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The Rolling Stones: Over 50 Years of Creating Music History.

Updated on August 26, 2014
Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts.
Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts.

The Rolling Stones

For many of us that grew up in the 60’s and 70’s there were often ongoing discussions within households of who was better, the Stones or the Beatles. In my home we liked the Beatles but agreed that the “The Rolling Stones” were the greatest rock and roll band ever. I am always happy to oblige people when asked to back that statement. Once Jagger and Richards started writing their own lyrics they dominated. Songs like “Paint it Black”, “19th Nervous Breakdown”, “Gimme Shelter”, Sympathy for the Devil” would lead the way for them gaining the title the greatest rock and roll band in the world. Then to top it off with great performances by Mick Jagger as their front man this band was destined for great things. Going into the 80’s and the decades that followed, songs that were produced by the band are still great songs that will stand the test of time.

~ Please allow me to introduce myself
I'm a man of wealth and taste
I've been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man's soul and faith
And I was 'round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game...

The Rolling Stones Logo
The Rolling Stones Logo

The Stones Get Rollin

The history of The Rolling Stones starts with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards bumping into each other on the train. Having been friends as little kids and not having seen each other in years did not stop them from picking up where they had left off. Both discovering that they had a love for music, and both especially loved the blues music that was coming out of the US. Keith at this time was a pretty good guitar player and was looking for a way to further his love of music and briefly played with others. From there the two would hook up with Brian Jones and Ian Stewart in the year of 1962. Drummer Charlie Watts and Bassist Bill Wyman would complete the group. The band over the years would have its trouble from within and would eventually go through changes. One change early on was the Ian Stewart was pulled from the line up but still played with the band until his death in 1985. Decca Records did not consider Stewart a sellable to the young public audiences. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards formed a song writing partnership that would produce such hits as, Paint It Black, Sympathy for the Devil, and countless others. Jagger slowly became the leader of the band when Brian Jones the founder was slipping farther into drug and alcohol addiction. Jones was found dead in his swimming pool in 1969 and just recently Scotland Yard reopened his death to look into it further some forty years later. Jones was replaced by Mick Taylor who joined the band before Jones death because it was necessary since Jones could not make it into the studio to work on their current album. Mick Taylor stayed with the band till 1974 when he surprised band mates that he was leaving to do his own thing and he was replaced by Ron Wood in 1975. In the year of 1992 Bass player Bill Wyman decided it was time to retire and spend time with his new young wife at the time. Wyman would later form his own band which allowed him to pursue his love of Jazz. To fill the spot Darryl Jones stepped in and has been their bassist since 1994 but he is not considered an official band member.

~ I stuck around St. Petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the czar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain
I rode a tank
Held a general's rank
When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
Ah, what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah...

The Stage
The Stage
The Crowd
The Crowd

The Music

In June 1963 the Stones released their first single, Chuck Berry’s “Come On". It made sense they would do a Chuck Berry song since his style of music and guitar playing influenced both Jagger and Richards. The single reached number 21 on the British charts. In December 1963 the Stones’ second single, “I Want to Be Your Man” (written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney), made the British top 15. In January 1964 the Stones did their first headlining British tour, with the Ronettes, and released a version of Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away,” which rose to number 3. “Not Fade Away” also made the U.S. singles chart rising to number 48. The band members had been seen urinating in public which was reported by the media and the start of being rocks bad boys began.

In April 1964 their first album was released in the U.K., which was followed two months later by their first American tour. Their cover of the Bobby Womack song “It’s All Over Now” was their first British number one hit. Their June American tour was a success and while in Chicago recorded, Five by Five EP at the Chess Records studio. When the band tried to give a press conference riots broke out. The Stones version of “Little Red Rooster,” was released and became another U.K. Number One, but was banned in the U.S. because of its “objectionable” lyrics. Not long after this Jagger and Richards would be the key songwriters for the group. In August their “Tell Me (You’re Coming Back to Me)” was the group’s first U.S. Top 40 hit. The follow-up, a non-original, “Time Is on My Side,” made it to number six on the charts in November.

