September 17, 2021

The Stones take a Cruise into history

Keith Richards and his pal Mick Jagger take a cruise to Brazil and come up with a brand name for themselves.


Anyone who still thinks cruising is for old folks may be surprised to learn that way back in 1968 Mick Jagger and Keith Richards embarked on a cruise with their girlfriends from Lisbon, Portugal to Rio de Janeiro. An ocean voyage can replenish the creative well and the songs that sprang from their transAtlantic crossing included Honky Tonk Women, which the songwriting pair composed upon reaching Brazil.

While at sea, Jagger and Richards were regulars at the ship’s bar where a British couple thought the two looked familiar but couldn’t quite place them. “C’mon, give us a clue. Give us a glimmer,” they would say to the two young Englishmen, and that’s how Jagger and Richards came to call themselves The Glimmer Twins.

When the Rolling Stones toured the U.S. the following year, their opening act was blues musician B.B.King, one of the greatest guitarists of all time. In 1990 the first B.B. King’s Blues Club opened in Memphis, followed by other locations, including Los Angeles and New York. Then, in 2013, the first B.B. King’s Blues Club at sea opened on Holland America’s Eurodam. The ship’s Queen’s Lounge had been transformed to resemble the Memphis club and limited engagement performances were given by an eight-piece B.B. King Blues Club Band featuring two vocalists backed by a drummer, bassist, guitarist, sax player, trumpet player and Hammond B-3 organ player.

This first onboard B.B. King’s Blues Club proved so popular, Holland America has since created the same venue on other ships, including Noordam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Westerdam, Zuiderdam and Oosterdam. Exclusive specialty cocktails are served, such as the rum-based Lucille and Rock Me Baby concoctions mixed with different fruit liqueurs and juices. The Glimmer Twins, now in their seventies, would feel right at home in a bar like this.

About Anne Vipond

Anne Vipond is the author of several guidebooks to cruising destinations around the world. She draws on an extensive sailing background to impart her enthusiasm for cruise travel. From her home port of Vancouver, she travels by cruise ship to a wide range of destinations to keep her books current and useful for her cruise readers. Her cruising articles have been published in magazines and newspapers throughout North America and over seas.