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When Blind Faith Made Their Debut In Hyde Park

On Saturday 7 June 1969, Blind Faith played Hyde Park in front of 120,000 people including Mick Jagger and his girlfriend Marianne Faithfull.

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Blind Faith Hyde Park

1969 was THE year of the festival – a stellar year by which all others have been judged. Across North America and the UK there seemed to be a festival happening somewhere, almost every weekend of the summer. The first major festival of the year was in Canada, the Aldergrove Beach Rock Festival that bizarrely starred the New Vaudeville Band and Guitar Shorty. In Britain the first Hyde Park show starred Eric Clapton’s new band, Blind Faith in front of a crowd of around 120,000

It was on Saturday 7 June that Blind Faith headlined the free concert that was organized by Blackhill Enterprises. Peter Jenner and Andrew King who were stalwarts of the London underground scene, having helped start the UFO club in Tottenham Court Road, ran Blackhill. Jenner had been a lecturer at the London school of Economics, and Blackhill ran their five-person business out of a converted shop just off Ladbroke Grove.

Blackhill were principally agents, and it was their acts that gained most from the Hyde Park concerts, which gave them a higher profile than they would have expected from gigging around Britain laying low-key gigs. During 1968, when Blackhill first approached the UK’s Ministry of Public Building and Works about the possibility of staging concerts in Hyde Park they were met with a resounding ‘no’. However, their persistence paid off, and on 29 June 1968 Pink Floyd headlined, supported by Tyrannosaurus Rex, Jethro Tull and Roy Harper.

The Blind Faith concert was the first of four concerts scheduled for 1969. Opening the show was the Third Ear Band along with Richie Havens, Donovan and the Edgar Broughton Band (no UK festival seemed to be complete without them). The stage they all played on was somewhat makeshift in appearance and was only about a meter or so high.

The music started around 2.30 pm and despite the crowd of 120,000 turning up on a really hot day it was barely reported by the national press and not much noticed by the pop press either. With the exception of Richie Havens, who as usual thrashed the living daylights out of his guitar, the bands never seemed to ignite the crowd. Perhaps they were anticipating guitar pyrotechnics from Eric Clapton, who along with Ginger Baker, Stevie Winwood and Rick Grech had formed Blind Faith, the new ‘supergroup’, a tag with which they had been saddled to describe the musicians’ pedigree.

Blind Faith took to the stage about 5pm and began their set with ‘Well All Right’ before going on to perform most of their debut album. It was a more bluesy set, closer to the kind of things Traffic had been playing than to Cream. According to Ginger Baker, “Eric had been doing amazing stuff, but at Hyde Park I kept on wondering when he was going to start playing. ” According to Clapton, “I came off stage shaking like a leaf because I felt that, once again, I’d let people down.”

“True, they weren’t as polished as Cream had been, but then again I don’t think there’s anything wrong in master-musicians playing a bit of a ‘woolly’ set. That’s what good rock’n’roll is all about. Play it a bit raw. Fluff up a bit here and there. Make mistakes. Who cares?”– Richard Evans, designer who later worked at Hipgnosis

Among the crowd were Mick Jagger and his girlfriend Marianne Faithfull. Having watched Blind Faith perform, soaked in the vibe and seen how many people there were watching, Mick decided that a free concert in Hyde Park to promote The Rolling Stones’ new single and get them back in the public eye would be just the thing for the band that had been through something of a low period. As a nod to Mick, who stood watching from the side stage, Blind Faith played ‘Under My Thumb’.

Mick Jagger told the Melody Maker a few days later, “I thought they were very nice. I was right at the back of the stage and couldn’t see them, but I thought somehow they were very strained. I guess they’ll get more together and Ginger was fantastic. He’s a beautiful drummer – the best drummer I have ever heard.”

Listen to the best of Blind Faith on Spotify.

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. daniel

    June 7, 2015 at 9:16 am

    trop bien ces super que de beaux souvenirs LOVE

  2. Colin

    June 7, 2015 at 10:19 am

    i was there in 69 to see the rolling stone, the crowd must have been over 300,000!

    • uDiscover

      June 7, 2015 at 10:34 am

      Colin, you are correct!

  3. Keven Mundy

    June 7, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    The DVDs of the Stones in Hyde Park 1969 is incomplete, there is clips on YouTube which are not on the DVD. No Expectations for example, lets have the full concert available asap.

    • uDiscover

      June 7, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      Keven, we think the tapes have been lost for many years.

  4. YILMAZ

    November 16, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    Many years before I was in longbeach USA for a few days. I bought BLIND FAITH a LP in sıde songs: do what you like, well alright, presence of the lord, ı cant find my way home, I’m still listening this very lovely album and Also great players like Steve windwood,Eric clampton, ginger baker, rich grech

  5. Jacqueline Calton

    June 7, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    I was also at the in Hyde park on this very day.
    Later on in life I became a very close friend of Jenny Gretch Rick’s wife. We all lived within doors of each other and his daughters grew up with my sons.
    Still long after he played with blind faith, he continued his music career until he sadly died. May he always RIP always missed by us as a family.

  6. Bruce Leventhal

    June 7, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    this was when EC figured out that it was really Delaney & Bonnie who were the real deal

  7. King JammyJam

    June 7, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    I was a teenager sat there thinking, “Why doesn’t he turn up the amp and play some BLUES???” Later, I realized how terrific those Blind Faith songs were. I was in the middle of that crowd and never had to pee so bad in my life!

  8. robert lovrecic

    June 9, 2019 at 10:51 am

    Forever and more

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