The Rolling Stones
English rock band, The Rolling Stones, touted as the longest-serving rock band is famed for being at the forefront of the 1964 British Invasion and is easily identified with the defiant and youthful counterculture of the 1960s. While they began their music journey producing a sound akin to the popular pop rock that had been thriving in the early 1960s, this band came to be known for pioneering the heavier-driven sound that soon characterized hard rock.
The group’s first consistent line-up included the following musicians:
- Brian Jones
- Mick Jagger
- Keith Richards
- Bill Wyman
- Charlie Watts
Formation of The Rolling Stones
Founding members, Jagger and Richards became classmates and friends during their childhood in 1950 in Dartford, Kent. In 1954, Jagger and his family moved to Wilmington, Kent. He would soon form a garage band with Dick Taylor, who together often played songs by a number of music icons, including Chuck Berry.
Jagger and Keith once again met on the second platform of Dartford Railway station on October 17, 1961. After realizing that they both shared an interest in Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry records, the trio, now consisting of Keith, Jagger and Taylor often met at Jagger’s house to play music. In late 1961, they moved to Taylor’s house where Bob Beckwith and Alan Etherington joined them. The quintet named themselves the Blues Boys.
The Blues Boys and Blues Incorporated
The Blues Boys found out about Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated in March 1962 and forwarded a tape of their recordings to Alexis, who was impressed. They then visited Ealing Jazz Club on April 7, where they were introduced to members of Blues Incorporated, including the following:
- Charlie Watts (the band’s drummer)
- Ian Stewart (the band’s keyboardist)
- Brian Jones (the band’s guitarist)
Richards and Jagger began jamming with the band shortly after that meeting.
Brian Jones, after leaving Blues Incorporated advertised in Jazz Weekly that he was looking for bandmates. Ian Stewart got them a practice space, and both of them started a band which was playing Chicago Blues. Jagger, Richards and Taylor soon left Blues Incorporated to join Stewart and Jones.
Their first rehearsal included vocalist Brian Night and guitarist Geoff Bradford, however they both decided not to join the new group. By June 1962, drummer Tony Chapman had joined, completing the line-up of Richards, Jagger, Taylor, Jones and Stewart.
The Rolling Stones
Jones is said to have named the band while speaking to Jazz News about the group. Apparently, he saw a Muddy Waters LP on the floor with one of the tracks titled ‘Rollin’ Stone”, and decided to name the band, The Rollin’ Stones.
In July 1962 the band performed their first show at the Marquee Club in London. They started their first UK tour shortly afterwards and had built quite a massive following by 1963. Two opinion polls conducted in 1964, ranked them as the most popular band in Britain, surpassing even the Beatles.
The band changed their name to “The Rolling Stones”, while their manager at the time, Giorgio Gomelsky helped them secure a residency at the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond, London.
Andrew L. Oldham was assigned as their manager in May 1963. Andrew was at the time younger than all the other members. He initially tried to use the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein’s strategy by making the band members wear suits. However, the idea was quickly scrapped. At the end of the day, he decided that the band should be a contrast to the Beatles with a more raunchy, unclean and unpredictable appearance. Decca Records, who refused to sign the Beatles, signed the Rolling Stones to one of the most favorable recording contracts.
Notable Accomplishments of The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones have an estimated sales of about 240 million records globally putting them among the few best-selling music artists of all time. They are credited with holding three of the world’s highest-grossing tours. The tours in question are as follows:
- Voodoo Lounge tour
- A Bigger Bang Tour
- Bridges to Babylon
In 1989, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The band is also tied with Robbie Williams and Elvis Presley for having the second-most Number 1 albums on the UK official charts, outshined only by the Beatles.
Over the span of their 57-year career as of this writing, this legendary rock band has received three Grammy Awards out of twelve Grammy nominations. They have also been the recipients of the 1991 Juno Award for International Entertainer of the Year.
Other notable awards include:
- The NME awards for Best Live Band and Best Music Film
- The 2017 UK Jazz FM Award for Album of the Year
Interesting Facts about “The Rolling Stones”
-Their famous “Hot Lips” or “Tongue and Lips” logo was designed by ‘70s renowned artist, John Pasche. The design was inspired by Jagger’s view of the Hindu goddess Kali, which is often represented with a pronounced mouth and tongue sticking out. Pasche also actually used Jagger’s own lips as inspiration for the template for this logo.
-The band’s first original, As Tears Go By was written under pressure, when Andrew Loog Oldham, their manager at the time, locked Jagger and Richards in a kitchen for 36 solid hours until they wrote the tune.
-In 2006, the band played a free concert for a crowd of 1.5 million people at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
– Although Rock music had been banned on TV and radio in Cuba for years, the Rolling Stones, in 2016 became the first international rock band to perform in the country.
– One of the band’s greatest hits, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction was almost never released. It went on to spend four weeks at number one on US charts and has been covered by at least a 100 different music artists.
With a total of at least 30 studio albums, 120 singles, 23 live albums and several music compilations, the Rolling Stones is certainly a force to reckon with when it comes to rock music history. Their achievements, coupled with the many feuds they have conquered since the beginning of their career in music does not seem to have the potency to fade from the minds of music lovers worldwide anytime soon.