Music History

Let’s Be Clear: That “Historic” Rolling Stones Gig in Cuba Wasn’t Really That Historic

Much was made about the historic gig played by the Rolling Stones in Cuba back on March 25. “A Western rock band finally plays a show in Communist Cuba! An appearance by a major international rock act! Unprecedented!”

Just hang on, sunshine.  Some people aren’t consulting history.

Audioslave did a gig there in 2005. They’re credited as being the first American rock band to perform an open-air show in the country.

The Manic Street Preachers played a show at the Karl Marx Theatre in Havana in 2001.

But we can also go all the way back to 1979 for an event called Havana Jam. This was a Latin-and-jazz flavoured event that also featured appearances by Stephen Stills and Billy Joel.

That rot about the Stone being the first major international act to play Cuba? Rubbish.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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3 thoughts on “Let’s Be Clear: That “Historic” Rolling Stones Gig in Cuba Wasn’t Really That Historic

  • Audioslave?Manic Street Preachers? Ptui. Just as a matter of interest do you think anyone will even have known these groups existed in another 20 years ?
    THAT’S the difference.

    • Not the point. People were saying that the Rolling Stones were the first Western rock band to play Cuba. I’m simply saying that’s not true.

  • The Sam Roberts Band played a free show in Havana last summer.


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