The Rolling Stones

In the list of the many things that’s changed the direction of the world, you’ve got to include The Rolling Stones! Since their invasion into the music industry in 1962, the world has never been the same!

The Stones took various styles of music and magically melted them together into one exciting new sound! They totally extended the sounds of musical instruments into a new galaxy! And, started a “Stone-fever” that even to this day there has been no cure for!

Their first real gig was in 1962 as “The Rollin’ Stones”. The band included Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Ian Stewart, Keith Richards, Dick Taylor and Tony Chapman.

In the beginning Jones had set out to produce a Chicago blues style of music. But, Richards and Jagger added a little Chuck Berry style of rock and roll to the mix!

Before long Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman joined the band and they were scheduled to play at the Crawdaddy Club. The gig ended up lasting for eight months until they signed a management deal with the Beatles ex-publicist Andrew Oldham.

In the meantime George Harrison had talked to Dick Rowe of Decca Records and recommended that the get the Rolling Stones signed to a recording contract. The band signed with Decca and began their first UK tour late in 1963.

Through the tour the Stones were the supporting act for artists like Little Richard and The Everly Brothers. Their first recording was an Extended Play (EP) record entitled “The Rolling Stones”.

The bands first album was also entitled “The Rolling Stones” and was filled with covers from their live performances. The album was released in the US and they were billed as England’s Newest Hit Maker’s!

By June of 1964 the Stones began their first American tour. The tour was pegged a “disaster” by Wyman since they hadn’t had a hit record yet and were virtually unknown.

At the band’s appearance on Dean Martin’s variety show The Hollywood Palace, Martin mocked their performance and their hair! While doing the US tour the band recorded their first UK chart topping song, “It’s All Over Now”.

In the autumn of 1964 the band began yet another US tour and were filmed for the theatrical Tami Show. Their October appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show caused such pandemonium in the audience that Sullivan swore to never book the band again. Of course, later he scheduled the band repeatedly!

During their second US tour the band released their second album, “12 X 5”. Once again the album mostly contained cover songs and it was only released in America.

Late in 1964, The Stones got their second number one hit in the UK with “Off the Hook”. But, it wasn’t until December in 1964 that the Stones released their first single that contained original songs on both sides! The Jagger and Richards tunes were “What a Shame” and “Heart of Stone”.

Their second UK album was released in January of 1965, “The Rolling Stones No. 2” hit number one on the charts. The album was released in the US as “The Rolling Stones, Now!” and hit number five on the charts.

After a few more releases the band finally hit stardom with their release of “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” in June 1965! It stayed at the top of the charts for four weeks and their album “Out of Our Heads” released the following month hit number one!

“Out of Our Heads” had a total of seven original songs from the group, three of which were Richards and Jaggers compositions. The Rolling Stones were not only establishing their selves as one of the best rock and roll bands, they were also making their mark as talented songwriters.

In the spring of 1966 The Stones released “Aftermath”, the entire album was compiled of Richards and Jagger’s original songs. The exotic musical sounds included on the album were Jones’ own original works and gave the Stones an addictive sound!

The band released “Between the Buttons” in January 1967 and the US album included a single with “Ruby Tuesday” and “Let’s Spend the Night Together”.

While performing “Let’s Spend the Night Together” on the Ed Sullivan Show, Jagger replaced the lyrics with “let’s spend some time together” to keep the show from being canceled!

The band’s first legal problems with drugs began in early 1967, a raid at Richard’s home during a party resulted in both Richards and Jagger being charged with drug offenses.

While awaiting trial over the charges, Jones, Jagger and Richards headed to Morocco with some friends including Jones girlfriend Anita Pallenberg! Jones already strained relationship exploded during the trip and Pallenberg ended up leaving Morocco with Richards.

The two spent twelve years together, but the union proved to be “the final nail in the coffin” between Richards and Jones as Richards would later say!

In spite of all the problems the band still went on tour in April of 1967 and did their first shows in Italy, Greece and Poland. But, the following month would bring more drug problems for the Stone’s.

Richards and Jagger were arraigned on May 9 and on the same day Jones was arrested for marijuana possession! Both Richards and Jagger were found guilty and received prison sentences, but were released on bail to await an appeal.

As a way of thanking their fans for their loyalty, the Stones released “We Love You’ while waiting for the appeal. The beginning of the song featured the clangs of prison doors shutting!

In July the appeal came through and the charges against Richards were dropped and Jagger’s prison sentence was changed to a conditional discharge. Jones also received a prison sentence in November, but an appeal in December got the charges reduced to three years probation and a fine. Jones was also ordered to get professional help!

That same month “Their Satanic Majesties Request” was released and gave the band several firsts! It was the first album that the Stones self produced. It was also the very first album to be released in only one version for both the US and the UK.

