Rollings Stones !!

Little did the Rolling Stones know how apt their name - inspired by the title of a Muddy Waters song, “Rollin’ Stone” - would turn out to be. Formed in 1962, they hold the record for longevity as a rock and roll band. There have been hiatuses, especially in the 1980s, but never a breakup. Moreover, critical acclaim and popular consensus has accorded them the title of the “World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band.” Throughout five decades of shifting tastes in popular music, the Stones have kept rolling, adapting to the latest styles without straying from their roots as a lean, sinuous rock and roll band with roots in electric blues and Chuck Berry-style rock and roll. In all aspects, theirs has been a remarkable career.

The Rolling Stones are a British rock band who rose to prominence during the mid-1960s. The band was named after a song by Muddy Waters, a leading exponent of hard-rocking blues. (This was a popular choice of name; at least two other bands are believed to have called themselves The Rolling Stones before the "real" Stones were formed.) In their music, the Rolling Stones were the embodiment of the idea of importing blues style into popular music. Their first recordings were covers or imitations of rhythm and blues music, but they soon greatly extended the reach of their lyrics and playing, but rarely, if ever, lost their basic blues feel.

The original lineup included Mick Jagger (vocals), Brian Jones (guitar), Keith Richards (guitar), Ian Stewart (piano), Charlie Watts (drums) and Bill Wyman (bass). By the time of their first album release Ian Stewart was "officially" not part of the band, though he continued to record and perform with them.Brian Jones, although popular and charismatic, was forced out of the band and died an enigmatic death, presumed accidental at the time, although accusations have surfaced that he was murdered. Jagger and Richards took over songwriting and performance leadership. Jones had favored sticking close to the blues base, although he had also experimented with the sitar, but Jagger and Richard broadened their approach.

The band came into being in 1961 when former schoolfriends Jagger and Richards met Brian Jones, while all three were students (Jones & Richards at art school, Jagger at the London School of Economics). United by their shared interest in rhythm and blues music the group rehearsed extensively, playing in public only occasionally at Alexis Korner's Crawdaddy Club in London. At first Jones, a guitarist who also toyed with numerous other instruments, was their creative leader. Taking their name from a Muddy Waters song, the band rapidly gained a reputation in London for their frantic, highly energetic covers of the blues and R'n'B songs of their idols and, through manager Andrew Oldham were signed to Decca Records (who had passed when offered The Beatles). At this time their music was fairly primitive: Richards had learned much of his guitar playing from the recordings of Chuck Berry, and had not yet developed a style of his own, and Jagger was not as in control of the idioms as he would soon become. Already though, the rhythmic interplay between Watts and Richards was clearly the heart of their music.
In 1966, after The Beatles stopped giving live performances, The Rolling Stones took over as the unofficial "biggest touring band in the world" for the next few years. During 1966-1969 they toured the world, and constantly updated their song-list with many great hits like "Lets Spend the night together" (1967), "Sympathy for the Devil" (1968) and "Honky tonk woman" (1969). The incredible international success of the Stones came with a sad side, caused by Brian's drug and alcohol abuse that impaired his speech and appearance, so the band-mates had to replace him. In July 1969, Brian Jones died of drowning in his swimming pool while having signs of drug overdose. Upon Richards's and Jagger's approval, guitarist Mick Taylor took Brian's place. Brian's death at age 27 made him one of the first members of the infamous "27 Club" of rock stars who died at that age. Although Brian's estrangement from his band-mates, and his numerous arrests were caused by his personal problems with drugs, both Richards and Jagger were blamed at the time for Brian's death. The loss of one of their founding members was a painful moment for the Stones. However, at the end of the 1960s their creativity reached the new highs. Their albums "Beggars Banquet" (1968) and "Sticky Fingers" (1971) were among the most popular albums they ever made, having such hits as "Wild Horses" and "Brown Sugar."

