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Members include Mick Avory, (left group, 1962), drums; Mick Jagger,vocals; Brian Jones, (died, 1969), guitar; Darryl Jones, (joined group, 1994),bass; Keith Richards, guitar; Ian Stewart, (left group, 1962), piano;Dick Taylor, (left group, 1962), bass; Mick Taylor, (1969-74), guitar;Charlie Watts, drums, Ron Wood, (joined group, 1975), guitar; and BillWyman, (left group, 1992), bass. Addresses: Record company-Virgin, 30 West 21st Street, New York, NY 10010.

Arguably the most successful band in the history of rock music, the Rolling Stones enjoyed unmatched fame-and infamy-for the better half of the 20th century. In an effort to distinguish the band from the multitude of early 1960's pop/rock groups, the Rolling Stones were marketed as a sort of anti-Beatles. Whereas the Beatles were viewed as relatively clean cut, wholesome pop artists, the Rolling Stones were considered sex crazed, wild and dangerous men who would do unmentionable things to wives and daughters, all the while espousing their love of, what was then considered wickedly sinister African-American blues music. The Rolling Stones used their nefarious image to not only arouse the sexually charged youths of the 1960s and 1970s, but to promote and hype themselves as the greatest rockand roll band in the world.

The Rolling Stones was founded by singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards in 1962. The two had attended the same primary school in their home town of Dartford, England, but it wasn't until a chance meeting at a London train station in 1960 that they realized they both shared a love for the blues and decided to start a band. Jagger and Richards met up with guitarist Brian Jones, who had played with the band Blues Inc. before leaving them to start up his own band with Ian Stewart on piano. Jones and Stewart would later join Jagger and Richards, along with drummer Mick Avory and bassist Dick Taylor to form the original incarnation of the Rolling Stones. After playing their first concert atLondon's Marquee Club, Taylor and Avory left the band and were replaced by bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts.

With their line-up intact, the Rolling Stones began an eight month residency at the Crawdaddy Club, which not only increased their exposure but introduced them to Andrew Loog Oldham, who would soon become their manager. Oldham had a knack for promotion, and it was he who solidified the image of the rough and ready Rolling Stones. He told the band to dump Stewart because he did not fit into the lean, mean, street fighting image of the Rolling Stones. The band acquiesced and reluctantly made Stewart their road manager. According to John Lahr of New Republic, the Rolling Stones appropriated "the black truculence of the early blues forms they scrupulously imitated. They gave off none of the familiar signals of the buttoned-down establishment culture; and what's more, these lower middle class white boys wanted, even strained to sound black. And they succeeded ... the Stones were blues shouters who flayed the bourgeoisie, only to become the new hipoisie. They epitomized the White Negro."

The Rolling Stones signed a recording contract with Decca in the spring of 1963 and began to record singles in earnest. Their first was "Come On," a Chuck Berry cover that almost made the top 20, but it was their second single,"I Wanna Be Your Man," that would put the Rolling Stones on the rock and roll map. That song, which became a top15 hit in England, was given to the band by none other than the Beatles' John Lennon and Paul McCartney. What may have appeared as supreme irony at first glance, the nice Beatles helping the nasty Rolling Stones, was in reality a sort of mutual appreciation society between the two bands. As Richards told Jas Obrecht of Guitar Player, "We [the RollingStones and the Beatles] would work with each other instead of against each other, which is very interesting, becausefor the most part people were either a Beatles or a Stones man."

Into the Kitchen

In the spring of 1964, they released their debut album Rolling Stones, which contained their first British numberone single, "It's All Over Now." Oldham told the Rolling Stones that they needed to write their own material because the reservoir of covers would eventually run dry. To facilitate the process, he locked Jagger and Richards in a room until they came out with a song. Richards described the incident to Obrecht: "Andrew locked Mick and myself in a kitchen in this horrible little apartment we had. He said, 'You ain't comin' out,' and there was no way out. We were inthe kitchen with some food and a couple of guitars, but we couldn't get to the john so we had to come out with a song.... In that little kitchen, Mick and I got hung up about writing songs."

