The Rolling Stones

Back Story

  • ORIGIN: London, UK
  • CORE MEMBERS: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood (joined 1975), Bill Wyman (1962-1993), Brian Jones (1962-1969), Mick Taylor (1969-1974), Ian Stewart (1962-1963, 1963-1985 as pianist)
  • GENRES: Rock’n’roll
  • YEARS ACTIVE: 1962-present

Like the Galapagos’s giant tortoises, The Rolling Stones have been around so long that the mind boggles when you reflect upon what they’ve seen come and go. Not for them the radical reinventions of your Bowies and Madonnas, but the world’s greatest rock’n’roll band has proved admirably resilient, surviving deaths, line-up changes and countless squabbles over songs, women and knighthoods.

At their centre: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, two blues enthusiasts who went down to the crossroads via Dartford. Their songwriting partnership might have started later than The Beatles’ John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s, but it was marked by a truer symbiosis, and evinced a better understanding of the American music that galvanised them... (continues below)


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Soon came the riffs (Satisfaction; Brown Sugar) and the myths (that Mars Bar; Keith’s regular transfusions of blood) that helped the Stones epitomise all that was hip, iconic and taboo about rock. When The Beatles folded in 1970, the Stones strutted on without rival or equal, defining and loosening their sound on albums such as Sticky Fingers and Exile On Main St., and playing camped-up, hard-edged shows that were masterclasses in band-as-gang showmanship.

In this day and age if you take it too seriously, you’re f—ked!
— Keith Richards, MOJO, 2015

These days, it’s the tours that make headlines. Why? Because there’s something Herculean about a band whose three original members’ combined age tops 180 still managing to out-draw all pretenders to their throne. Even the comparatively tour-reluctant Charlie Watts now seems to take a perverse pleasure in keeping on keeping on.

For Keith “The only honourable way to leave the Stones is to die” Richards, meanwhile, the band’s longevity is beyond priceless. It is with great respect, then, that we raise a glass to The Rolling Stones’ majestic back catalogue – thrilling music to get you up and at it, and a repository for some of the sassiest grooves this world has to offer.