During the 1970s The Rolling Stones remained the biggest band in the world, albeit they were rivaled by the Led Zeppelin. The Stones made thousands of live performances and multi-million record sales with hits like "Angie" (1973), "It's Only Rock and Roll" (1974), "Hot Stuff" (1976) and "Respectable" (1978). At that time both Keith Richards and Mick Jagger had individual ambitions, and applied their untamed creativity in various projects outside the Stones. Keith released his own single. In 1974 Ron Wood had replaced Mick Taylor on guitar and Keith and Ron both played lead guitars. During the decade Keith Richards had a family crisis on his hands, and suffered through emotional pain and drug abuse, albeit it didn't stop him from being himself. In 1980 the group released "Emotional Rescue" which Keith Richards didn't care for, and the group didn't even tour to promote the album. In 1981 with the release of 'Tattoo You', the group went on a major world tour filling stadiums in the US and in Europe. In 1983 the Stones recorded the album "Undercover" at the Compass Point in Nassau and during this time Mick and Keith were having arguments over rights of the group. After having created tens of albums and over a hundred popular songs together, their legendary song-writing partnership was undergoing the most painful test: the bitter rivalry between two enormously talented and equally ambitious superstars.Often billed as "the world's greatest rock and roll band," the Rolling Stones have earned the title; if not for their musical prowess, then certainly for their longevity.

In May 1963 the Rolling Stones signed to Decca Records and cut their first single. With a Chuck Berry-penned A side (“Come On”) and a Willie Dixon cover on the flip (“I Want to Be Loved”), this 45 set forth the rock/blues dichotomy whose eventual melding in the Jagger/Richards songwriting team would come to define the Stones’ sound and sensibility. Their second single, “I Wanna Be Your Man,” was provided to them by the Lennon/McCartney songwriting tandem, proving from the outset that there no hostilities existed between the Beatles and the Stones. However, a spirit of friendly competition would serve each band well throughout the Sixties. The first half of 1964 saw the Rolling Stones headline their first British tour (with the Ronettes) and release the single “Not Fade Away” (a powerfully retooled Buddy Holly cover) and their eponymous first album, retitled England’s Newest Hitmakers/The Rolling Stones for U.S. release.

The Rolling Stones already had two albums out in England by the time they broke the U.S. Top 10 with "The Last Time," written by Jagger and Richard. And in the summer of 1965 they had a worldwide Number 1 hit with "Satisfaction." Propelled by Richard's fuzz-tone riff and Jagger's lyrics of a man who couldn't get enough, the song immediately secured a seat in rock history. Oldham had played up the outlaw image of the band to the point where they became the image, and he was no longer needed.The year 1967 was an eventful one for the Rolling Stones. Not only did they release three albums, but also they were beset with legal troubles stemming from a string of drug busts engineered by British authorities wanting to make an example of them. When the dust cleared, Jagger, Richards and Jones narrowly escaped draconian prison sentences. However, whereas the ordeal seemed to strengthen Jagger and Richards’ resolve, ongoing substance abuse was rapidly causing Jones’ physical and mental states to disintegrate. He was only marginally involved in sessions for Beggar’s Banquet, the Stones’ 1968 masterpiece, and his departure due to “musical differences” was announced on June 8th, 1969. Less than a month later, Jones was found dead in his swimming pool, the official cause being given as “death by misadventure.” 

His replacement was Mick Taylor, an alumnus of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers who made his debut with the Stones only days after Jones’ death at a free concert in London’s Hyde Park. The enormous outdoor concert launched the Stones’ 1969 tour while also paying last respects to Jones. By this time, the Stones had returned to definitive, hard-hitting rock and roll. The string of muscular Stones classics from this period includes “Jumping Jack Flash,” “Street Fighting Man,” “Sympathy for the Devil,” “Honky Tonk Women,” “Gimme Shelter” and “Midnight Rambler.” The last two songs came from Let It Bleed, an album filled with violence, decadence and social cataclysm. Perhaps the all-time classic Stones album, Let It Bleed debuted on the U.S. charts at #3, behind the Beatles’ Abbey Road and Led Zeppelin II. While the counterculture foundered, the music scene remained unassailably strong as the Sixties drew to a close.