Wyman both wrote and sang one of the singles released from the album, “In Another Land”. It became the very first single to be released that contained lead vocals from someone other than Jagger.

“Beggars Banquet” released late in 1968 would be the last Rolling Stones album to feature Brian Jones. His drug abuse had taken over and he told the band he wasn’t able to go on the road touring again.

Mick Taylor from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers began recording with the Stones in Jones place. And, in less than a month later on July 3, 1969, Jones was found drowned in the pool of his Sussex home.

The scheduled free concert at London’s Hyde Park just two days after Jones’ death, became the band’s tribute to him. As around 250,000 fans watched, Jagger released thousands of butterflies as a memorial to Jones.

Tragedy struck again late in 1969, during a free concert at Altamont Speedway outside of San Francisco a fan was beaten andĀ  stabbed to death by a member of the Hell’s Angel’s who were providing security for the Stones.

With the ending of their contracts came unsettled disputes and the band decided to form their own record company, Rolling Stones Records. Their first label release was Sticky Fingers” and included one of their all time hits “Brown Sugar”.

“Goat’s Head Soup” came out in August of 1973 and included the worldwide favorite “Angie”. But, again the band was interrupted with a legal battle involving drugs.

A warrant for Richard’s arrest had been issued from France and the band had to return for questioning. The drug issues resulted in the band being denied appearances in Japan and almost got them banned from Australia. And, once again Richard’s was arrested for drugs in England in late 73′.

By the end of 74′ Richard’s drug abuse was taking it’s toll on his performances and circumstances were taking their toll on the whole band. The drug abuse was affecting both the personal and financial status of the band.

With all the legal issues some of the members weren’t allowed in certain countries. This restricted the countries in which they could tour and most of the band members lived in different countries which put even more stress on the Stones.

Taylor began to tire of the complications and by the end of 74′ he’d booked another recording session and quit the Rolling Stones. After many auditions Ron Wood was chosen to take Taylor’s place, Wood had recorded with Richard’s before and the two had performed live together in the past.

Wood performed with the Stones during their Tour of the America’s tour in 1975 and officially joined the following year. However, he remained on salary pay for almost two decades before finally becoming a full member after Wyman left the band!

The Tour of the America’s was started with the band performing on the back of a flat bed trailer while being drove down Broadway in New York! One of the stage props included a rope that Jagger used to swing out on top of the audience!

1977 brought several more drug charges and Richard’s resolution to get clean and stay clean! It marked the end of his relationship with Pallenberg due to personal problems as well as her addiction to heroine.

The Rolling Stones put failing record sales behind them with their 1978 release of “Some Girls”. The album included such hits as “Miss You” and “Beast of Burden” and re-established the band as one of the greatest rock and roll bands.

To celebrate their 20th anniversary the band booked another European tour, the first in six years. They included their US stage show in the tour and by the end of that year they had a 28 million dollar contract with CBS Records for a four album deal.

By the mid 80’s the stress between Richards and Jagger was growing. And, Jagger devoting much of his time to his solo career was making things worse. Richards had to take on more of the responsibility of recording their “Dirty Work” album in 1986.

The band lost Ian Stewart to a heart attack in December of 1985. Just a few months before they were presented with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in February!

When “Dirty Work” came out Jagger refused to take part in the tour to promote the album. But, he went on his own tour to promote his solo career. This infuriated Richards who later called their relationship at the time World War III!

Jagger’s solo albums “She’s The Boss” and “Primitive Cool” only had moderate success. While Richards released his own solo album “Talk Is Cheap” that went gold in the US.

In 1989 the Rolling Stones received their spot in rock and roll history with an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! And, with their differences set aside the Stones started work on recording “Steel Wheels”.

After successful tours for the album, The Rolling Stones took a break while members spent time on their solo careers. Wyman had left the band and was replaced with Charlie Watts on the 1994 “Voodoo Lounge”. The album went double platinum in the United States and would win the Grammy Award in 1995 for Best Rock Album!

After a few more Rolling Stones and solo releases, the band recordedĀ  “Forty Licks” in commemoration of their 40th anniversary. The double album has reached worldwide sales of over 7 million copies!

The band’s first album after an eight year pause was released on September 6, 2005. “A Bigger Bang” yielded a article in the Rolling Stone magazine. The preceding tour had grossed a record setting $162 million dollars by the end of the year!

And, by the fall of 2006 with gross receipts totaling $437 million it was declared the highest grossing tour of all time! Which earned the band a place in the Guinness World Record book.

From over 45 years of performing and the Rolling Stones have accumulated countless gold, platinum and double platinum albums. They’ve became legends and icons in the music industry worldwide.

The Rolling Stones have a sound that will never be outdated and one that we will never tire of. Each new generation continues to get the “Stone-fever” and true Stones fans don’t even want a cure!

Written by Connie Corder, Copyright 2010

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