Their second album, 12X5, released in 1964, contained the band's first two American hits "Tell Me" and "Time ison My Side," which managed to crack the American top ten. 1965 saw the release of Rolling Stones Now! and theirfirst self-penned number one British hit, "The Last Time," which also made the top ten in America. The seminal track,however, was "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" which announced the coming-out party for the Jagger/Richards songwriting team. The smash hit of 1965, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," was the first of a long line of bluesy, riff driven rock anthems that the Rolling Stones would become famous for. Three more albums were released that year,December's Children, Out of Our Heads, and Got It Live If You Want It.

1966 saw the continuing maturation of the Rolling Stones as a band, and Jagger and Richards as songwriters. They released Aftermath, their first entirely original, and most complex, album to date, which included the hit "Paint It Black." With it's Indian influenced, sitar laced riff, "Paint It Black" was proof that even the mighty Rolling Stones were not free from the Beatles sphere of influence, as that band had begun recording with sitar earlier that year. A year later, and despite the arrests of Jagger, Jones, and Richards on drug possession charges, the Rolling Stones remained prolific, and by now eclectic, in their output, releasing the overtly pop Between the Buttons, Flowers, and the tepidly received psychedelic experiment, Their Satanic Majesties Request.

Triumph and Tragedy

Although the success of singles like "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," "Get Off Of My Cloud," and "As Tears GoBy" would place the Rolling Stones among the very elite of British rock, major upheaval and tragedy would greet the band in 1968. Allen Klein was brought in to manage the band after the dismissal of Oldham. "Jumpin' Jack Flash"hopped to number three on the charts and it's parent album, Beggar's Banquet was the band's biggest critical success to that point. Unfortunately, where Beggars Banquet was the high water mark for the Rolling Stones, it saw the demise of guitarist Jones. Craving the spotlight occupied by Jagger and Richards, Jones developed an inferiority complex, not to mention a drug habit. As Richards explained to Playboy's Stanley Booth, "Brian and I were at odds from, oh, '65 through '66. At the time, Brian was in bad shape, far away from the rest of the band. He needed help." Throughout the sessions for the album, Jones' insecurity fueled an escalating drug problem which further alienated him from the band. He was kicked out of the band on June 9, 1969 and, in less than a month, was found dead in his swimming pool.

Having replaced Jones with ex-John Mayall Bluesbreakers guitarist Mick Taylor, the Rolling Stones released Let It Bleed, which featured the work of both Jones and Taylor, and the single "Gimme Shelter." The attendant tour for Let It Bleed, the band's first American tour in three years, spawned more tragedy when a fan was stabbed to death by a member of the Hell's Angles Motorcycle Club, who were providing security for the free show at California's Altamont Speedway in December, 1969. The subsequent live album, Get Yer Ya Ya's Out was the last the Rolling Stones release on Decca, and for the next 20 years they would record for their own label, Rolling Stone Records, beginning with 1971'sSticky Fingers. 1972 saw the release of double album Exile on Main Street which, despite early poor reviews, would eventually be regarded as the band's watershed album.

Drugs, Fame, and Credibility

Drugs and fame consumed Richards and Jagger,, throughout the 1970s. Goat's Head Soup came out in 1973 and was followed by It's Only Rock and Roll the following year. Taylor left after that album and was replaced by former Faces guitarist Ron Wood. While Jagger spent middle years of the 1970's jet-setting, Richards was busy feeding his heroine addiction, and the Rolling Stones released several forgettable albums, as did Wood and Wyman. In 1978, are rejuvenated Rolling Stones released Some Girls which featured the disco-influenced, number one single "Miss You." Some Girls' 1980 follow up, Emotional Rescue, was a critical disappointment, but was certified platinum none the less. With 1981's Tattoo You and the arena rock anthem, "Start Me Up," the band regained some of the credibility it lost withEmotional Rescue, but would see it vanish once again with 1983's Undercover and 1986's Dirty Work.

