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" however 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.

Bill with his AC50 at Ryde on the Isle of Wight, 22nd March, 1964. There are eyewitness .

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.

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

April 1964 - mid 1965

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

The Mad Mod Ball, Empire Pool, Wembley, 4th April 1964. The back of Bill's first AC80/100 - two latching Cannon XLR-3-13 speaker sockets one above the other, and a Bulgin mains socket - is just visible through the railing at right. Is there an unused screw hole on the top edge of the back panel above the uppermost speaker socket?

The Mad Mod Ball - the stage, showing the early AC50 (and cover) as spare.

Above, views of the Ready, Steady, Go! Mod Ball, 8th April 1964, Empire Pool, Wembley. The spare anmp is an AC50 Mark 1 in a thin-edged box. In the picture taken from the audience, one can just make out the "BASS" logo on the front of Bill's AC80/100.

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 .

NME Concert 1964

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


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, Swing Auditorium, 5th June 1964, first date of the first US Tour - the Standells' 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 .

26th June, 1964, Alexandra Palace, Ian Stewart sorting cables.

Detail from the above.

Detail of the amp on stage at the NME Poll Winner's concert, 11th April, 1965.

Vox AC100, no. 150

The front of the amp, currently in Florida.

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

Second half of 1964

Bill Wyman's second AC80/100 - brown grille cloth, V O X in individual letters - pictures from the concerts at Longleat House (2nd August, 1964) and Olympia, Paris (20th October, 1964).

Longleat, the stage apron. The thin-edged AC50 is the PA amp, two microphones feeding into it. Brian and Keith have an AC30 each. The AC80/100, with two Foundation Bass speaker cabs, is Bill's.

A detail of the AC80/100.


Detail from the pic. above.

At right, the top of the amp, one guitar lead plugged in. Detail of picture from Getty Images.

A clip of the concert, without sound.

Paris, Olympia, 20th October, 1964. Detail of picture from Getty Images. The arrangement of diamonds on the grille cloth shows that this is the amp used at Longleat.

3. An AC80/100 with multiple connectors and black (?) cloth

Second half of 1964

A third AC80/100 used by the Stones (Bill Wyman). Its distinctive back panel - with speaker sockets of various types - is known from a shot taken at the Wimbledon Palais, 14th August, 1964.


Wimbledon Palais, 14th August.


A schema of the back panel.

For more on the concert, , where larger photographs are given.

It is clear from details below that this was the amp that Bill had at the 4th National Jazz and Blues Festival, Richmond, 7th August:


General view of the stage.

Part of the amps's distinctive panel glimpsed on the Richmond stage through Keith's AC30 stand.

A sliver of the front of the amp at Richmond, caught in a picture of Mick Jagger.

A shot taken backstage before the recording of an episode of "Thank Your Lucky Stars", 29th November, 1964.

This amp is clearly not the one seen on stage at Longleat on 2nd August (Bill's second AC80/100) - compare the arrangement of the diamonds on the grille cloth.

Longleat, 2nd August, 1964 - Bill's second AC80/100.

Below, Essen, Grugahalle, 13th September, 1965. Is this Bill's third AC80/100 (as seen at Wimbledon and Richmond, above)? - the white banana plug sockets removed, the serial number plate moved to cover the holes, and the chassis as a whole now in a thick-edged box.

Note far right on the back panel the Bulgin mains connector, a distinctive feature of the Wimbledon/Richmond amp. Bulgins are not common on AC100s.

Late 1964

Hull, 21st September

The short Pathe film showing the Stones at Hull in September 1964 (on the Stones' third UK tour). 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 AC100 SDL - a JMI loan amp.


Bill with AC80/100 (3), no BASS logo; Brian with the JMI loan 4 x 12", and Keith plugged into an AC30.

4. Another AC80/100, tidy back panel, no Bass logo

Second US Tour, 1964 to early 1965

It is likely that the amp seen with Bill below is the same as the one the one pictured in the section above.

Santa Monica

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

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.

  • Cleveland
  • Cleveland
  • Cleveland

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

A detail from a shot of Bill's amp at the ABC Belfast, 6th January, 1965, no BASS logo. The pattern of the grille cloth matches the amp used by Bill in Paris, October 1964 (see above).


5. A further AC80/100 - a backup amp - BASS logo

First US tour, 1965

By April of 1965, however, Wyman seems to have been provided with a further AC80/100.


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.

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.

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

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