The Rolling Stones have celebrated over 50 years together as they continue to spread their famous songs and the spirit of Rock ‘n Roll. With a new tour kicking off in the U.S. soon, it appears that they finally got some satisfaction!
It all began with two British kids who knew each other in elementary school in their hometown of Dartford, Kent, in England. From there, it took off as those two kids, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, reunited years later in 1961, to form a band. They recruited the help of guitarist Brian Jones and keyboardist Ian Stewart to join them in their passion for music, and their dream of becoming a real, successful band. Little did they know, their dreams were about to take the shape of something much bigger than they could have imagined. Naming their band The Rolling Stones after a Muddy Waters’ song, the four bandmates played their first gig at the Marquee Club in 1962. The group experienced some minimal success covering other artists’ songs, and they soon decided to enlist bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts. Focusing heavily on Blues and a rough, early, Rock ‘n Roll sound, the band began slowly to produce their own hits, encouraged by the positive reactions they’d gotten to their covers.
“The Last Time” debuted as the band’s first real single, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, on February 26th, 1965 in the U.K. For their first organic piece of music, it did exceedingly well, hitting the top of the U.K. charts, and reaching #10 in the U.S. when it was released here a bit later. Their first worldwide hit came soon after in that same year, when “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” dropped on June 6th in the U.S. and August 20th in the U.K. It reached #1 in both countries and remains one of the world’s most famous and treasured songs even to this day. In fact, it was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2006. The song was featured on The Rolling Stones’ American version of Out of Our Heads, their third British studio album. That album went on to do well as it featured, much like their first two albums, covers of various Rhythm and Blues songs, and a couple of originals. It became the group’s first #1 album on the Billboard 200.
1966 was a game changer for The Stones as they released Aftermath, their first album that consisted of all original songs, no covers. It was also the first album to be recorded entirely in the U.S. In 1967, challenge was on the horizon for the band as changes began to happen left and right. After their experimental psych-pop album Between the Buttons was released early that same year, legal trouble made an appearance into the bands’ lives. After rumors of the group’s drug use began to swirl around the media, police raided Richards’ home, and found the drugs they were looking for. Richards and Jagger were charged with drug offenses and had to wait to find out if they would serve prison time. A couple of weeks later, their guitarist Brian Jones’ home was also raided by the police, and they arrested and charged him with possession of cannabis. During this time, the band recorded the song, “We Love You,” where they thanked their fans for their support during the trying time. After facing trial, it was decided that none of The Stones would face prison time, and they got off on relatively light charges.
Two more albums followed after the light drug charges, but the problem of drug abuse had yet to fade completely from their lives. Brian Jones began to rarely show up to the studio due to his increasing drug and alcohol problems, causing a rift with the other members of the band. On Let It Bleed (1969), Jones is only featured on two songs due to his disappearance during recording sessions. He continued to become even more unreliable, and The Rolling Stones were forced to cut ties with him. He left the band in June of 1969, and tragically, a month later, was found dead in his swimming pool. There’s debate over what caused his death, with some saying it was a drug overdose, and others claiming it was a murder, but it was officially ruled a “death by misadventure.” The Rolling Stones performed at London’s Hyde Park two days later, where they dedicated the concert to the late Jones. Soon after, they had hired a new guitarist, Mick Taylor, and they continued to make the music that their fans loved so dearly.
Things began to look up for the band in 1971 as they created their own label, Rolling Stones Records. Sticky Fingers released that same year was wildly popular with songs like “Brown Sugar” and “Dead Flowers.” More of a Country and Jazz feel appeared on this album, and fans loved it as it hit #1 on both the British and U.S. charts, and stayed there for weeks on end. The year after, the band’s creativity seemed to be at their peak as they released Exile on Main St., an album that dabbled in different genres like Country, R&B, Blues, Folk and more. It explored topics like sex, hedonism and time through its sensual lyrics. When it first came out, critics were harsh on their opinion of it, but in later years, when it was reassessed, it became regarded as one of The Stones’ best albums.
In 1975, Mick Taylor decided to leave the Rolling Stones, and was soon replaced by guitarist Ron Wood. The first full album he contributed to was Black and Blue in 1976, which stayed at the #1 spot in the U.S. for four weeks, and at #2 in the U.K. In 1978, a new groove was starting to take over the music industry as disco and punk started to become popular. The Rolling Stones’ attempt at mixing into this new genre was 1978’s Some Girls, which earned the band their first Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. Almost ten years later, in 1986, the band would see their first Grammy win for a Lifetime Achievement Award. Both Keith Richards and Mick Jagger pursued solo endeavors during the next couple of years, while also working on The Stones’ albums. Mick Jagger teamed up with David Bowie to record “Dancing in the Street” and it reached #1 in the U.K. and #7 in the U.S. He also worked on his first solo album, She’s The Boss, which debuted in 1985 and saw success on the charts. Jagger has four solo albums to his name, with the last one released in 2001. Richards released his solo album, Talk Is Cheap, in 1988, during his fall-out with Jagger over his solo work, and the album was met with critical acclaim. Richards has three solo albums; the last of which was released in 2015. Although these solo adventures caused some tension between the band members, it’s clear that their loyalty runs so deep that they couldn’t ever possibly break up. To this day, Jagger, Richards, Wood, and Watts continue to tour and sing the songs that caused so many people to fall in love with Rock ‘n Roll in the first place.
The band’s recent musical adventure was the 2016 album Blue & Lonesome, which won a Grammy in 2017 for Best Traditional Blues Album. It also debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200, and at #1 on the U.K. Album chart. That album was a huge deal when it came out that year, as prior to that, The Stones had taken an eleven-year hiatus, with their previous album being released in 2005, A Bigger Bang. The band has discussed breaking up with multiple news outlets and each time they express that they don’t see it happening. They’ve been performing for decades together, and their shared passion is what keeps them going, year after year.
The Rolling Stones will wow crowds once more as they prepare to take off on their newest tour: No Filter. For a band that’s been around since 1962, it’s a bit strange to see them choosing a tour name that kind of embodies this new generation. “No Filter” can be taken as not using any photo filters on Instagram, but in a second sense, it can be used to describe the band’s characteristic rebellious and dangerous attitude. Either way, the tour name makes sense as the band will hit the stage once more to impress both decades old fans and perhaps younger fans who have just discovered them via streaming platforms, like Spotify and Apple Music. They will be performing their SoFlo show at the Hard Rock Stadium on April 20th, so purchase those tickets and get ready to rock out!
By Selene Rivera