Sir Mick Jagger kicks off Royal Albert Hall’s 150th anniversary celebrations

Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter
·3-min read

The Royal Albert Hall has launched its 150th anniversary celebrations with a tribute to live music narrated by Sir Mick Jagger.

Directed by Bafta-nominee Tom Harper and titled Your Room Will Be Ready, the short film pairs images of the empty London venue with 40 pieces of concert footage from 1933 to the present.

Sir Mick, 77, reads an excerpt from For Friends Only by WH Auden against a backdrop of previously unseen footage of acts including Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell, Jimi Hendrix and US rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Also featured are rarities including Diana Ross’ debut at the Royal Albert Hall in 1973, restored footage of Led Zeppelin’s 1970 appearance and Peter Whitehead’s film of The Rolling Stones’ 1966 headline concert.

The 90-second video also draws from the BBC archive including footage of Dame Shirley Bassey, George Michael and Luciano Pavarotti, and Albert Einstein speaking out against the Nazis in 1933.

The Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall (Aaron Chown/PA)

More recent performers featured include Adele, Foo Fighters, Dizzee Rascal, Stormzy and Nigerian singer Wizkid.

Sir Mick said: “Without doubt The Royal Albert Hall is one of the greatest concert venues in the world and so I was delighted to be asked to read a short poem by WH Auden as part of this excellent short film by Tom Harper.

“I have some wonderful memories of performing there with The Stones in the 1960s when once or twice it did get a bit wild, with enthusiastic fans joining us onstage and almost bringing the show to an abrupt end – but we soldiered on and had a great time.

Rolling Stones gig
Sir Mick Jagger (Jane Barlow/PA)

“I would like to take this opportunity to wish the Royal Albert Hall a very happy 150th birthday and look forward to the future, seeing and listening to many fantastic artists and musicians performing onstage at this iconic venue.”

The Rolling Stones’ appearance in 1966, with opening acts Ike and Tina Turner and The Yardbirds, ended with a stage invasion and was captured on film.

Steven Price, the Oscar-winning composer for the film Gravity, recorded a score for the video at Mark Knopfler’s British Grove Studios with the Tippett Quartet.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences New Members Party 2019 – London
Director Tom Harper (David Parry/PA)

He said: “It was a huge honour to reunite with Tom Harper to make this short film, which that takes us from the empty corridors of the last months to the joy of the Hall at its glorious best. I can’t wait to be back, listening, laughing, celebrating and experiencing everything the Hall has to offer.”

The Royal Albert Hall’s 150th anniversary celebrations will stretch into 2022 and are expected to feature contributions from figures including singers Nile Rodgers and KT Tunstall, choreographer Matthew Bourne and composer Nitin Sawhney.

The Royal Albert Hall’s doors remain closed for the first time since the Blitz, with the charity losing £34 million in income and cancelling more than 330 auditorium shows.

More information here.