In January 1965 their song “The Last Time” became another U.K. number one and cracked the U.S. Top 10 in the spring. The band’s next single, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” reigned at number one for four weeks that summer and remains one of their most notable songs. Other songs that did well on the charts in 1965 and 1966 “Get Off My Cloud” (Number One, 1965), “As Tears Go By” (Number Six, 1965), “19th Nervous Breakdown” (Number Two, 1966), “Mother’s Little Helper” (Number Eight, 1966), and “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?” (Number Nine, 1966).

~ I watched with glee
While your kings and queens
Fought for ten decades
For the gods they made
I shouted out,
"Who killed the Kennedys?"
When after all
It was you and me
Let me please introduce myself
I'm a man of wealth and taste
And I laid traps for troubadours
Who get killed before they reached Bombay
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah, get down, baby
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what's confusing you
Is just the nature of my game...

First Album - Aftermath

n 1966 the Stones released their first album with all original material, Aftermath. Two great songs off that album were “Paint It Black” and “Ruby Tuesday” which both reached number one in the charts. In January 1967 the Stones caused another sensation when they performed “Let’s Spend the Night Together” on The Ed Sullivan Show. The band was pressured to censor the lyrics and when Mick was asked about it later he did state that he had mumbled the lyrics.

~ Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me Lucifer
Cause I'm in need of some restraint
So if you meet me
Have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste
Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I'll lay your soul to waste, um yeah
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, um yeah
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, um mean it, get down
Woo, who
Oh yeah, get on down
Oh yeah
Oh yeah!
Tell me baby, what's my name
Tell me honey, can ya guess my name
Tell me baby, what's my name
I tell you one time, you're to blame
Ooo, who
Ooo, who
Ooo, who
Ooo, who, who
Ooo, who, who
Ooo, who, who
Ooo, who, who
Oh, yeah
What's me name
Tell me, baby, what's my name
Tell me, sweetie, what's my name

~ Sympathy For The Devil ~ Jagger and Richards

Their Satanic Majesties Request

Their Satanic Majesties Request and Beggars Banquet

The band next released Their Satanic Majesties Request , the Stones’ psychedelic answer to the Beatles Sgt. Pepper. In May 1968 the release of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” a number three hit, and after five months of delay because of a controversial album-sleeve cover, the eclectic Beggars Banquet was released and was hailed by critics as the band’s finest musical accomplishment

Brian Jones
Brian Jones

The Death of Brian Jones

On June 9, 1969, Brian Jones, the Stones most musically talented member left the band stating that he no longer saw eye-to-eye with his band mates. Jones was a musician that could pick up any instrument and learn to play it, and his influence can be heard on the early tracks that he participated in. On July 3, 1969, he was found dead in his swimming pool and the coroner’s report cited “death by misadventure.” At an outdoor concert in London’s Hyde Park a few days after Jones’ death, Jagger read an excerpt from the poet Shelley and released thousands of butterflies over the park.

Brian's death has had some controversy over the years but nothing has come from it. Even Scotland Yard just recently looked into Brian's death. Some of his friends thought it ironic that he would die while swimming since he was such a strong swimmer.

There next hit “Honky Tonk Women” was released two days after the concert in Hyde Park and would become another Stones classic.

The Stones during the summer of 2013 would once again play in hide park. You can catch this concert which is currently being shown on Showtime or you can buy the DVD.

