THE ROLLING STONES: March 1964 - June 1965

The promotional picture of the Rolling Stones with a new thin-edged AC80/100 is now well known:

Left, US Vox dealer photo no. 1; right the British original.

Click for a larger image. A detail showing the wonkiness of the logo - painted on a large initial print, then rephotographed.

The "amp" is just a box (no chassis inside) - Bill gives the game away, holding it with two fingers. The single letters for the logo were added later. Clearly the picture must have been taken in something of a hurry. It would have taken 10 minutes to add a logo - several hours, in 1964, to modify a print then rephotograph and develop it.

Amps in use

So far as we can tell, Bill acquired his first AC80/100 in late March / April 1964, ie. after the Stones' second UK tour.

  • Ryde 1964
  • Stevenage

Left, an AC50 at Ryde on the Isle of Wight (22nd Mar.) - there are eyewitness ; right, Stevenage (1st April).

Top Beat

The BBC's "Top Beat" programme, filmed at the Albert Hall, on 27th April 1964 (reliable sources give the 27th, and here - others give 8th April). Bill with his early AC50, and another one on a T60 in the background.

The "rule" after the acquistion of the new AC80/100 generally seems to have been that for gigs where one 18" Foundation Bass cab was to be used, Bill had the AC50 (or at least an AC50); when two cabs were to be driven, the AC80/100.

Occasionally - it is clearest in pictures from August 1964 - the band's AC80/100 and AC50 were used as PA amps.

1. Bill's AC80/100 with brown cloth and BASS logo

From pictures taken in the second week in April, it is evident that Bill had an AC80/100 with brown cloth, a BASS logo, and two speaker sockets one above the other, enabling (presumably as before) two Foundation Bass cabs to be driven.

Mod Ball
Mod Ball 3

Above, views of the Ready, Steady, Go! Mod Ball, 8th April 1964, Empire Pool, Wembley. One can just make out the "BASS" logo on the front of the amp. Underneath, a view from back view of the stage.

Backstage a small-box AC50 (as backup) and more or less directly in front of it, the back panel of Bill's AC80/100 on his speaker cab. The serial number plate is far right, then the mains connector, the white warning plaque, and on the left two speaker outputs one above the other. Note that one grey cable goes to the cabinet underneath the amp, the other doubtless to the cab on the far side of the stage.

The arrangement of the back panel is identical to this fine thin-edged AC80/100 , currently in Florida.

Bill's first AC80/100

Above, a schema of the arrangement of the back panel of Bill's first AC80/100.

Vox AC100, no. 150

Serial no. 150, in a private collection in Florida. For its brown grille cloth see .


Croydon, Fairfield Hall, 14th April 1964. The AC80/100 (?) on the stage surface.

A couple of weeks later the Stones are onstage again at the Empire Pool Wembley for the NME Pollwinner's concert (26th April); and there appear to be no less than three AC80/100s on stage with them - Paul McCartney's on his T60 bass cabinet, and two on the lower shelf of a sort of platform/trolley. One can see those on the trolley most clearly in the clip at 5:48. It may be that they were reinforcement of some sort for the PA, though it has to be said that Keith Richard's guitar sounds unusually full.

  • NME Concert 1964
  • NME Concert 1964

Above, stills from the concert, the first with McCartney's AC80/100 and T60 cabinet also in view.

The second amp is partly obscured by the base of the microphone stand, and the third is to the far right. Further stills from the concert .

NME Concert 1964

Keith from some unknown concert probably in Spring 1964. Note the BASS flag on the AC80/100 to his right.

Below a picture said to have been taken at St George's Hall, Bradford, on 14th May:


The photograph was one of a set in 2009 for £600. On the Stones' gigs in 1964, see . Wikipedia is completely unreliable.

Note the lack of a BASS flag on the amp. Perhaps by this time it had come off.


Brian Jones still with his Gretsch - the Vox teardrop arrived before the US tour in June 1964. On stage, either two AC50s and an AC80/100, or two AC80/100s and an AC50. The amp Brian is switching on certainly looks like an AC80/100 with a solid back panel and Bulgin connector low down on the right. The amp further up the stage looks like an AC80/100 too.

