‘I thought they were going to take me with them!’: Foreigner’s Mick Jones on meeting the Beatles

At just 19 years old, guitarist Mick Jones found himself opening for Beatles at the Paris Olympia as a sideman with Silvie Vartan. Before you knew it, they were drinking buddies.

“This was the first time I had a little money,” Jones says in this A&E video, “and suddenly I’m playing on the same show as the Beatles. I’m like, ‘Oh, my god!’ I watched them every night from the side, for the first couple of nights. I’m in tears. It was so emotional.”

Jones, at that point, had managed a pair of small British hits, both in 1961 with a group called Nero and the Gladiators. Later, he helped revive Spooky Tooth in 1973, and then co-founded Foreigner with Ian McDonald and Lou Gramm in 1976. But not before adding acoustic to “Ding Dong” for the Beatles’ George Harrison on 1974′s Dark Horse — renewing a connection that had been forged a decade before, over scotch, after the Beatles’ appearance in Paris.

“One night, there was a curtain that would come up after we’d leave,” Jones adds. “Then the Beatles would shuffle on, and everybody would be bumping into one another. The curtain snagged on my guitar, and I cursed in English. John Lennon came up and said: ‘Hey, you English?’”

All of sudden, he was garnering an invite to have a drink — Scotch and coke, Jones says; “that’s what they drank at the time” — after the show. “And, from that day on, they took me under their wing,” Jones says. “I would come and go to the shows with them, stay at the hotel. It was just like ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ — crazy. Then they left! I thought they were going to take me with them!”

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