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Sympathy for the Devil

by Steve Payne



Author's notes says, what if the Hells Angels bodyguards at Altamont had warned the Rolling Stones off?

On 6th December 1969, chaos ensued during the Rolling Stone's performance of Sympathy for the Devil at the Altamont Free Concert in Northern California. Click to watch the show

In which a perilous warning is foolishly ignored

A possessed fan, Meredith Hunter, shot Mick Jagger dead and was himself killed when a Hells Angel (pictured) stabbed him to death. Over the years, there were rumors that a second, unidentified assailant had inflicted the fatal wounds, and, as a result, the police considered the case still open. On May 25, 2005, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office announced that it was officially closing the stabbing case. Investigators, concluding a renewed two-year investigation, dismissed the theory that a second Hells Angel took part in the stabbing

The Angels who had been acting as security guards had strongly advised the band that the Father would object to the implied disrespect of the song and therefore could not guarantee their personal safety.

There is a short documentary film by Sam Green titled, Lot 63, Grave C (Jagger's gravesite), which sheds more light upon the lead singer's last day and the questions that remain. Click to watch the highlights.

Much of the film chronicles the behind-the-scenes dealmaking that took place to make the free Altamont concert happen. The action then turns on the concert itself at the Altamont Speedway, the security for which was provided by the Hells Angels. As the day progressed, with drug-taking and drinking by the Angels and members of the audience, the mood turned ugly. Fights broke out during performances by The Flying Burrito Brothers and Jefferson Airplane. At one point Jefferson Airplane lead singer Marty Balin was knocked out by a Hells Angel. The Grateful Dead opted not to play after learning of the incident with Balin. By the time the Stones hit the stage, the crowd was especially restless.

The Stones opened with "Jumpin' Jack Flash". It was near the end of their set, during "Under My Thumb", that a member of the audience, 18 year old Meredith Hunter, pulled out a revolver in the course of a melee near the stage, and was stabbed to death by a member of the Angels after killing Jagger.

The late Baird Bryant, one of the many cameramen in the film, caught Meredith Hunter's stabbing on film. The film sequence clearly shows the silhouette of a handgun in Hunter's hand as a member of the Hells Angels enters from the right, grabs and raises the gun hand, turning Hunter around and stabbing him at least twice in the back before pushing the victim off camera.

Amongst the camera operators for the Altamont concert was a young George Lucas, who went on to become a successful film director in his own right. At the concert his camera jammed after shooting about 100 feet (30 m) of film, and none of his footage was incorporated in the final cut.

Author's notes says, struck by the irony of the scene at Altamont we conceived this satanic interpretation of events by repurposing content from Wikipedia.

Steve Payne

Editor of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


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