The Rolling Stones
Who are the Stones?
A Fateful Reunion and Long Journey Onwards
The Birth of the Stones
Not long afterwards, a young Brian Jones joined the group and by 1963 the Stones consisted of Jones, Jagger, Richards, Watts, and a rhythmic bassist name Bill Wyman. An eight month run of entertaining at the local Crawdaddy Club gave them their first boost into the public eye. Andrew Oldham then became their manager and after making a few changes, decided to use the quickly increasing success of the Beatles to the Rolling Stones' advantage by marketing his band as the complete opposite of the Beatles.
Just three years after their first official performance as a band, the Rolling Stones already had two number one singles in the U.K. ["The Last Time" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"] and the following year appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. With each passing year the Rolling Stones' popularity and notoriety as a bad boy pop band grew more and more rapidly. The band was now living the classic rock n' roll dream filled with booze, drugs, and girls.
The group got quite the reality check in 1969 with the death of Brian Jones, who drowned in his home swimming pool less than a month after deciding to quit the band, saying: "I no longer see eye to eye with the others over the discs we are cutting." In honor of his passing, Jagger read a poem and released thousands of butterflies during a free concert at Hyde Park. Brian Jones was later buried in Cheltenham Cemetery in a luxurious coffin sent by Bob Dylan.
In order to find a replacement for Jones, the Rolling Stones held an audition for top musicians, eventually choosing ex-Faces guitarist Ronnie Wood, who officially joined the band in 1976. Now a complete group again, the Stones had just begun to get back in their groove when Richards was arrested the following year for possession of heroin. The future of the band now in jeopardy, Richards was given a suspended sentence and out of necessity, got clean in time to rejoin the band in 1978.
The following decades were a series of ups and a few downs as friendships became strained and the stress of the years before began to catch up to them. Regardless of any feuds, the band has made its mark on countless aspects of history and is widely regarded as one of the greatest bands of all time. In 1989, the Rolling Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and have produced more than 400 songs since their inception.
The Fab... Five?
Main Position: Guitarist
Musical Highlights: Jones was a musical handyman, capable of learning and then passably performing a new instrument within a handful of hours. This helped the band widen their musical horizons as they explored with different sounds and instrumental effects. Throughout his time as a Rolling Stone he is known to have played: guitar (electric, acoustic, and steel-string), harmonica, recorder, piano, organ, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, tamboura, dulcimer, koto, harp, oboe, flute, marimba, xylophone, glockenspiel, clavinet, mellotron, harpsichord, and banjo.
Main Position: Vocals
Musical Highlights: Often referred to as the brains of the Rolling Stones, Jagger is the perfect candidate for a singer. He takes over the stage when he performs and exudes his power over everyone else in the room. His unique looks and trademark lips as well as charisma draw in audiences and helped make a quick name for himself and the Stones as their notoriety grew beyond local clubs and towns all the way to foreign countries. It is the job of the singer to be entertaining and different, something Jagger certainly did, often wearing outlandish clothing and strutting around the stage while soulfully exclaiming the words to their wide variety of songs.
Main Position: Guitarist
Musical Highlights: Andrew Oldham wanted a bad boy Beatles group, and Keith Richards gave him all that and more. Richards' hardcore drugged lifestyle and free spirit set the precedence for rock n' roll legends for years to come. He gave the Rolling Stones the rock side of their blues/jazz/rock/pop infused works with his smooth, boisterous rhythms, preferring to let the rawness of the guitar take over as opposed to tip toeing around the notes with more refined, technical skill.
Main Position: Drummer
Musical Highlights: Long time drummer, Watts never quite cultivated a bad boy image quite like the rest of the band members. On the contrary, he brought a sense of maturity and consistency to the rest of the Stones. He married Shirley Shepard in 1964, with whom he will celebrate 49 years of marriage this October, and four years later had their one and only child, Seraphina. With Miles Davis among his many early musical influences, he kept a jazzy, grounded beat for the rest of the band to play off of and find their own sound without abandoning their gritty, bluesy roots.