Tragedy at Altamont

The band had a successful 1969 American tour, the band’s first U.S. trip in three years. But this success would be over shadowed by a death during a free concert at California’s Altamont Speedway. In the darkness amongst the crowd, a young black man, Meredith Hunter, was stabbed to death by members of the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang. The Stones took the advice of “The Grateful Dead” and hired the Hell’s Angels to deal with the crowd. This incident would haunt the band members and this unfortunate event lent itself to the dark image that was starting to surround the band. Earlier in the show the Stones had played “Sympathy for the Devil” which fueled the notion the lead singer Mick Jagger was Lucifer and this song led to the violence that occurred which resulted in Meredith Hunter’s murder. This concert would be released on film by the Maysles brothers in their feature-length documentary Gimme Shelter. The Stones would drop the tune from their stage shows for the next six years. Even with this tragedy the tour was successful and all tours that followed were very successful for the band. In December of 1969 the album, Let It Bleed was released which Jones only played on one track. For many fans this album is a favorite with songs, "Gimme Shelter", "Let it Bleed", Midnight Rambler", and Robert Johnson's "Love In Vain".

Get Yer Ya Ya's Out! and Exile on Main Street

In the fall of 1970 the Stones released a live album, Get Yer, Ya, Ya’s Out! and this album would go platinum. That same year the Stones formed their own Rolling Stones Records , an Atlantic subsidiary. The band’s first album for its own label which introduced their Andy Warhol designed lips and tongue logo. The album Sticky Fingers produced hits such as “Brown Sugar”, “Wild Horses” and the album would reach number one in the charts. In 1972 they followed up with Exile on Main Street which also went number one with hits like “Tumblin Dice and “Happy”. This was followed by Goats Head Soup which was released in 1973. One song that many liked off of this album was the song “Angie” which for many is a favorite. Other songs on this album where "Doo, Doo, Doo, Doo, (Heartbreaker)", and "Star,Star" with it's raunchy lyrics. In 1974 It’s Only Rock N Roll was released and also saw the departure of Mick Taylor who would be replaced by Ron Wood but not until 1976. The band tried out many guitar players until finally settling on Wood. During this time the Stones had released Black and Blue though this album only contained one hit “Fool to Cry” which reached number 10 on the charts.

Exile on Main Street was released with added tracks - Collectors Edition 2010

Some Girls

Some Girls

Some Girls was released in 1978 and as in true Stones fashion had some controversy around it. The title song “Some Girls” caused a stir and so did the album cover which had celebrity faces on it. The cover would be changed to a more generic cover by omitting the celebrity faces that had been on the original release. The Stones over the next decade would release a number of albums but most only rose to number five on the charts. The band still had much success at selling out concerts during this time. The Rolling Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in January 1989 and later that year the band released, Steel Wheels which rose to number three on the charts. In 1992 Bill Wyman the bass player made it official and left the band after 30 years

Voodoo Lounge

In 1994 Jagger, Richards, Watts, and Wood, along with bassist Darryl Jones who replace Wyman, released the critically well-received Voodoo Lounge which reached number two on the charts. The Stones then embarked on a major tour that proved one of the highest-grossing of the year, earning a reported $295 million. Tickets for the shows sold out in record time and enjoyed record crowds. The album would earn the Stone a Grammy for best Rock and Roll album.

Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Ron Wood
Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Ron Wood

Bridges to Babylon

In 1997 they would release Bridges to Babylon which would be their 19th Platinum LP and would rise to number three on the charts. The tour that followed would be another success with its lavish set design and two hours of music by the band. The band would release a concert album, No Security in 1998.

A Bigger Bang

On Mick Jagger’s 62nd birthday, July 26, in the year 2005, the Stones announced they were releasing a new album, A Bigger Bang which would be followed by a tour. The tour took the band from North and South America to Europe, Asia and even the 2006 Super Bowl where they performed at half time. After everything was done two years later the band had earned a staggering $558 million, the highest-grossing tour of all time.

On Into Music History

The Stones released a 4-CD box set, The Biggest Bang, in June 2007; it was sold exclusively through Best Buy. Filmmaker Martin Scorsese's April 2008 documentary Shine a Lightintimately captured the Stones' 2006 Bigger Bang live performance at New York City's Beacon Theater from sixteen different camera angles and included guest performances by Christina Aguilera, Jack White, and Buddy Guy. If you have never seen the Rolling Stones in concert this film is a good one to watch. If you want some earlier works the movie Gimme Shelter or Ladies and Gentlemen the Rolling Stones, unfortunately this film was never released on VHS or CD. This film was shown at the popular midnight showings at movies theaters back in the late 70’s, early 80’s. Hopefully one day it will be released on DVD.

