Little did the Rolling Stones know how apt their name - inspired by the title of a Muddy Waters song,Rollin' Stone" - would turn out to be. Formed in 1962, they are the longest-lived continuously active group in rock and roll history.
They are also, according to a slogan that is supported by critical and popular consensus, "the World's Greatest Rock-n-Roll Band." Throughout four decades of shifting tastes in the arena of popular music, the Stones have kept rolling, adapting to the latest sounds and styles without straying too far from their origins as a blues-loving, guitar-based rock and roll band. In all aspects, theirs has been a remarkable career - and one with no apparent end in sight. ---Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum---
The Rolling Stones recorded their second single early in November 1963 “I Wanna Be Your Man”, given to them by the Beatles. The Fab 5 version came out three weeks later but not released in the US until the 90's.
Mick Jagger and keith Richards both born in Dartford, Kent, England are boyhood chums that loose touch with each other when Jagger's family moves out of their London neighborhood. The friendship is rekindled at age 18 when they meet by chance on a train.
Mick is an undergraduate at the London School of Economics, Keith is a student at the Sidcup Art School. The boys discover their common interest in R&B music. Mick is carrying Rhythm 'n' blues record albums newly purchased directly from "Chess Records" in Chicago USA. They decide to meet later and listen to each others records.
Jagger was a hardcore blues enthusiast, while Richards' interest leaned more toward Chuck Berry-style rock and roll. Despite their differences Richards is invited to join Jagger's group, Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys. While making the rounds of London blues clubs, Jagger and Richards befriended guitarist Brian Jones, a member of Blues Incorporated (fronted by Alexis Korner, a key figure in the early London blues-rock scene).
Brian Jones at the time was a blues guitarist and was calling himself Elmo Lewis after the traditional blues guitarist Elmore James. By the time he became a fixture on the British blues scene, Jones had already had a wild life. He ran away to Scandinavia when he was 16, by that time, he had already fathered two illegitimate children.
Brian, wanting to form is own R&B style band, placed an ad in the local "Jazz News" calling for musicians to audition for his new band. Among the musicians that showed up for the auditions, on Broadwick Street in the back room of The Bricklayer's Arms Pub, were acquaintances Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Brian already had a name picked out for the band, The Rollin'Stones, taken from a Muddy Water's song, Rollin' Stone Blues.
The trio of Jagger, Richards and Jones became roommates and musical collaborators. By now, Jagger and Richards had infiltrated Korner's inner circle, sitting in with Blues Incorporated at the Marquee Club. When Korner skipped one of his regular Marquee gigs to appear on a BBC radio show, Brian seized the opportunity to debut his group. And so it came to pass that the earliest version of the Rolling Stones - Jagger, Richards and Jones, plus bassist Dick Taylor (later of the Pretty Things), drummer Mick Avory (a future member of the Kinks) and keyboardist Ian Stewart (the Stones' lifelong road manager and musical contributor) - made their first public appearance on July 12th, 1963 at the Ealing Jazz Club.
Tony Chapman who replaced Mick Avery was similarly replaced on drums by the more accomplished Charlie Watts. Dick Taylor however could consider himself unlucky to be replaced on bass.... Bill Wyman was brought in purely because he had his own amplifiers!
The Rolling Stones performed an eight month gig at The Crawdaddy Club. It was there where they met their future manager Andrew Oldham who was a 19 year old publicist with experience working with Brian Epstein.
An entrepreneur and extremely clever, Oldham instantly came up with a niche for The Rolling Stones. Knowing that The Beatles were taking not just Great Britain but the USA by storm he instantly touted The Rolling Stones as the bad boys of rock-n-roll. Andrew Oldham was responsible for getting The Rolling Stones their first record contract at Decca. The Rolling Stones first single was a cover of Chuck Berry's "Come On".
The stones would go on to record a version of The Beatles “I Wanna Be Your Man” with great success and had the Beatles taking note. In 1964, The Rolling Stones struck pay dirt with their debut album with the same name and again recorded another cover... Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away”. This time eclipsing the earlier record with a spot on the charts at number 3.
Oldham, happy with the overall success of the Stone's music started to force Jagger and Richards into thinking about writing more of their own material and relying less on covering other bands hits. Oldham knew it was important for The Rolling Stones to create their own identity writing and performing original material. In 1965, the national anthem of Rock and Roll was written “Satisfaction (I Can’t Get No)”. This track opened the world’s eyes to this British band...nowhere near the squeaky clean fab four. In the next two years The Rolling Stones would begin an assault on the radio airwaves with ten additional tracks including: “Get Off Of My Cloud”, “19th Nervous Breakdown” and “As Tears Go By”. The Rolling Stones had become a rock-n-roll locomotive and a future classic rock legend.
In 1966 the band started to become part of the fabric of the 60’s hippie drug movement and started to experiment with drugs of all kinds. Their “Aftermath” album displayed versatility with songs like “Paint It, Black” and “Under My Thumb”. Their next album “Between The Buttons” displayed the prominence of drug use that Jagger, Richards and Jones used to influence their music and style. “Ruby Tuesday” and “Let’s Spend The Night Together” were hit tracks on the new album.
Before the album was released the Stones performed "Lets spend the night together" on the Ed Sullivan show. Unfortunately Ed and the producers forced the band to edit the lyrics to "lets spend some time together"... for the sake of the kids I suppose!
In 1967, “The Summer of Love”, Jagger, Jones and Richards were arrested for possession of drugs and narrowly escaped prison sentences.
Jagger and John Lennon went to India to see the Maharishi.
1968 - The band, ending a tenuous relationship, fired long-time Manager Andrew Oldham and hired Allen Klein to manage the Stones affairs.
“Beggar’s Banquet“ was released that year with 3-D cover art that the record company found objectionable.
Throughout the recording of Beggar's Banquet, Jones fell out of favor with the band due to his deepening substance abuse causing his physical and mental state to decline. Brian's performance suffered as a result. His resentment of Jagger's and Richards growing power over the band didn't help matters.
Jones left the band on June 9, 1969, claiming to be suffering from artistic differences between himself and the rest of the band. On July 3, 1969 — less than a month after his departure — Jones, the original founder and initial driving force behind the Rolling Stones was found dead in his swimming pool. His death was ruled “Death By Misadventure” but there have been countless rumors that have surfaced over how and why he died.
Guitarist Mick Taylor of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers replaced Brian Jones and on the week of his funeral “Honky Tonk Woman” went to number one. Taylor debuted with the stones at a July 5th free concert in London's Hyde Park marking the start of the 1969 Rolling Stones world tour and bidding farewell to Brian Jones. That year the “The World’s Greatest rock-n-roll Band" played to packed stadiums and arenas around the world.
On December 6, 1969 only 3 months after Woodstock, the Rolling Stones played a free concert at Altamont Speedway in Livermore California. The concert was the final show of The Rolling Stones American tour and was intended as a thank-you to the fans. This concert was a mistake from the get-go. 250,000 fans, food and water nearly unavailable, almost non-existent toilet facilities and Hells Angels for security! Seems like the drugged and boozed up Angels were there mostly to cause trouble. Before it was over 4 babies were born, and 4 people were dead. Including one Meredith Hunter stabbed and beaten by the Angels. This day long nightmare was forever captured on film in the eerie film documentary Gimme Shelter.
After the restless Mick Taylor departed The Rolling Stones in 1975 former Faces guitarist Ron Wood entered the line up.
The 1970’s like the late 1960’s were heavy with addiction for Keith Richards. Eventually Richards checked into rehab and cleaned up his act. The late 1970’s sparked a revival for the Stones as their music as well as their audiences had changed.