(When last we left Alan Rhody, he and his wife Kathy were sitting in the cofee shop of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis. The Rolling Stones concert the previous evening — an anniversary present to themselves — had been great. Now, checked out of the hotel [the Stones were staying on the twelfth ﬂoor there] Alan and Kathy were ﬁnishing up their evening meal and agonizing over whether to leave a city in which the Stones would be spending a tour day off.)
We had been on the fence during lunch. By the time we left the coffee shop, we were ready to see what rooms were available. Perhaps on the twelfth ﬂoor? I went to the desk and arranged to look at the available room on the "club" level of the Peabody Hotel. When the manager happened to come into the private lounge on the top ﬂoor as we were being shown around, he offered us a discount since it was our anniversary. That sealed it. We were now going to spend the night at the Peabody with the Rolling Stones down the hall! Were we crazy? A little, but we came to the accepted reality among most mortals that you only live once.
We were given complimentary champagne and hors d'oeuvres. The waiter in the club floor lounge was talkative enough, so I immediately picked his brain about what the boys' habits were, since he'd been serving them for a couple of days at that point. We learned that Keith Richards arose each evening around 7 p. m. and went to bed each morning between 6 and 7 a. m. It was around 6:30 p. m. by this time. A mild rush of excitement ran through me. As we sat there eating chocolate-covered strawberries and sipping champagne, I realized our luggage was still in the car. I left Kathy there and went to have our luggage brought up. Upon my return, Kathy was still there alone temporarily in hog heaven. Once we returned to our room, she told me:
"A guy that I think was Keith Richards came into the lounge while you were downstairs. He had a cigarette dangling from his mouth, looking like he'd just awakened, looking for some white wine."
"What! Are you sure it was him?"
"Yes, I'm pretty sure," she answered.
Once again I was in shock. Kathy said his young wife was in and out as well. She didn't think it was a good moment to intrude on their privacy. She was probably right, but... oh, Lord, why was my timing so bad.
I returned to the lounge promptly and planted myself there for quite some time. Nobody. A security man was planted at the end of the hall that led to their rooms."I didn't dare.
I was in the club lounge again at 7 a. m. for breakfast. Hoping. But no such luck. We slowly packed and made our way down to the lobby around noon. We found out the Stones had gone down to B. B. King's Blues Club the night before their concert and jammed, tearing the crowd apart.
We checked out and went to the old Sun Records studio where Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and many others had made recording history some thirty-five or thirty-six years earlier. I highly recommend the tour to anyone visiting Memphis. We'd been to Graceland on a previous trip. It's truly a trip in itself as well.
We drove back to Nashville with a copy of the Memphis paper and a smashing review of the Stones' great performance. I was filled with love, rock 'n' roll voodoo, a little anxiety and near-missed greatness.
So long Mick. Maybe another Time. As Chuck Berry so perfectly put it, C'est la vie.
Alan Rhody is a Louisville-born singer and songwriter who has penned hits for Lorrie Morgan, Ricky Van Shelton, The Oak Ridge Boys, Lee Greenwood and others. He can be contacted for performance schedules and product at: P. O. Box121231, Nashville, TN 37212.