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The Rolling Stones arrive in Cuba for historic concert

Members of the Rolling Stones, from left, Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, bottom, Keith Richards and Ron Wood, arrive at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, Cuba, on Thursday. (Ramon Espinosa / Associated Press)
Members of the Rolling Stones, from left, Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, bottom, Keith Richards and Ron Wood, arrive at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, Cuba, on Thursday. (Ramon Espinosa / Associated Press)
Associated Press

HAVANA – The Rolling Stones arrived in Cuba’s capital Thursday, on the eve of the rock band’s historic free concert in a country where its music was once silenced.

Mick Jagger offered a brief greeting in Spanish and said he was happy to be on the island.

Friday night’s concert will come three days after President Barack Obama wrapped up a visit to the communist-run island during which he declared an end to the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas.

The band’s private plane flew into Jose Marti airport with the four British rockers and about 60 technical workers and family members. The concert will be at Havana’s Ciudad Deportivo.

“We have performed in many special places during our long career, but this show in Havana will be a milestone for us, and, we hope, for all our friends in Cuba, too,” the band said in a statement released before the arrival.

In the heat of Cuba’s revolution from the 1960s to the 1980s, foreign bands like the Rolling Stones were considered subversive and blocked from the radio. Cubans listened to their music in secret, passing records from hand to hand.

The band’s Cuba stop follows concerts in Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina and Mexico.

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