Birthday: June 1, 1947
Main Position: Bassist, GuitaristMusical Highlights: Though a late addition, Wood had plenty of experience in rhythm and blues groups upon first joining the Rolling Stones more than a decade after their inception. After losing Jones and encountering repeated difficulties with the law, a breath of fresh air was exactly what the Stones needed and Wood didn't disappoint. A former member of the Jeff Beck Group and the Birds, he brought a fresh perspective on the same old things to the table, offering more ideas as well as his years of experience to the Stones
Bill Wyman: Though he was with the group since their Crawdaddy Club days up until 1993, he has said he felt like the "lone stone" because he was several years older than the rest of the group and already married. He began several side projects throughout the years when he became fed up with Jagger and Richards' periodical dictatorships and has since found relative success in his solo musical career.
The Beatles: Friend or Foe?
"It was a match made in heaven, rampant youth colliding."
At the very beginning of the Rolling Stones' musical career, their biggest opposition was, of course, the Beatles. Even Oldham marketed the Stones to be the Beatles' rebellious opposites in hopes of attracting more attention to his boys. However, though the two bands would constantly be fighting each other for dominance over the musical world, the members of each remained quite good friends.
The Beatles and Rolling Stones and first met at the Crawdaddy Club when the Beatles attended a performance of the latter and were impressed by the mobs of screaming girls scrambling to find the best spot in order to prove to the boys that they were, in fact, their biggest fan. The members of both bands stayed until about four that morning and ended the night with George Harrison persuading Decca, still smarting from passing up the Beatles years prior, to sign the Stones to their label.
The Beatles actually gave the Stones the song "I Wanna Be Your Man" to get them started, which hit number 12 on UK charts after its release. Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger actually met regularly to compare release dates for new singles in attempt to reduce competition. This friendship, though generally harmless, did have negative effects on both parties. McCartney soon introduced Jagger to pot while Richards and Jones both tripped acid for the first time in the company of Harrison and Lennon, both big time LSD users.
Several members actually featured in other's songs, for instance:
- Jagger and Jones sang back up on "Yellow Submarine"
- Jones played saxophone on "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)"
- Lennon and McCartney sang vocals in the Stones' "We Love You"
The two bands honored each other on some of their albums covers as well, as seen below.
Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band
Their Satanic Majesties Quest
Farrah Fawcett, Lucille Bell, Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland,Raquel Welch, and Marilyn Monroe were all removed and replaced with, "Pardon our appearance cover under construction" in the censored versions.
Photo 1: Original Front; Photo 2: Censored Front; Photo 3: Original Back ;Photo 4: Censored Back
An All Time Greatest Hit?
Composed by Jagger and Richards and produced by Oldham, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" was famously brought into life by Richards in a mid-dream epiphany. The story goes that he dreamed the main riff, woke up, grabbed his guitar and cassette machine, and recorded the rift before dropping the pick and falling back to sleep without turning the machine back off. Richards later said, "On the tape you can hear me drop the pick, and the rest is snoring."
Jagger then took the reins and wrote most of the words the next day in about ten minutes next to a little motel pool. Though the song is widely assumed to be yet another result of the Rolling Stones' lovely little habit of producing dirty songs outlined by sexual undertones, Jagger later admitted most of it was just "[his] view of the world, [his] frustration with everything."
What's a favorite song anyways?
The music video captures Jagger's absurdly entrancing trademark spasms around the stage so perfectly that all in all, it is the perfect summer song to lift your spirits and make you feel free. It is also the perfect example for why Jagger makes such a great singer, because it's like a train wreck: pretty horrible, but you can't help but look. Even Richards and Wood get into it, while Wyman just stands struming along amid the chaos and Watts looks like he is just enjoying the ridiculousness of the situation while happily tapping along on his drum set.