Britain’s most anxiously awaited super-group made an auspicious debut at a huge outdoor concert in London’s Hyde Park on 7 June 1969.
Almost 7,000 people slept under the stars in the park all night to be sure of the best places in the crowd.
June 7 was a scorcher. By the time Blind Faith got to Hyde Park the crowd was 100,000 strong. With the sweet aroma of dope wafting on blue clouds from the audience, Blind Faith took to the stage at 5 pm.
Kids clambered on car roofs and shinned up trees for a better look as the chords of Buddy Holly‘s Well All Right blasted out.
Immediately after Hyde Park, the band flew off to Scandinavia, then America, where they would embark on one of the first stadium rock tours ever, supported by Island labelmates Free and little-known Southern rockers, Delaney and Bonnie.
At New York’s prestigious Madison Square Garden, the band with barely an hour’s worth of original material, a junkie drummer and a guitarist who already no longer wanted to be in the band walked out to a 15-minute standing ovation before they’d played a note.
At the end of Ginger Baker’s drum solo, he broke a stick and a chunk of it rolled to the front of the stage. A kid in the front row jumped up to get it and a security policeman attacked him. Baker jumped off his kit and smacked the cop on the back of the head. A riot ensued.
The audience’s mood grew uglier as seats, bottles, coins and handbags rained down from the balconies. Winwood’s piano was hauled off the stage and smashed as the fans rampaged for 45 minutes after the end of the show.
Winwood’s piano was hauled off the stage and smashed as the fans rampaged for 45 minutes after the end of the show.
For the 90-minute set, Blind Faith earned $120,000 and advanced ballyhoo guaranteed a worldwide chart-topping, platinum album, despite the controversy about the cover featuring a naked pre-pubescent girl holding a phallic silver aeroplane.
But the dissatisfaction of the participants led to their dissolving the group in less than a year.
No one’s been quite as keen on ‘supergroups’ ever since.