As the Beatles’ final chapters were being written, the Stones shifted into high gear. If the former group expressed the heady idealism of the pop Sixties, then the Stones, by contrast, were blues-steeped, hard-rocking realists. It was them to whom the baton passed at the close of the decade. The Rolling Stones staged a free concert - at Altamont Speedway outside San Francisco on December 6, 1969, mere months after Woodstock - that literally and figuratively marked the end the Sixties. A violence-prone, drug-wracked, daylong nightmare for which Hell’s Angels provided security, Altamont was marred by the stabbing death of a concert attendee. The event, viewed in hindsight as an epitaph, was filmed and preserved in the unnerving documentary Gimme Shelter.

In 1971 The Stones formed their own label, Rolling Stones Records, and began to expand their musical horizons. Sticky Fingers contained jazz with "Can't You Hear Me Knockin," while the country-flavored "Dead Flowers" continued the trend of "Honky Tonk Women." Their next album, Exile on Main Street, oddly enough, was dismissed by critics when it came out, but over the years has come to be regarded as probably their finest recording. With Richard hanging out with Gram Parsons, the country influence was stronger than ever but the album also contains gospel ("I Just Want To See His Face"), blues ("Shake Your Hips"), and full-tilt rock ("Rip This Joint"). It is four sides of vintage Stones at their tightest, and loosest.
Their next two albums, Goat's Head Soup and It's Only Rock and Roll, contain both outstanding tracks and what some critics considered real dogs. "Time Waits For No One," with a beautiful solo by Taylor, shows just how much the Stones had changed, yet tracks like "Star Star" reveal just the opposite: the bad boys of rock just couldn't grow up.
As Richards removed himself from society, Jagger began to move in more elevated social circles. He married the pregnant Nicaraguan model Bianca P?ez Mora Mac?s and the couple's jet-set lifestyle put further distance between himself and Keith. They did have one further classic album within them. Pressured by the UK Inland Revenue service about several years of unpaid income tax, the band left for the South of France, where Richards rented a chateau and sublet rooms to the band members and assorted hangers-on. Using the recently completed Rolling Stones Mobile Studio they set about recording the double album Exile on Main Street (1972) in the basement of their new home. Dismissed by some on its release as sprawling and self-indulgent, the record is now considered among the band's greatest. The film Cocksucker Blues documents the subsequent tour.It would also be one of the last on which the band still functioned as a unit. By the time Exile had been completed Jagger had made the other band members aware that he was more interested in the celebrity lifestyle than working on its follow-up, and increasingly their records were made piecemeal, with tracks and parts laid down as, and when, the band, and Jagger and Richards in particular, could get together and remain amicable for sufficiently long to do so. When it finally arrived, Goats Head Soup (1973) was disappointing, with the Stones unique sound diluted by the influence of glam rock and memorable only for the hit single "Angie", popularly believed to be about David Bowie's new wife but in reality another of Richards' odes to Pallenberg. The making of the record was not helped by another legal battle over drugs, this one dating back to their stay in France.

By the time they came to Munich to record 1974's It's Only Rock And Roll, there were even more problems. Regular producer Jimmy Miller was not asked to participate in the sessions because of his increasing unreliabillity due to drug use. Critics generally wrote the album off as uninspired and "more of the same" from a band percieved as artistically stagnating, but both album and single were huge hits, even without the customary tour to promote them.Intra-band strife continued. Mick Taylor's intricate lead style and shy persona never quite matched Richards' outspoken image and basic, Chuck Berry inspired rhythm work. By the time of It's Only Rock And Roll Richards was reportedly berating Taylor during recording sessions, and Taylor contributed little to the album. Irked by percieved mistreatment, and a small share of the band's royalties, Taylor announced he was leaving the band shortly before sessions commenced for the next album, Black and Blue (1976).

