Rolling Stones

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Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones, English rock music group that rose to prominence in the mid-1960s and continues to exert great influence. Members have included singer Mick Jagger (Michael Phillip Jagger), 1943–; guitarists Brian Jones (Lewis Brian Hopkin-Jones), 1944–69, Keith Richards or Richard 1943–, and Ron Wood (Ronald David Wood), 1941–; bassist Bill Wyman, 1941–, b. William George Perks, who left the band in 1993; and drummer Charlie Watts (Charles Robert Watts), 1941–. The group was originally formed in 1962 by guitarist Brian Jones, who was influenced by the popularity of American blues music in England along with early rock and roll. In 1963, they hired Andrew Loog Oldham as their manager, who promoted them as the "bad boys" of the British Invasion, versus the squeaky clean image of the Beatles. Oldham inspired them to begin recording their own songs, mostly by Jagger and Richards, including their initial hits "Satisfaction" (1965), "Paint It Black (1966)," and "Let's Spend the Night Together"(1967), all number 1 hits in the UK and US. Their 1968 album, Beggar's Banquet, featured a wider variety of songs including the political commentary of "Street Fighting Man" and the controversial "Sympathy for the Devil." During this period, Brian Jones was increasingly sidelined by drugs, and was fired from the band and replaced by guitarist Mick Taylor in 1969, who remained with them through 1974; in June 1969, Jones drowned in his own swimming pool. The Stones' next album, Let It Bleed, featured the hit "Gimme Shelter" (1969); it was followed by their appearance at the infamous Altamont Speedway outside of San Francisco, where the Hell's Angels notoriously beat and murdered members of the crowd, documented in the documentary film Gimme Shelter (1970).

In 1971, the group formed their own record label, releasing the album Sticky Fingers, featuring the #1 hit, "Brown Sugar." To avoid the high rate of taxes in Britain, the band moved to the South of France where they recorded Exile on Main Street (1972), a #1 album. However, Richards was increasingly suffering from heroin addiction. Other early '70s hits included "Angie" (1973) and "It's Only Rock and Roll" (1974). Guitarist Ronnie Woods, formerly with the Faces, was hired in 1975 to replace Taylor. The band enjoyed a second period of commercial success beginning with the album Some Girls, which featured the disco-flavored “Miss You” (1978), followed by “Emotional Rescue” (1980) from their next album. By 1983, however, Jagger and Richards were openly feuding, and the band teetered on the edge of breaking up, with both releasing solo albums; they reconciled by 1991, with the release of the album Steel Wheels. Wyman left the group in 1993 and was replaced by bassist Darryl Jones (who has never been made a full member of the band). Since then, the band has extensively toured on a regular basis and issued a variety of albums from new material to an album of blues covers. Their most recent release “Living in A Ghost Town” was issued in 2020, which was completed with the band working remotely during the time of COVID. The band's original lineup was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.


See memoirs by B. Wyman (1990) and K. Richards (2010, with J. Fox); S. Booth, The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones (2000), P. Norman, The Stones (upd. ed. 2002), B. Wyman, Rolling with the Stones (2002) and From the Inside (2020), R. Greenfield, Exile on Main Street (2008), T. Sanchez, Up and Down with the Rolling Stones (2011), S. Egan, Keith Richards on Keith Richards (2013), P. Trynka, Brian Jones: The Making of the Rolling Stones (2014), R. Cohen, The Sun, The Moon, and the Rolling Stones (2017), P. Norman, Mick Jagger (2018).

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