Jagger and Richards spent much of the 1980s feuding but by 1988, had started to make amends, and 1989's Steel Wheels had the positive reviews to prove it. The resulting tour provided the material for 1991's live album Flashback,after which Wyman left the band. The Rolling Stones signed to Virgin in 1994 and released the album, Voodoo Lounge,which continued the success of its predecessor. Voodoo Lounge also earned the Rolling Stones their first ever GrammyAward, for Best Rock Album of 1994.

After replacing Wyman with Darryl Jones in 1994, the band recorded Stripped, an acoustic live album, and 1997'sBridges to Babylon, and with Jagger and Richards at the helm, continued headlong through their fourth decade of rock and roll. Richards once quipped to Obrecht that, "when we started the Rolling Stones, we were just little kids, right? We felt we had some of the licks down, but our aim was to turn other people on to Muddy Waters. I mean we were carrying flags, idealistic teenage sort of stuff. There was no way we thought anybody was really going to seriously listen to us. We just wanted to get a few people interested to listening to the sort of stuff we thought they ought to listen to ... but that was our aim-turn people on to the blues. If we could turn them on to Muddy and Jimmy Reed and Howlin'Wolf and John Lee Hooker, then our job was done."

by Mary Alice Adams

The Rolling Stones's Career

Group formed in London, England, 1962; signed to Decca and released Rolling Stones, 1964; releasedDecember's Children, 1965; released Aftermath, 1966; released Their Satanic Majesties Request, 1967; releasedBeggar's Banquet, 1968; Former guitarist Jones found dead in pool, band released Let it Bleed, 1969; formed RollingStone Records and released, Sticky Fingers, 1971; released Exile on Main Street, 1972; released It's Only Rock and Roll,1974; released Black and Blue, 1976; released Some Girls, 1978; released Emotional Rescue, 1980; released Tattoo You,1981; released Undercover, 1983; released Dirty Work, 1986; released Steel Wheels, 1989; signed to Virgin and releasedVoodoo Lounge, 1994; released Stripped, 1995; released Bridges to Babylon, 1997.

The Rolling Stones's Awards

Platinum Certification for Black and Blue, 1976; Platinum Certification for Emotional Rescue, 1980;Platinum Certification for Tattoo You, 1981; Grammy Award for Best Rock Album for Voodoo Lounge, 1994.

Famous Works

Recent Updates

September 16, 2003: The Rolling Stones' album, Sympathy For The Devil Remixes (x7), was released. Source: Yahoo! Shopping, shopping.yahoo.com/shop?d=product&id=1921994449, September 17, 2003.

July 27, 2004: The Rolling Stones' collection, Singles 1965-1967, was released. Source: Billboard.com, www.billboard.com/bb/releases/week_4/index.jsp, August 5, 2004.

September 16, 2004: Abkco Records announced the October of 2004 release of The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus on DVD. Source: E! Online, www.eonline.com, September 16, 2004.

November 11, 2004: The Rolling Stones were inducted into the first U.K. Music Hall of Fame, representing the 1960s. Source: USA Today, www.usatoday.com/life/music/news/2004-11-12-brit-music-faves_x.htm, November 15, 2004.

January 2005: The Rolling Stones' 1969 album, Let It Bleed, was entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Source: BBC News, news.bbc.co.uk, February 14, 2005.

Further Reading


The Rolling Stones Lyrics

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over 15 years ago

While some of your history and assessments are not far off, there are some errors in your work, as well as insulting assumptions. First of all, Brian Jones and Ian Stewart actually founded the band, not Richards and Jagger. Secondly, your assumption that Brian Jones developed a drug habit out of jealousy of Richards and Jagger is mere assumption. That's the case, would you also like to assume why Richards and Jagger developed drug habits? Were they jealous of Brian Jones' musical talent? If you are going to pass this off as a mini biography. Please try to brush up on your Stones history and leave your blaring assumptions out of it. Thank you.