The Rolling Stones used the Black and Blue sessions (again in Munich) to audition possible replacements. Guitarists stylistically far flung as Humble Pie lead Peter Frampton and ex-Yardbirds impressario Jeff Beck were auditioned. American session players Wayne Perkins and Harvey Mandel appeared on much of the album, but the band settled on Ron Wood, a long time friend of Richards and guitarist with The Faces, whose singer Rod Stewart had recently gone solo. Wood had already contributed to It's Only Rock 'n Roll, but his first public act with the band would be the 1975 American Tour.The shows featured a new format for the Stones with their usual "five guys on stage, playing" act replaced by increasingly theatrical stage props and gimmicks, including a giant inflatible phallus and a cherry picker on which Jagger would soar out over the audience. This represented a further breakdown in Mick and Keith's relationship -- the pragmatic Richards considering it entirely superfluous and distracting from the music. Again, Jagger was if nothing else shrewdly interpreting market trends- the mid-1970s were the era of flashy stage acts such as Kiss and Elton John, and the band's tours were to become even more expensive and elaborate in the years to come.

Although the Rolling Stones remained hugely popular through the '70s, music critics had grown increasingly dismissive of the band's output. Keith Richards would have more serious concerns in 1977. Despite having spent much of the previous year undergoing a series of drug therapies to help withdraw from heroin, including (allegedly) having having his blood filtered, Richards and Pallenberg were arrested in a Toronto hotel room and charged with possession of heroin. The case would drag on for a year, with Richards eventually receiving a suspended sentence and ordered to play a concert for a local charity. This motivated a final concerted attempt to his drug habit, which proved largely successful. It also coincided with the end of his relationship with Pallenberg, which had become increasingly strained since the tragic death of their third child (an infant son named Tara).

While Richards was settling his legal and personal problems, Jagger continued his jet set lifestyle. He was a regular at New York's Studio 54 disco club, often in the company of model Jerry Hall. His marriage to Bianca would end in 1977.By this time punk rock had become highly influential in pop circles, and the Stones were increasingly criticized as being decadent, aging millionaires, their music was considered by many to be either stagnant or irrelevant. Clash vocalist Joe Strummer even went so far as to declare "No Beatles, no Stones, no Elvis in '77."

In 1978 the band recorded Some Girls, their most focused and successful album for some time, despite the perceived misogyny of the title track upsetting many. Jagger and Richards seemed to channel much of the personal turmoil surrounding them into renewed creative vitality. With the notable exception of the disco-influenced "Miss You," (a hit single and a live staple) most of the songs on the album were fast, basic guitar-driven Rock and Roll, and the album did much to quell the band's critics.Emotional Rescue (1980) was in a similar vein, but lacked the redeeming features of its predecessor. Tattoo You (1981), like the album before it, was composed mainly of unused songs from earlier recording outings (The ballad "Waiting on a Friend" dated all the way back to the Goats Head Soup sessions). It also featured the single "Start Me Up," showing that Richards was still capable of writing guitar parts of the same calibre as ten years earlier. Tatoo You and the subsequent tour were major commercial successes.

Bassist Bill Wyman, increasingly suffering from fear of flying, announced his retirement from the band after the Steel Wheels tour, in 1992. “I did everything but hold him at gunpoint,” said Richards of his efforts to keep him in the band.” After auditioning many musicians, the Stones picked Darryl Jones - who’d played with various jazz, funk and soul musicians – to take over on bass. The Stones released two albums of new music in the Nineties, Voodoo Lounge (for which they won a Grammy for Best Rock Album) and Bridges to Babylon. Between those albums, they re-recorded a batch of classic older songs in the then-popular “unplugged” format, released at mid-decade as Stripped. Their three tours during this busy decade were the best-attended and most lucrative live outings in rock history to that point in time.

In 2002, The Rolling Stones issued Forty Licks, a double-disc retrospective that appended four new tracks. Their 40th anniversary tour followed that same year. In 2005 came A Bigger Bang, their only studio album of new material in the decade. The Stones’ primary activity came on the touring front, as their two-year A Bigger Bang World Tour set a new record ($558 million) for concert grosses. Not even a serious head injury, sustained  by Richards during a fall from a coconut palm in Fiji could stop the juggernaut for long.

Through their five decades as a band, no one has yet stripped the Rolling Stones of their title as the World’s Greatest Rock & Roll Band. In 2002 Keith Richards had this to say in USA Today about the group’s improbable longevity: “People thought it couldn’t be done. We never thought of trying it. We are just here. It’s a vague mission you can’t give up until you keel over.”