Have The Rolling Stones Ever Stopped Touring?

When Mick Jagger went in for heart surgery in April, it seemed like it could be the end of an era. The Rolling Stones frontman, now 75, has been hard to slow down over the years. It would have to take major health problems to keep him out of action.

But this heart trouble wasn’t serious enough to keep Mick away from the stage. Within a week, he was thanking fans for support. About a month later, we got a look at him prepping his dance moves for the Stones’ upcoming tour.

That’s right: The Stones are taking their act on the road yet again in 2019. We may be more than 50 years since the band swept through America on their first tour, but Keith Richards and the other bandmates remain willing and able to rock.

In fact, there’s hardly been any point in the past 57 years when the Stones weren’t on tour.

The Stones have toured for multiple years in each of the past 6 decades.

The Rolling Stones arrive in Sydney, January 22 1965. From left are Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, Brian Jones and Mick Jagger. | Trevor Dallen/The Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

The Stones touring history goes back almost as far as that of The Beatles, who got started in America in February 1964. They called it Beatlemania, but with the Stones on the loose in the States by June ’64 the British Invasion had officially begun.

In the following years, the Stones would stay on the road (in America and around the world) virtually nonstop. By the end of the decade, the band had outlasted the Fab Four, who’d stopped touring entirely in 1966. (They also put an ugly close to the ’60s at Altamont.)

That touring continued through the ’70s and into the early part of the ’80s. Following a stretch in which Mick pursued solo projects and the band risked breaking up, the Stones got back on the road in 1989 and basically haven’t stopped since.

The band’s longest hiatus came from 1982-89.

Mick Jagger performs during the Rock in Rio Lisbon 2014 music festival, in Lisbon, Portugal on May 29, 2014. | Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto via Getty Images

With the close of the Stones’ European tour in 1982, fans wouldn’t see the group back on stage for seven years. By most accounts, this period was the roughest on the band. Mick and Keith were on worse terms than usual, Mick wanted a solo career, and the Stones’ records were uninspired.

But while the Stones stayed off the road, Mick went back on tour in support of his solo records. (He also played Stones songs, undoubtedly to the chagrin of Keith and his other bandmates.) In response, Keith released his own solo record and toured as well.

In 1989, the Stones had released Steel Wheels and were ready to restore normalcy to the franchise. By the end of the summer, they kicked off a massive tour of North America that established the pattern the band follows to this day.

Basically, the Stones stopped touring only for a brief time in the ’80s, and fans could still hear the music at one of Mick’s shows. And they’ll be back at it soon enough.

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