The Rolling Stones
While Beatlemania was going on throughout Europe and the US, another band was gaining importance. They were the Rolling Stones, and they were right on The Beatles’ heels. They came to America only 4 months after The Beatles, and are now the world’s longest-performing band of all time. However, perhaps the Rolling Stones have a more interesting beginning story than The Beatles.
In the early 1950s, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger were elementary schools classmates. Unfortunately, Jagger moved to a different school, severing their ties. That is, until they met through a chance encounter on a train. It was a good thing that Jagger decided to have some of his records under his arm that day, as it sparked a conversation between the two about music. They decided to join Blues, Incorporated, and recruited Brian Jones to help them. After a while however, Jones decided to start his own band. He put out a notice in the newspaper, and was joined by Ian Stewart, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Dick Taylor, and Tony Chapman (Schwartz, n.d.).
The name “Rolling Stones” actually came as an accident. While Jones was booking them a gig over the phone, the host asked the performer’s name. In a panic, Jones looked at a nearby album, with a song titled “Rollin’ Stones Blues.” So, he said “Rolling Stones,” and that was that. The Rolling Stones’ first performance was at the Marquee Club in London, on July 12, 1962. They soon got a residency stay at the Crawdaddy Club, and were popular with younger audiences (Schwartz, n.d.).
In December, 1962, Bill Wyman replaced Dick Taylor as the bass guitarist, and a month later, Charlie Walls replaced Tony Chapman as the drummer. After another year of hard work, The Stones went on a British tour, and on to America. They arrived in June, 1964, and were well received. They recorded in Chicago, at Chess Studios, and at the Hollywood RCA Studios. Their big concert in San Bernardino attracted crowds en masse, but their Midwest concerts were a different story. Not many people there had heard about them, but crowds continued to come in around New York (Schwartz, n.d.).
Back in Europe, The Rolling Stones released their fourth single, a cover of Bobby Womack’s “It’s All Over Now,” which was recorded in America. This was their first #1 song, and a Rolling Stones cult began to form. In October, 1964, The Rolling Stones followed in the footsteps of The Beatles by performing on The Ed Sullivan Show. The song they performed, “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” had to have its title changed to “Let’s Spend Some Time Together,” due to censorship. The Stone’s first major worldwide success, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, reached #1 worldwide. It promoted The Rolling Stones’ attitude of rebellion. The Stones’ next big hit, “Paint It Black,” in 1966, helped them become renowned around the world (Schwartz, n.d.).
Alas, their good fortune could not continue. Jagger, Jones, and Richards all got charged with drug possession in 1967, and were given suspended sentences. By the early 1970s however, The Rolling Stones had been banned in several countries and exiled from Britain for not paying their taxes. Before that, Jones’ mental health was deteriorating, and was intolerable by the rest of the band. He was kicked out, and drowned in his swimming pool on July 2, 1969, about a month after getting kicked out by his band (Schwartz, n.d.).
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