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Clearwater's history of rock

Photographs uncovered by the Clearwater Police Department delve into the city's past as a rock haven.

Published September 25, 2005

CLEARWATER - Today's Floridian section dishes about 1960s psychedelic rocker Jim Morrison and his Clearwater love connection.

But the search for photos of his days here also unearthed remnants of the city's rock heritage.

That's because Morrison wasn't the only luminary to set the night on fire.

On May 6, 1965, a melee erupted at a Rolling Stones concert at Jack Russell Stadium. Two photos were taken and until last week, sat in a Clearwater Police file.

The Roemans, with drummer Bertie Higgins of Key Largo fame, warmed up. Then the Stones started to play. "It was a bad venue," said Clearwater historian Mike Sanders. "Everyone felt disconnected. The police stood about 10 to 15 feet apart facing the crowd like sentinels."

The Stones made it through four songs before someone lobbed a roll of toilet paper. "Then someone else punched a policeman," he said.

More toilet paper flew. Fans rushed the stage. The cops shut down the concert.

But the night is notable for more than the ruckus. That night, rock history was made.

As lore has it, Keith Richards awoke at the Jack Tar Harrison Hotel (now the Fort Harrison) and came up with the opening guitar riff for (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction. In 2000, VH1 released its 100 greatest rock songs. Satisfaction topped the list.

Light My Fire, by Jim Morrison and The Doors, was number seven.

Rock on, Clearwater.

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