The waves of the British Invasion continued to crash upon American soil. This time however, the waves were not quite as beautiful. The well-mannered, good-looking Beatles were replaced by a raw, unwashed, and scandalous band, The Rolling Stones.
Mick Jagger (1943) and Keith Richards (1943) met as children in primary school, and shared a mutual passion for R&B, especially that of Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, and Bo Diddley. They first formed a group called Little Boy Blue & the Blue Boys, but changed the group's name to the Rolling Stones in 1962 as a tribute to the Muddy Waters song.
Jagger and Richards were joined by guitarist, Brian Jones (1942), pianist, Ian Stewart (1938), and occasional drummer, Tony Chapman. The group entered the public eye with their debut performance at London's Marquee Club in 1962. That same year, the group experienced some personnel changes, which added Bill Wyman (1936) on bass guitar and Charlie Watts (1941) as their drummer.
The group then secured a regular performing schedule at the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond, which catalyzed their popularity. On one fortunate night, Andrew Oldham appeared at the club and was instantly mesmerized by the Stones and signed them up the following day to his management company.
Within weeks, the group's first set of recordings were produced at IBC Studios. DECCA Records, making the mistake of passing up The Beatles, made sure to capture the Rolling Stones on their label. After repurchasing the IBC demos, Oldham selected Chuck Berry's "Come On" as their debut single. Their second single, "I Wanna Be Your Man" (a gift given to them by John Lennon and Paul McCartney) climbed the charts to position # 12 in January, 1964. That same year, the Rolling Stones launched their first tour with The Ronettes.
Oldham pushed the image of the Rolling Stones in stark contrast to the image of The Beatles. They grew their hair long and threw away their matching suits. Their image shocked the parents of the community as newspapers released advertisements, which questioned parents, "Would You Let Your Daughter Marry a Rolling Stone?" This attention encouraged the group and their third single "Not Fade Away" ( a Buddy Holly cover) was released and reached No. 3 on the charts.
Their first album, "The Rolling Stones", released in 1964, also raised controversy for its absence of a title and any writing on its sleeve. The album consisted mainly of covers from Chuck Berry and Willie Dixon with the exception of the Jagger/Richards composition, "Tell Me." The group then attained a No. 1 spot when they covered the Valentino's, "It's All Over Now" followed by a Willie Dixon cover " Little Red Rooster."
At this point in their career, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards began developing their own writing capabilities. They released their second chart-topping album, "Rolling Stones #2" which included their own single "The Last Time", which hit the No. 1 spot.
In August 1965, the Keith Richard midnight invention, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" swept the world becoming a Rolling Stone classic. This was first top-ten song to use distortion. Keith and Brian achieved this by removing some of the vacuum tubes from their guitar amps. That same year the live EP, "Got Live if You Want It" reached the Top 10 and the single "Get Off My Cloud" reached No. 1.
1966 marked the beginning of the Rolling Stones experimentation with different instruments and completely original music with their album "Aftermath". In the song "Paint It Black", Brian played the sitar and the song "Have You Seen Your Mother Baby, Standing In The Shadows?" began their experimentation with psychedelia.
Continuing the psychedelic influence, the Rolling Stones released the album, "Between the Buttons" which includes the singles, "Let's Spend the Night Together" and "Ruby Tuesday". This album also represented Oldham's final production. As the Stones became more bohemian, Oldham began feeling alienated and gave full responsibility for the Stones to his partner, Klein.
The remainder of the year plagued the group with drug offenses, court appearances, and jail sentences. After many fans rallied for the Stones cause, the group released the single "We Love You" to thank their supporters. The year ended with a concept album, "Their Satanic Majesties Request" which is often compared to The Beatles's "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."
This album featured a psychedelic cover and similar music inside. The album was not as strong as their earlier work. Fans felt that their attempt to follow the example of The Beatles caused them to lose their original sound.
In 1968, the Rolling Stones returned to their distinct sound with the release of their single "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and the album, "Beggars Banquet." As the group began to regain their popularity, Brian Jones fell deeper into his drug addiction. He began to contribute less and less to the group and ultimately ended quitting in June 1969. One month later, Brian was found dead in the swimming pool of the Sussex house.
Despite the tragedy, the Rolling Stones kept delivering chart topping hits with singles such as "Honky Tonk Woman," "Gimme Shelter," and "You Can't Always Get What You Want" with their new guitarist, Mick Taylor.
As the Decca contract ran out in 1970, The Rolling Stones released their last album, "Get Yer Ya Ya's Out" under this label. The Stones then created their own label and released the album, "Sticky Fingers," which continued their consistent, good work with singles such as "Wild Horses," and "Sister Morphine." The group's fascination with drugs and sex led to the Andy Warhol sleeve design that resembled the corporate image of lips with a tongue.
As the Rolling Stones entered into the 1970's, the cutting edge of the band was lost temporarily as the members became more involved with their personal lives. However, in 1974, the single "Angie" from the "Goat's Head Soup" album brought a #1 hit. At the end of 1974, Mick Taylor left the group to pursue a solo career and is replaced by guitarist, Ron Wood. The first album with Ron Wood, called "Black and Blue", had touches of reggae influence, which did not prove to be very impressive.
As the seventies rolled on, the recordings and tours of the Rolling Stones became less frequent as punk rock began to emerge. This punk explosion however created a new energy within the band and they then in turn released the "Some Girls" LP, which had a strong dance beat as evident in songs such as no.1 hit "Miss You".
In 1980, the Rolling Stones attained their first #1 album in the U.K. since 1973 with the release of "Emotional Rescue". The following year the group embarked on a tour in the U.S. followed by the album, "Tattoo You". The Stones continued to remain popular with the single "Start Me Up" and albums "Undercover" and "Dirty Work".
The group appeared to be breaking up as the individual members began to pursue their solo careers. Bill Wyman retired in 1991 and was replaced in 1994 by Darryl Jones, formerly with Miles Davis and Sting. The increasing concern about whether the group would stay together was vanquished as they released the album, "Steel Wheels" and began a world tour. The group continued to produce the successful albums, "Voodoo Lounge" in 1994, and "Stripped" in 1995.
Today, the Rolling Stones continue to amaze the audience with their capabilities to produce music with the same amount of energy as they did years ago, releasing their 50th aniversary album in 2012.
Page author: L.C. & C.F.