The Rolling Stones

  • British rock band formed in 1962. The classic lineup is Mick Jagger (vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica, songwriting), Keith Richards (vocals, lead and rhythm guitar, bass guitar, songwriting), Charlie Watts (drums), and Bill Wyman (bass guitar, keyboards, backing vocals – Wyman left the band in 1993). Other important members include Ian Stewart (keyboards, one of the founding members – he was removed as a musician with the band in 1963, but continued as their road manager and also performed with them in concerts until his death in 1985), Brian Jones (rhythm guitar, keyboards, backing vocals – Jones died in 1969), Mick Taylor (lead guitar, bass guitar, backing vocals – Taylor replaced Jones after Jones’ death), Ronnie Wood (lead and rhythm guitar and bass guitar – Wood has been with the band since 1975, replacing Taylor when Taylor quit the band).
  • It’s impossible to document the career of The Rolling Stones in a 900 word post. I could use 900 words just to debate whether or not to put them in the 60s category versus all of the other decades on my blog. Anyway – here goes…..
  • Jagger and Richards were childhood friends, meeting in 1950. In the mid 50s, Jagger formed a garage band with friend Dick Taylor, playing R&B and rock songs, and in 1960, Richards joined them. The group gave themselves the name The Blues Boys. They sent a tape of their music to a R&B band that included Jones, Stewart and Watts, and they started jamming with them. By 1962, Dick Taylor left the band to go to school, and was replaced by Wyman. The name of the band came when a journalist with Jazz News asked Jones what the name of the band was, and Jones responded “The Rollin’ Stones” because he saw a Muddy Waters record laying on the floor that included the song Rollin’ Stone.
  • Their first performance with this name was in July 1962 in London, playing blues music. They soon changed the name to
    The Rolling Stones, and they continued playing at venues, gaining popularity. In 1963, they signed a manager to promote them. Originally, they wore suits while performing, but soon moved to a look that would set them apart from the look of The Beatles. They were signed by a record company, and released their first single, a cover of Chuck Berry’s Come On, in June 1963. It charted on the UK chart, giving them credibility to play larger venues.
  • Later in 1963, they released their second single, a Lennon-McCartney song called I Wanna Be Your Man, which made the UK charts. Their third single, a cover of Buddy Holly’s Not Fade Away, reached #3 on the UK charts.
  • Their first 2 studio albums were released in 1964. The self titled The Rolling Stones (the U.S. version included “England’s Newest Hit Makers” in the title) peaked at #1 in the UK and #11 on the Billboard 200 album chart. The album 12 x 5 was only released in the U.S., and it peaked at #3. These albums were mostly R&B covers, though several original Jagger/Richards songs also were included. The song It’s All Over Now from 12 x 5 was their first #1 song in the UK, where it was released as a single. Time Is On My Side also was on the album, reaching #6 in the U.S.
  • By now, everything they did was a hit. In the U.K., their next 13 singles released between 1965 and 1969 reached the top 10, with 7 of them reaching #1. In the U.S., they had their first #1 hit with (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction in 1965. Other U.S. #1’s during this period included Get Off of My Cloud, Paint It Black, Ruby Tuesday, and Honky Tonk Woman. Nine studio albums were released over this 5 year period.
  • In the 70s, they continued their huge success. All 6 albums released in the decade peaked at #1 in the U.S., with 1978’s Some Girls becoming their biggest selling record, with over 6 million copies sold in the U.S. Their three #1 songs in the U.S. during the decade were Brown Sugar, Angie and Miss You.
  • In the 80s, the band went through some turmoil, almost splitting up, as Jagger focused more on a solo career, to the displeasure of Richards and the others. While they no longer topped the charts, they continued to release studio albums. Five were released during the 80s – all went platinum, with Tattoo You selling over 4 million copies in the U.S. They had 4 top 5 songs during the decade – Emotional Rescue, Start Me Up, Harlem Shuffle and Mixed Emotions.
  • The Rolling Stones released only 4 studio albums since 1990. While the singles from these albums did not chart very high, their huge army of fans guaranteed that album sales would be significant. 1994’s Voodoo Lounge, 1997’s Bridges to Babylon and 2005’s A Bigger Bang each sold over 1 million copies in the U.S. After an 11 year gap, their most recent album, 2016’s Blue and Lonesome was released – their 25th studio album. The album is widely acclaimed, as the band went back to their Chicago-blues roots.
  • Their concert tours became legendary, and today they routinely sell out major stadium venues. They have high energy performances – even with Mick and Keith at 74 years old!
  • While they’ve had 12 Grammy nominations, they’ve only won twice – Best Rock Album for Voodoo Lounge and Best Music Video for Love Is Strong from the same album. I suppose it proves that The Grammy Awards do not necessarily define greatness. They are considered the fourth best selling group of all time, with record sales of over 240 million albums worldwide. They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. They have 10 albums listed in Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 500 albums of all time – their highest position on the list is at #7, for Exile On Main Street. The same magazine ranks the band at #4 of the Greatest Artists of All Time (behind The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley).
  • They are approaching their seventh decade of music. Amazing band, clearly deserving of their legacy in Rock & Roll. Enjoy this promo video of one of their most iconic songs, Jumpin’ Jack Flash.

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