Up and Down with The Rolling Stones … by Tony Sanchez

This was the first book I read on the Rolling Stones when I was around 13. It’s an easy but dark read. It’s written by Tony Sanchez, Keith’s drug dealer and sometimes partner in crime. Tony was also a photographer who took photos of the Stones and the Moody Blues. Spanish Tony, as he was called hung around with the Stones, Moody Blues and also knew the Beatles.

It’s full of wrecked cars, heroin, dead friends, sleazy characters, and some eventful journeys. At first, I would take some of the stories with a grain of salt but most of the events were verified by Keith’s book “Life.”

Spanish Tony and Keith Richards

Tony Sanchez and Keith Richards

Tony had some underworld connections like the famous Kray Twins of the 60s. He opened a club with some backing from the Stones and according to him saved Keith from some setups from time to time with his connections. The Nellcote in France period is covered well and the film of the 1972 tour that was never released except for a bootleg was explained.

Anita Pallenberg came off looking worse than anyone. Tony talks about Anita’s interest in black magic, Kenneth Anger, and how she would practice some of the rituals. He described her as a very nasty and petty woman, especially to Bianca. She was first with Brian…then with Keith and a brief spell with Mick. Marianne Faithfull was also a subject in the book and she came off really well.

Tony and Keith were pretty tight. On the original back cover of Beggars Banquet you can see “Spanish Tony Where Are You” written on the wall. He had been out of the country at that time.

Spanish Tony and Keith Richards2

Anita Pallenberg, Tony Sanchez, Keith Richards

The book concentrates on Keith and Mick…big surprise there…also on Brian Jones. He goes through the dynamics between the three.  He talks about the bust at Redlands and Tony trying to bribe some high-ranking police investigators to “lose” the evidence but it didn’t work.

He tells one story that happened at Mick Jagger’s 26th birthday party at the club that Tony partly owned (The Vesuvio Club) and the DJ was playing the Stones new song Sympathy for the Devil…In walks, Paul McCartney with the Hey Jude and Revolution demo single under his arm and it was played… people went nuts. Tony said that Mick felt upstaged…After that Tony had his cousin…a big Beatles fan…attempt to drive John Lennon home…but he could hardly drive the car because he was so nervous…John and Yoko were jerked all over the back seat so John ended up getting out and walking…

There are some funny stories in this about Keith and the world he created.

Tony was with the Stones until 1976 and he just walked away after some confusion backstage over a backstage pass…He was carrying dope to someone and so he says he checked himself in rehab.

If you are a Stones fan you should like it.

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

16 thoughts on “Up and Down with The Rolling Stones … by Tony Sanchez”

  1. Your right Max about taking these books with a grain of salt as if they were doing so many drugs how the hell would you remember anything?! I mean ask me what I had for supper 3 days ago and I have no idea why and I’m sober! lol

    Liked by 3 people

    1. LOL… yea Keith didn’t like the book at first but then he pretty much confirmed most of the stories. I don’t see how the hell anyone of them remembered anything…I’m the same way as you.

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  2. Perhaps shamefully, I’ve never read a book about the Stones. Based on your post and other stuff I’ve read, once again, it becomes clear it borders on a miracle that Mick and Keith made through all their excesses. But as we’re also reminded, not everybody did. Brian became sadly became a casualty.

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  3. This looks good. I didn’t know about this book at all. I’ll remember the ‘grain of salt’ caution, but will enjoy the anecdotes for what they are, such as the one about Sympathy for the Devil. I thought Keith’s ‘Life’ was an excellent read, so this will be a good follow up. I read it long enough ago that I don’t remember much about Spanish Tony in it.

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    1. Well after Keith’s book…he verified many of the stories people were sceptical about. I have to wonder if Keith didn’t read this book to bring back memories. Spanish Tony had a lot of links to the major bands….and those Kray twins I have read about.

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  4. Again one wonders how Keith ever survived to such a ripe old age! I kind of agree with Deke – I guess there are people who have clear, precise memories of daily events back several decades ago, but I don’t…my memory’s like a mosaic or something… lots of pictures and video snippets but it’s pretty near impossible to remember the majority of specific days or even things like who taught gym in Grade 7, or what was Christmas ’77 vs Christmas ’78. Add in all the intoxicants they were taking and if they do remember it crystal-clearly, that’s amazing! But still , makes for an interesting read and I’m sure gives you a good overview at least of what their life was like back then.

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    1. Yes and Keith’s book drove these stories home. I just told run sew run that I bet Keith read this book before he wrote his own for the memories. Spanish Tony wrote this in 79 I think…so it wasn’t that far after the fact.

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    2. With all those hazy days nowadays things must all meld together as far as dates, years, excesses and ingesting of things went. And those Kray twins were scary guys either to be up against, or friends with or dealing with on any level.

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      1. Most books I read about UK in the mid-sixties always mention the Kray Twins in the middle of everything that dealt with money. They did some favors for Spanish Tony but not without strings attached. I would like to read something about them.

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  5. I remember when reading “Life” I wondered why in the hell did Keith stay with Anita so long. If I ever get time to read this one I will. Sounds good. Funny to think of you as a 13 year-old reading it.

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      1. Kids can always get their hands on “taboo” subjects. My best friend who lived across the alley from me had a dad who mowed through pulp fiction and she always managed to lift them for us to read. I tell you some of those were def not something a kid should have been reading!

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