The Rolling Stones may not be at their peak anymore but they still deliver the goods. On tour they are one of the best, and never disappoint their fans. Even now well into their 60’s they can still play circles around those half their age. Mick Jagger keeps himself in shape and always steps up getting into top shape when going on tour. If you have ever been to one of their concerts Jagger covers a lot of ground during their two plus hour shows. Never a dull moment when you are at a Stones concert and that is part of the reason they are considered one of the best.

As for me and my years of being a Stones fan started in the early 70's. In my house the radio was almost always on and I remember hearing the song "Gimme Shelter" which is still one of my all time favorites. It wasn't until "It's Only Rock n Roll" release did I actually own a Rolling Stones album which I listened to constantly. I would later have to buy another because the vinyl LP was worn out. In July of 1978 just one month shy of my 17th birthday my Mom and I went to see the Stones in concert at Anaheim Stadium. It would be the first of many for me and my Mom. I tell people to stand in the LA Coliseum with 100,000 plus people is unbelievable. When the band takes the stage the energy that flows through the audience is inspiring. For two hours the fans sing along and have a great time. There are rumors that they will tour in 2011, and one can only hope. It would be nice to take my daughter who is 17 to her first Stones concert. It is an experience that should not be missed.

Where It All Began

One of The Stones all time great songs, Paint It Black


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    • profile image

      Asrar Chowdhury 

      6 years ago

      Thanks. Was searching for a CRITIQUE on The Rolling Stones. Found it. Salaam and Greetings from Bangladesh. Thoroughly enjoyed this piece. "It's [been] only rock 'n roll, but [we all do] like it"!

    • Lady_E profile image


      6 years ago from London, UK

      They are Huge and still rocking... :)

    • mkott profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Reno, Nevada


      I have heard rumors that there has been talks about going on tour in 2011. Keith's book will be an interesting read, to say the least.

    • DanielCook profile image


      7 years ago from London

      Good article - I'm a massive Stones fan thanks to my Dad. My recent hub (Music in 2011 - Part 3: Great Gigs)discusses whether or not they will tour in 2011 and the impact of Keith's book. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Quality article and very informative for a recent rocker like me

    • profile image

      china man 

      8 years ago

      this is how I remember it - good work and nicely written.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley Marks 

      8 years ago from California

      Mkott, it seems you're a rocker like me, that is somebody who avidly writes about such folks as the Rollin' Stones, whom I listed as #4 on my list of the Ten Greatest Rock Bands of All Time. If you've got time, please check out my list. Later!

    • mkott profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      We did manage to get him to see Johnny Cash. But then we are talking about the, Man In Black.

    • profile image

      Pat in Reno 

      8 years ago

      Yes, Michele & I went to many Rolling Stones concerts.Plus seeing Peter Gabriel, U2,David Bowie,Neil Diamond,Sting and so on & so on. When my son got old enough we all went. Sometimes with their friends. What fun. Not mention crazy.

      P,S. my husband never went....he didn't like rock and roll.

    • mkott profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      Thanks BkCreative and Andrew49

      I could not say which album is my favorite but, Let It Bleed, and Some Girls are great bodies of work.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great piece of writing on this legendary band. My favourite album is Let It Bleed followed by Voodoo Lounge. Let It Bleed was the second album from this band in a quartet of true classic albums [ Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Stick Fingers and Exile on Main Street ] which defined rock and roll.

    • BkCreative profile image


      8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I was always such a big, big fan! And loved "Some Girls" and looove the score Mick Jagger did for the new "Alfie" - this is such a nice tribute.

      That logo sums them up! Thank you!


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