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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 August 2003, 09:47 GMT 10:47 UK
Stones still rocking and rolling

By Helen Bushby
BBC News Online Entertainment staff

The Rolling Stones have proved they are still able to draw thousands of rock fans to their world tour, more than 40 years after they first got together.

It is a far cry from their first gig in a small London club in 1962, fronted by gangly teenager Mick Jagger.

Rolling Stones
The band were famed for their anti-establishment stance
They took their name from a Muddy Waters song, and the fledgling group embarked on a career that was to make them world-famous pop stars.

Their appeal was apparent from the start, not least because their image provided a raw contrast to the clean-cut Beatles of the 1960s.

The Stones' website states: "While the Beatles were singing about holding hands, the Stones cut right to the chase and said 'let's spend the night together'."

The original line-up played rhythm and blues music, with Jagger on vocals and harmonica, Keith Richards and Brian Jones on guitar, Dick Taylor on bass, pianist Ian Stewart and a variety of drummers.

Rolling Stones
They still thrive on live shows
The band's roots can be traced back to 1950, when Jagger - now Sir Mick - and guitarist Keith Richards were at primary school together in Kent.

When the pair bumped into each other in 1960, while Jagger was a student at the London School of Economics, they found they shared musical tastes and decided to form a band.

Their anti-establishment stance and Jagger's charismatic stage presence helped get then noticed, and after their initial gig in London's Marquee Club they recruited Bill Wyman, who replaced Taylor, while Charlie Watts became the band's drummer.

The following year the Stones landed an eight-month stint playing at Richmond's Crawdaddy Club, where they were spotted by manager Andrew Loog Oldham.

Brian Jones
Brian Jones died in 1969
Oldham took them on, landed a record deal with Decca and began promoting them as the group "the middle-aged loved to hate" who were "the opposite to what the Beatles are doing".

After a couple of moderately successful singles, they found real chart success in 1964 with two UK number one singles - The Last Time and the legendary (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction.

Both songs were penned by Jagger and Richards, who cemented their reputation as talented songwriters with 1966's album Aftermath.

The band were also doing well in the US, and were helped along by a healthy dose of publicity in 1965 after a magistrate fined them for urinating against the wall of an east London petrol station.

Jerry Hall
Jagger is still on good terms with Jerry Hall after their split
By now, the Stones had climbed to the same level as The Beatles and Bob Dylan, and were seen as a major influence on the era's music.

But, of course, part of their image was their wild reputation, and in 1967 they lived up to it with a series of drug busts.

They narrowly escaped going to prison, and sidestepped out of the spotlight for a while, with Jagger and his then girlfriend Marianne Faithfull going with The Beatles to India to meet the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

By 1969, "musical differences" led Jones to leave the band, but less than a month after his departure he was found dead in his swimming pool.

Keith Richards
Keith Richards: Also works on his own projects
The coroner ruled it was "death by misadventure", but rumours abounded about the circumstances of his death.

Jones was replaced by Mick Taylor, who played at the band's show in Hyde Park in 1969 which drew 250,000 fans.

Their earlier dalliance with psychedelia was put firmly in the past with a return to rock'n' roll, and the band belted out numbers including Jumping Jack Flash and Honky Tonk Women.

They also took full advantage of The Beatles' split in 1970 and a year later had set up their own record company, Rolling Stones Records.

The early 70s saw the band reigning supreme, but was followed by a less successful period, culminating in Taylor leaving the band and being replaced in 1975 by The Faces' Ronnie Wood.

(L-R) Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ron Wood
The Rolling Stones played Moscow in 1998
They refound success in the 80s, with their best-selling album Tattoo You, and by 1986 they embarked on another world tour.

By now, they were obviously seen more as a group of middle-aged rockers than the young, defiant stars of the 60s, but they retained a loyal fanbase and managed to gain some new ones with 1989's album Steel Wheels.

Jagger, who was recently knighted, has helped keep the band's profile high with his solo projects, including filmmaking, and, of course, the many column inches written about his private life.

Richards has also pursued his own projects, including a solo album, but this did not stop the band getting together for sell-out world tours during the 90s.

Wrinkles

Their record sales may have peaked, but they can still attract thousands of fans and in 1994 they won a Grammy for the album Voodoo Lounge, prompting another successful tour.

Despite the wrinkles the band appears to show no signs of slowing.

Their latest world tour also offers an online Virtual Ticket, allowing fans to glimpse them behind the scenes, proving that even though they are going back to their "roots" they can still move with the times.




SEE ALSO:
Stones play intimate London date
28 Aug 03 |  Entertainment
Knightly satisfaction for Sir Mick
14 Jun 02 |  Entertainment
Stones' flying visit to announce tour
03 May 02 |  Entertainment
Rolling Stones gig: Your Views
27 Aug 03 |  Entertainment
Stones begin UK tour
25 Aug 03 |  Entertainment
Poor sales for Jagger's album
21 Nov 01 |  Entertainment


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