Often called the greatest rock and roll band in the world, The Rolling Stones is an English rock band formed in the year 1962 by hardcore rock music enthusiasts. These included Ian Stewart, Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Bill Wyman. Later on, with the passing away of some of the band members, new faces came to the band. Among these were Ronnie Wood, Tony Chapman, Mick Taylor, and Dick Taylor.
Contributions to the Music Industry
Having ruled the music industry with some other bands like The Beatles, The Kinks and The Who, the Rolling Stones became extremely popular with American youth. From a relatively humble beginning, they captivated the entire world with their musical masterpieces. Throughout their musical career, the band has been noted for their contributions to modern music. They’re known for a unique blend of diverse musical genres into a collective sound that is completely their own. Their influences include blues, country, rhythm and blues, reggae, dance, blues rock and music from around the world.
For their immense impact on rock and roll, the Rolling Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. Their increasing popularity and fame gained them a Number 4 spot in the Rolling Stone Magazine ranking of “The Greatest Bands of All Time”.
This band has always experimented with various styles and instruments to develop their sound and keep their music fresh over the years. Their energy has never stopped and can be seen even in recent years in their tours, music videos and albums. We can’t deny their impact on modern music either, as this band will probably continue to be popular for many generations to come.
The Longest Performing Band
The Rolling Stones is usually held to be the longest-performing rock band in history. They’ve been performing since 1962 all the way up to the present. Throughout these years, they’ve gained a huge fan following with their music as well as their typical bad-boy image.
Wild behavior, drugs, and sex are usually common themes in their songs along with their own stunts in real life. Still, they’ve managed to have more than five decades of success, with ten gold albums and eight Number One singles.
Also known as the Stones, this band no longer has its original lineup. In the beginning, Mick Jagger had the lead vocal and harmonic, with Ian Stewart on the piano, Charlie Watts on the drums, Keith Richards on the guitar and backing vocals, Brian Jones on the harmonica, sitar, backing vocals, and guitar, and Bill Wyman on the bass guitar and as backing vocals.
Now, there are four main members of the Rolling Stones, with three of them being from the original group. These are Jagger, Richards, Watts, and Ron Wood for the bass guitar.
The Friendship Base
The beginning of the Rolling Stones started with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards who were friends in school during the early 1950s. While they parted ways due to Jagger changing schools, they met up again almost ten years later.
At this point, Jagger meant to study accounting while Richards was a student of graphic art. When they met by chance at a train station, Jagger had some records with him. The artists on these records were Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry. With these props, the conversation soon turned to music. Richards’ teenage love of the guitar along with Jagger’s singing in London underground clubs soon came out.
Since they both had musical talent, the friends got another musician (Brain Jones) to join them and started to play occasionally with a band called Blues Incorporated. They were only cameo appearances but became a part of musical history when the three met a drummer named Charlie Watts.
Their Own Band
Soon after the four musicians met, Brain Jones had dreams of starting a band on his own. To this end, he advertised in Jazz News. Ian Stewart was among the first respondents, with the rest joining in.
The name of the band was also decided by Jones, who was inspired by a Muddy Waters track named “Rollin’ Stone Blues”. This was when he was trying to come up with a band name while trying to snag a gig. In fact, the original name for the band was the Rollin’ Stones.
With Brian Jones leading the ore, the band started playing at the London marquee club in July 1962. They appealed to the younger generation, especially those who were in search of something exciting and unique. The Beatles were big, but they were the classic good-boy band. Providing an alternative to that initially gave the Rolling Stones a Crawdaddy Club residency.
The electric guitars, provocative singing, and a blues renaissance had the British audience enthralled. Teenagers would stand on tables, dance, and shout while the Rolling Stones were performing. However, there were a few changes in the band by the end of the year. Dick Taylor left to resume his college career, while Tony Chapman joined another band. The result was the first stable lineup, which is what we discussed earlier.
The first record deal for the Rolling Stones was in 1963, with their manager Andrew Oldham. This manager was also known for promoting the Beatles. He wanted to promote the image of the band as being the antithesis to the Beatles, and also suggested that they change the ‘Rollin’’ in their name to “Rolling”.
This was also the year when the first Rolling Stone single came out. This was “Come On”, and made the #21 spot (UK Singles Chart). Their other early hit singles included “I Wanna Be Your Man,” “Not Fade Away”.
Taking Over America
In 1964, the Stones were a big enough deal to go on tour. They did so in Britain, but also visited America to record tracks and perform concerts. Using Chess Studios and the Hollywood RCA Studios gave them access to the acoustics they needed for an earthier, more effective sound.
Some of their American concerts were hits; other less so. However, they recorded their first #1 single in America, named “It’s All Over Now”. After this, a Rolling Stone fandom cult came into being.
Before this, the Stones had other people write their songs. Oldham wanted Richards and Jagger to write their own, but this was easier said than done. Writing actual blues was tough for them, so the result was a mixture of blues, heavy melody, blues rock, and other genres.
A Huge Hit
The song “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” is known to be the mega-hit that put the Rolling Stones on the map for good. It reached the #1 spot all over the world. The rebellious and irreverent musical attitude, along with unconventional instruments such as tribal drums, were what made up their successful image.
After the next #1 single named “Paint it Black”, the Rolling Stones were officially international rock stars. However, the band wasn’t without its troubles even in the very early stages. Brains Jones might have been the one to start the group, but the leadership was shifting to Richards and Jagger after they started songwriting.
The year 1967 saw the Stones living the quintessential rock-star life. This means that they were heavily into drugs along with several other unsavory habits. Richards, Jones, and Jagger were handed suspended sentences for illegal drug possession in this year as well.
Jones was the one most affected by the drugs. Other than physical addiction, he also had issues with mental health. In June 1969, the rest of the band asked Jones to leave. The next month, Jones was found dead in his swimming pool. His heart and liver were enlarged due to his alcohol and drug abuse.
By the time the 70s came along, the Rolling Stones had gained quite a bit of controversy. They were banned in several countries and even exiled from their homeland in 1971 for non-payment of taxes. Allen Klein had taken over from Oldham by this time but was fired by the band. Eventually, they had their personal record label named the Rolling Stones Records.
With the latest entry of Ron Woods, the Stones mixed disco and punk music into their hybrid style. Legal issues and offenses were still rife, with Richards getting arrested for trafficking heroin. Fortunately, he quit soon after this incident. His sentence was to perform a concert for benefiting the blind.
Some of the most iconic band members wanted to go solo at this point. Mick Jagger wanted to stay with contemporary experimentation, while Richards preferred the blues.
In 1985, Ian Stewart passed away due to a heart attack. This was the decade when the Rolling Stones reunited, realizing that they worked better as a group. in 1989, they had made their way into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. However, Bill Wyman retired in 1993, leaving the band with one less member.
Highs and Lows
The Rolling Stones band has seen some very high moments, such as the Grammy Award in 1995 and their world tour. They’re still managed to stay together for the most part, performing even when they’re in their golden years in the 21st century.
The message of this band has always revolved around anti-establishmentarianism. This is represented by the tongue and lips in their logo, which is one of the most recognized and iconic symbols in the modern world.
Jagger was awarded a knighthood in 2003, which obviously did not sit well with the original band message. Another issue was the fact of his being a tax exile.
The Rolling Stones band might have had a controversial career, but the duration alone is quite impressive. Along with keeping up their performance, the Stones have also come out with massive hits very early on. What’s more, they’ve managed to contribute to record-making, live performances, and indulge in a counterculture movement for several decades. This is just part of the reason why anyone interested in music should delve further into the history of this hybrid, controversial, yet timeless band.