- 05 Sep 18
To everything there is a season, we are told. Well, yes. So maybe the time is right for students to rise up and start marching again.
‘Street Fighting Man’ was the first single off the Rolling Stones’ album Beggar’s Banquet and was released within a week of savage confrontations between police and protestors at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Many radio stations refused to play it, claiming that it was subversive and might provoke further violence. But it still became part of the soundtrack to the riots.
It was, literally, a sensational year. The Viet Cong’s daring Tet Offensive in February stunned the US military in Vietnam, as it did the political establishment back home, delivering the first fatal blow to the US commitment to the war. So much so that President Lyndon Johnson opted out of running for another term. In April, Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis. In June presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy was shot dead in California. They do that in America.
‘Street Fighting Man’ was triggered when Mick Jagger heard the leftist intellectual Tariq Ali speak at a rally against the American war in Vietnam at London’s US embassy. Mounted police were on hand to control the 25,000 protestors. But Jagger was also inspired by the violent student revolt in Paris in May 1968.