Fintan O’Toole: The marching, charging feet of 1968

Fifty years ago the world was on the brink of revolution. Then the right struck back

Czechoslovakia, August 1968: Prague residents and students on  top of a Soviet tank in Wenceslas Square. Photograph: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images

Czechoslovakia, August 1968: Prague residents and students on top of a Soviet tank in Wenceslas Square. Photograph: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images

In April and May 1968 the Rolling Stones were in the Olympic studios in west London recording a pulsating new track. The music had previously been attached to a different song, but Mick Jagger had come up with new lyrics after he was in the crowd at a demonstration against the Vietnam War that was charged by the police: “Everywhere I hear the sound of marching, charging feet, boy / ’Cause summer’s here and the time is right for fighting in the street, boy.”

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