You can’t get more classic rock and roll than The Rolling Stones. For almost 60 years, the Stones have provided the soundtrack for American and British life. How did they start, why were they so successful, and what are they doing now? Let’s take a closer look at the Rolling Stones.
How The Rolling Stones started
In 1962, at the Marquee Club in London, a group called The Rolling Stones took the stage for the first time. Formed by childhood friends, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, who’d been playing music together for years, the group also included Brian Jones, Ian Stewart, and Mick Taylor at that first legendary performance.
The group got their name during a phone interview with Jazz News. Jones was asked for the group’s title, and unsure how to answer, he scanned the room. A Muddy Waters LP lay on the floor, and one of the tracks was listed as, Rollin’ Stone. Jones took the name and ran with it.
After the band’s first performance, they began a tour across the United Kingdom, which they called a “training ground” tour because it was a new experience for all of them. The tour proved a success, and The Rolling Stones began to gain notoriety all over Britain. America soon followed, along with the rest of the world.
The Rolling Stones outstanding success
Their sound resonated with the youthful and rebellious counterculture of the ’60s, and soon they were topping the charts on a regular basis. The first international hit by The Stones was “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, recorded in 1965. It spent four weeks at the top of the Billboard Top 100.
The Rolling Stones continued to have success with multiple other hits, and chart-topping songs, including “Wild Horses”, “Paint it Black”, and “Let it Bleed”.
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2004, The Rolling Stones are often considered the greatest rock and roll band of all time. Their estimated record sales are above 200 million, and Rolling Stone magazine ranked them fourth on the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list.
The Rolling Stones gained a reputation as a ‘bad influence’ for teens
Because of their outstanding popularity, and influenced by the culture war that raged during the ’60s, The Rolling Stones began to get a reputation as a bad influence on the youth.
In 1967, when the band was invited to play on The Ed Sullivan Show, they were ordered to change the lyrics of “Let’s Spend the Night Together”, to “Let’s Spend Some Time Together”. Outrage followed when people claimed they could still hear the words “spend the night together” during the performance. Jagger said later, “When it actually came to that line, I sang mumble.” Another song that caused problems for the band was “Little Red Rooster”, which was a number one hit in the U.K. but was banned in the U.S. because of its “objectionable” lyrics.
Their reputation was further tarnished, when Jagger and Richards were arrested on drug charges. Authorities began to hound the group over their recreational drug use after News of the World ran a feature entitled, Pop Stars and Drugs: Facts that will Shock You.
The Rolling Stones keep on rockin’
The summer of 2012 marked the band’s 50th anniversary, which The Stones celebrated by releasing the book, The Rolling Stones: 50. Although the group’s members are well into their 70’s, The Rolling Stones continue to tour today. In 2019, they’re embarking on their No Filter tour across the U.S, as they continue to share their unique sound with today’s fans.