The Botched Rolling Stones Show in Athens 4 Days Before the April 21, 1967 Coup

The Rolling Stones concert in Athens four days before the April 21st, 1967 coup became the stuff of legend, as only five songs into the set police stormed the stage and stopped the show.

It was April 17 and at Panathinaikos football stadium 10,000 young Greeks paid a steep 120 drachmas (a newspaper or a souvlaki cost one drachma those days) to watch the sensational British rock band that rivaled the Beatles.

From people who were present, the atmosphere was electrifying and electrified as this was the first time a rock band came to play in Greece. Anticipation was sky-high for the event of the year.

Yet, the show was not to be remembered for the greatness of the music but for its disruption and the riot that broke out. Allegedly, during “Satisfaction”, Mick Jagger threw a bunch of red carnations at the audience. Police saw that and took it as a political act and stormed the stage to arrest the singer.

The show stopped, the audience started booing at the police officers, who retaliated by attacking the crowd and arresting several people.

At the time, the red carnation in Greece was a symbol of leftism and communism. It was a time of turmoil, with leftists and rightists sharply divided and fighting each other. Apparently, authorities took the Jagger gesture the wrong way.