KEITH Richards is said by aides to be “chuffed to bits” that Britain’s largest guitar band is to stage a 50th anniversary tribute to Rolling Stones classic ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ at Guitars On The Beach this weekend (Saturday, June 15).
As a nod to what organisers are calling “the greatest rock and roll riff in the world”, the self-proclaimed “greatest band on the sand in the world” – which has in some years numbered more than 2,000 guitarists – are to perform ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ on the beach in the shelter of the town’s famous Cobb harbour.
Hundreds of guitarists of all ages and abilities are expected to take part in the annual mass play-along event, which in 2013 set the UK record for the largest guitar band playing simultaneously, when 2,267 guitarists performed together.
And Rolling Stones singer and guitarist Keith Richards is delighted that the song, which was inspired by his gardener Jack Dyer, is to be given the very big band treatment.
“Keith is chuffed to bits,” said a Stones spokesman.
A spokesman for Guitars On The Beach (GOTB) explained: “It’s 50 years since ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ became the highlight of the Stones’ free gig in Hyde Park in the summer of ‘69 and it’s been part of every Stones gig ever since, so we are celebrating that.
“Every year GOTB picks songs with simple riffs that our band on the sand finds easy to play and this year we’ve chosen the greatest rock & roll riff in the world.”
GOTB was launched in 2013 when the guitarists performed Buddy Holly’s ‘Rave On’. A year later, an unaudited mass band said to number some 3,000 players were led by Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan on ‘Smoke On The Water’.
But over the years the sand band has asked for more than one song to play, so this year organisers are giving them a 14-song set, which includes Steve Harley’s ‘Come Up And See Me’, Neil Young’s ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’, ‘Born To Be Wild’ by Steppenwolf and Joe Walsh’s ‘Life’s Been Good’.
“Our guitarists can dip in and out, playing along as they like,” said the GOTB spokesman.
“They can play the whole set or just one or two songs. There’s no rules, it’s just a fun event.
“We have noted that Keith is not playing on the day, as the Stones’ No Filter tour doesn’t start until June 21 in Chicago, so if he’d like to pop down and lead us on probably his greatest-ever song, we’d be very pleased to see him!”
Having taken on a “rock against climate change” theme, this year’s Guitars On The Beach will be promoting Plastic Free Lyme Regis, Turn Lyme Green and the Bridport branch of Extinction Rebellion.
The event will also celebrate cocktail season and GOTB sponsor SWIM on Marine Parade is creating a Guitars On The Beach ‘rocktail’ especially for the occasion.
To encourage more musicans of all ages and abilities, organisers of the event are opening it up to all instruments this year.
The spokesman added: “Although GOTB is aimed at encouraging people of all ages to learn to play the guitar or to learn to play it better, if you haven’t got a guitar then come along and bang a tambourine, or join in on a violin or whatever. One chap we know in London is aiming to bring his bagpipes.
“Another of our sponsors, Andertons Music Company, is kindly donating a very special prize which is a valuable guitar of which there is only one in the world, along with 10 acoustic guitars which will be provided to play on the day for guitarists who forget to bring their instrument.”
All details and chord sheets for the play-along songs at www.guitarsonthebeach.com