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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 March 2008, 19:38 GMT

Resort lifts 44-year Stones ban

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
Council chiefs hope Mick and Keith could return to the resort

More than four decades after their gig at the Empress Ballroom finished in a riot, The Rolling Stones are finally being allowed back into Blackpool.

The former hell raisers were given an indefinite ban from the resort in 1964 after fans stormed the stage.

More than 50 people were taken to hospital after fans ripped up seats, threw bottles and smashed a piano.

But now council chiefs are writing to the Stones saying it is all over now - and have invited them back.

The band were bundled off stage as the ballroom erupted in violence, believed to have started after a member of the 7,000-strong crowd spat at guitarist Brian Jones.

Historian Terry Regan, who was in the audience, said: "Although I was a young bloke at the time I was quite scared.

The Stones on stage at the Empress Ballroom
Fans were determined to touch the band, a witness says

"There was a mass rush for the stage.

"There was a group of people, probably two or three hundred, determined to lay hands on the Rolling Stones."

The Stones tried to return to the resort a year after the incident to play at a different venue.

But the police watch committee refused them a licence, saying there would be too much trouble - a ban which has effectively kept the band out of the resort ever since.

However, it's a situation that current council leader Peter Callow would like to see remedied to bring some glamour back to the resort.

"I've given instruction to our council officers to write to The Rolling Stones to say: 'Right, the ban is lifted. We reach out the hand of friendship.'

"What I am saying is: 'Come back Mick, all is forgiven.'"

The Rolling Stones have not commented on the lifting of the ban.

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