musician, Howlin' Wolf, was a long-time influence and friend of the Stones. Famed for his rich, deep booing voice and his impressive height (he was 6 foot 6), his songs such as ‘Wang Dang Doodle', ‘Back Door Man' and ‘Little Red Rooster', which was covered by the Rolling Stones as a single in November 1964 and was included on their third US album, The Rolling Stones, Now!, became staples of the Chicago blues scene. The band introduced Howlin' Wolf on US TV show Shindig in 1965 and later released his 1971 Chess Records' album The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions on their own Rolling Stones Records in the UK.

 

BB King
Regal Theater, 4710 S Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Chicago, IL 60615

BB King

BB King, ‘King of the Blues', was a long-time influencer and later friend of the Stones, who laid the foundations of the Chicago blues sound that the Stones would be heavily influenced by in the 60s and beyond. He was known for introducing a type of guitar soloing based on fluid string bending and shimmering vibrato that became influential to many electric blues guitarists and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. His work, which includes songs such as ‘Three O'Clock Blues', ‘You Upset Me Baby' and ‘Every Day I Have The Blues', won 15 Grammys and was nominated for a further six in his lifetime. An energetic performer, he was also known for performing tirelessly throughout his career, still appearing at 200 concerts a year into his 70s. His acclaimed live album, Live At The Regal, was recorded at the Regal Theater in Chicago in 1964.

 

Willie Dixon
Willie Dixon Blues Heaven Foundation, 2120 Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616

A prolific blues songwriter and performer, Willie wrote such famed blues songs as ‘Hoochie Coochie Man', ‘I Just Want To Make Love To You', ‘Little Red Rooster', ‘My Babe' and ‘Spoonful'. The Rolling Stones first met Willie Dixon at Chess Studios in June 1964 and have since covered his songs both live and on record throughout their career — in December 1964, the band reached no.1 on the UK singles chart with their cover of Dixon's ‘Little Red Rooster' and they covered ‘I Just Want To Make Love To You' for their self-titled debut album the same year, as well as covering ‘Hoochie Coochie Man' with Muddy Waters at the Checkerboard Lounge in 1981 and covering his songs ‘Just Like I Treat You' and ‘I Can't Quit You Baby' on their most recent album, Blue and Lonesome. Willie Dixon's widow purchased the Chess Records building on South Michigan Avenue in 1997, saving it from demolition, and made it the new location of Willie Dixon's Blues Heaven Foundation, a blues music education foundation that also provides financial assistance to both emerging and established blues musicians.

 

Albert Collins
Curtom Studios, 1 North Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL, 60606

Famous for his distinctive guitar style, Albert Collins played guitar with his thumb and forefinger instead of a pick with his instrument tuned to an open F minor chord (FCFAbCF) with a capo on the 5th, 6th, or 7th fret. Although he didn't arrive in Chicago until the late 70s, it was there his recording career was revitalized with the 1978 release of Ice Pickin', a classic blues album cut at the defunct Curtom Studios on the Far North Side.

 

Bo Diddley
708 Club, 708 E 47th St, Chicago, IL 60653

Born in 1928 in Mississippi but later moving to Chicago, Bo Diddley was another Chicago blues legend who was a huge influence on the Rolling Stones and their peers and by 1951, he'd landed a regular spot at the 708 Club on Chicago's South Side. Diddley's guitar playing incorporated African beats, and his unique rhythmic patterns potentially inspired Buddy Holly's 'Not Fade Away', which the band covered for their first US Single. His contribution to blues music cannot be under estimated, with songs like, ‘I'm A Man', ‘Road Runner', ‘Hey, Bo Diddley!', ‘You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover', ‘Who Do You Love', ‘Mona' and ‘Cracking Up' just a few of his impactful compositions.

 

Hubert Sumlin
Symphony Center, 220 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60604

The Stones were long-time admirers of Hubert Sumlin, who played guitar with Howlin' Wolf from 1954 until 1976. He played guitar on the original recording of the Willie Dixon written ‘Little Red Rooster' by Howlin' Wolf, which was covered by the Rolling Stones in 1964 and reached no.1 on the UK singles chart. He also played on Howlin' Wolf tracks such as ‘Spoonful', ‘Smokestack Lightnin' and ‘Killing Floor' .

Inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 2008, he also was nominated for four Grammy awards, most notably in 2006 for his solo project About Them Shoes, which featured performances by Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Levon Helm, David Johansen and James Cotton. When he died in December 2011, the Rolling Stones paid tribute to their hero and friend. Mick said, "Hubert was an incisive yet delicate blues player. He had a really distinctive and original tone and was a wonderful foil for Howlin' Wolf's growling vocal style ... He was an inspiration to us all." Keith added, "Warm, humorous and always encouraging, he was a gentleman of the first order. Miss him, yes, but we have his records. All my condolences to his family. One love, Hubert." His last official concert in Chicago was at the Symphony Center on February 11, 2011.

 

Otis Rush
708 Club, 708 E 47th St, Chicago, IL 60653

Otis Rush moved to Chicago in 1948 and soon became an important part of the Chicago blues scene, playing regularly at the 708 Club throughout the 1950s. ‘I Can't Quit You Baby', written by Willie Dixon, was recorded by Otis Rush in 1956 and later covered by the Stones on their 2016 album Blue and Lonesome.

 

Jimmy Reed
Sylvio's, 2254 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60612

Jimmy Reed's influence on the Rolling Stones spans their whole career, from their early set lists which including covers of Reed songs such as ‘Ain't That Lovin' You Baby', ‘The Sun Is Shining' and ‘Bright Lights, Big City' right through to their cover of ‘Little Rain' on their most recent album Blue and Lonesome. The B-side of their February 1964 single ‘Not Fade Away', called ‘Little By Little', was a pastiche of Reed's ‘Shame, Shame, Shame'. It was also included on their 1964 first album, The Rolling Stones: England's Newest Hit Makers which also featured a cover of Reed's ‘Honest I Do'. Ronnie, like all the Stones, has a special love of Jimmy Reed's music, and in 2013, played shows in London and New York, of only Jimmy Reed songs. Jimmy Reed played at various locations in Chicago but notably Sylvio's, a club that also hosted performances by Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters.

 

Junior Wells
Checkerboard Lounge, 423 E 43rd St, Chicago, IL 60653

Junior Wells was an influential blues musician best known for his recordings with Muddy Waters, Earl Hooker and Buddy Guy. He also performed with the Stones at their now legendary performance at the Checkerboard Lounge in 1981.

 

Sonny Boy Williamson (II)
Chess Studios, 2120 S Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616

Sonny Boy Williamson gained a following in Chicago in the early 1950s after appearing there as a member of Chicago blues musician Elmore James's band and later released music with Chess Records, which gave him his greatest career success, recording around 70 songs for Chess subsidiary Checker Records between 1955 and 1964.

The Rolling Stones recorded Sonny Boy Williamson's ‘Stop Breaking Down' for their 1972 Exile On Main St. album.

Sonny Boy Williamson version:

The Rolling Stones version:

 


Exhibitionism, the Rolling Stones blockbuster exhibit, is the largest of its kind. An immersive, interactive music experience; featuring 500 rare Rolling Stones items spanning the bands continued influence on fashion, film, recording and art. See it at Chicago's Navy Pier, April 15 – July 30, 2017.

BUY TICKETS and learn more at StonesExhibitionism.com.

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