Incredible though it may seem, it’s time celebrate the golden anniversary of the Rolling Stones. Fifty years since their first show – how could the time fly by so fast? Sure, there have been some lean years in the most recent past, but their legacy endures. To get you in the mood for celebrating – and the Stones know all about celebrating – here are seven landmark moments in their band history.
1. Their first show.
That first concert took place on July 12, 1962, at the Marquee Club in London, England. They actually called themselves Mick Jagger and the Rollin’ Stones at that time. Only three of the original members are still in the band (Charlie Watts, Keith Richards and Jagger), but what an incredible journey for them and anyone who’s gotten close to the band.
2. Meeting Andrew Loog Oldham.
Andrew Loog Oldham’s astute business sense was just what the Stones needed in the early days. He took on the band in 1963, got the Rolling Stones a record deal, helped sort out their “look” and promoted the band as the opposite of the Beatles. If the Beatles were clean-cut gentlemen, the Stones were the bad boys of rock 'n’ roll. Oldham is credited for sparking the “Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone?” press campaign.
3. Recording at Chess Studios.
From the outset, the Rolling Stones were big on Chicago blues. It was a dream come true for them in 1964 when they recorded for the first time at Chess Studios in Chicago, home to many famous blues recordings by Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and Little Walter. While at the studio, they met their hero, Muddy Waters. For the Stones, it was a critical visit to the source of their musicality.
4. Writing their own songs.
In 1963, the Stones' first single was a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Come On.” With the help of their manager, Oldham, it became clear that the band needed to write their own songs. It offered the promise of greater financial gain, but also more satisfaction. The big breakthrough came in 1965. In the midst of their North American tour, Richards came up with the guitar riff for “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Soon the song was completed, recorded and released to become the first international hit for the Rolling Stones.
5. Farewell to Brian Jones.
Guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and founding member Brian Jones was there from the beginning. He recruited the band, he named the band. His love and knowledge of the blues was a touchstone for the band. Jones drowned in a swimming pool in 1969, less than a month after he was asked to leave the band due to substance abuse issues and legal problems. In all, it was a tough loss, and yet also the beginning of another important musical chapter with his replacement, Mick Taylor.
6. The Jimmy Miller albums.
Jimmy Miller was a drummer with a knack for producing great albums. He did so for bands like Traffic and Blind Faith, but several of his five albums with the Rolling Stones rank among the best in the history of pop music, and certainly among the Stones' own output. Between 1968 and 1973, he produced the following albums by the Stones: Beggars Banquet, Let it Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main St. and Goats Head Soup. Musically, this was the golden era of the Rolling Stones.
7. Toronto, El Mocambo and busted.
The Canadian connection for the Rolling Stones is big, but never bigger than it was in 1977. The band chose to record a live album at El Mocambo in Toronto – seemed like a great idea to make a live album in a club. Then things got strange. The last band member to arrive in Toronto for the recordings was Richards. Shortly after his arrival, Richards was arrested for possession of heroin. Nonetheless, the shows still happened at El Mocambo, and those recordings form part of the Love it Live album. It was a seminal moment for Richards. Soon afterwards, he began overcoming his heroin addiction. For Margaret Trudeau, it was a moment as well. Then prime minster Pierre Trudeau’s wife was seen partying with Jagger and the boys at El Mocambo.
8. Tattoo You and "Start Me Up."
To date, Tattoo You is the band’s last record to reach number one on the U.S. charts, the first being Sticky Fingers in 1971. The album includes one of their best-known hits, “Start Me Up,” along with other previously unreleased tracks. According to an interview with Stones engineer Chris Kimsey, the song actually began as a reggae track recorded in 1975, then rearranged in 1978, and finally re-recorded and released on Tattoo You.
9. The record-breaking tours.
The band’s Bigger Bang and Voodoo Lounge tours were record setters. The 1994-95 Voodoo Lounge took in $320 million, and between 2005-7, the band reportedly sold 4.68 million tickets for their 144-date Bigger Bang tour.
10. Reaching 50.
Rolling Stone magazine ranks the band as fourth in its list of 100 greatest artists of all time. Some say they’re the best rock 'n' roll band ever. One thing's for sure – the Rolling Stones have stood the test of time. Happy anniversary, boys.
Have a favourite Rolling Stones moment/memory you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.
And make sure you vote for which song is the greatest Stones song of all time. Vote and you could win a copy of the new book, Rolling Stones 50.
on Jul 11, 2012