  • San Bernardino
  • San Bernardino

San Bernardino, Swing Auditorium, 5th June 1964, first date of the first US Tour. Left: top three pics, the Stones; lower three, the Byrds. Right: the Standells, the bassist using Bill's AC80/100.

San Antonio

San Antonio, 6th June 1964, second date on the first US Tour. Note that Charlie has a hired drum kit and Keith and Brian have Gibson amps. There are further images in 'The Lost Rolling Stones Photographs: The Bob Bonis Archive', ed. Larry Manion (2010).

  • Carnegie Hall
  • Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall, 20 June 1964, last date on the Stones' first American Tour. Bill has Keith's Fender Showman; Keith has instead a Fender Super Reverb - the AC80/100 bass is not present. Pictures from .

The Mike Douglas Show, 25th June 1964, with the same set up as at Carnegie Hall, above.

1a. An AC80/100, with brown cloth, but no BASS runner

  • Longleat
  • Longleat

Longleat House, 2nd August 1964, second date on the Stones' third UK tour. Note that the AC80/100 is brown fronted. Pictures from the and .

A clip of the concert, without sound.


Richmond Jazz and Blues Festival, 7th August, 1964. The amp is just visible in the view from back of stage.

2. An AC80/100 with multiple connectors and black cloth

For more on this amp, , where larger photographs are given.


Wimbledon Palais, August 14th or 15th, 1964. An AC80/100 in view, volume maxed out. Note the unusual arrangement of output sockets - three appear to be connected. Pictures from Getty Images (nos 145042884 and 3270626).

The short Pathe film showing the Stones at Hull in September 1964 (on the Stones' third UK tour). What one can see of the back of Bill's amp at Hull appears to match up with shots taken at Wimbledon.

On this tour, Brian Jones had the brown-fronted AC50 with a brown-fronted Foundation Bass cab - presumably to add girth to the sound of his Vox Teardrop guitar.

Probably the most visible instance of the Stones with AC80/100s however, was on 20th October 1964, at Paris, Olympia - Bill using his standard set-up, and Keith (not Brian) with a glorious Beatle-style 4x12.

  • Olympia
  • Olympia
  • Olympia
  • Olympia
  • Olympia

Bill with his AC80/100, Brian with an AC50 Foundation set up, and Keith with the 4 x 12".

Santa Monica

Rehearsals for the TAMI show, Santa Monica, 29th October, 1964. Photograph by Bob Bonis.

3. Another AC80/100, probably black cloth, tidy back panel

  • Long Beach
  • Long Beach
Long Beach

Long Beach concert, 1st Nov. 1964, second date on the second US tour. Note the tidy pair of Cannon XLR output sockets beneath the white warning plaque. Note that this is the arrangement of the back panel of serial no. 206 (though 206 has lost its plaque - thin-box AC80/100s part 2). Photographs by Jerry Long on the site.

  • Cleveland
  • Cleveland
  • Cleveland

Cleveland, 3rd November 1964. Photographs by George Shuba.

Bill at the Beeb

Bill at the Beeb 1964/1965

By April of 1965, however, Wyman seems to have taken receipt of a further black-grilled AC80/100, which can be seen in pictures and film from the NME Pollwinner's Concert (11th April).

NME Concert 1965

A shot of Brian Jones with Bill's Foundation bass rig, lower far left, and one of the Beatles cabs and amps (an AC50 in this case) behind it. In the middle, to the right of Brian, someone else's thin edged AC80/100. Note that Bill's amp has a BASS logo.


Fresno, California, 22nd May 1965. Note that Bill's amp has no logo, as in the Vox promo shot lower down on this page. The video clip only has sound very sporadically.

The video below (with overdubbed sound) shows the new rig, albeit fleetingly, on stage at Yteri Beach, Finland, 25 June 1965.

Foundation Bass

In late 1965, Bill was to advertise a form of his set-up for Vox, though only one 18" Foundation Bass cabinet is pictured. The AC80/100 thin-box head was evidently some sort of display/demo unit as it no "VOX" logo

For further pictures of the Stones with AC100s in 1965 and 1966-67, see .

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