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A group of young men who had been in music for some while by the name” The rolling Stones” placed a claim that they were the greatest Rock & Roll band in the whole world in the later part of 1960s. Most people disputed the claim and little did they know the group had actually raised to a world class musicians. Since then, the Rolling Stones’ music which is mainly based on Rhythms and Blues has continued to sound vital pieces through the decades.
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During the period of British invasion in 1964, the members of this group were called the bad boys instead of the world’s best band. What was viewed initially as a gimmick later led to a world image that many people especially their critics could not believe. One of their comrades Brian Jones met his death in 1969 which is up to date a mystery. This tragic year also saw violent murder during their set towards the end of the year at Altamont (Regina, 1980).
This band pioneered the famous ridiculing tone of British rock’s detachment and they did this through the music they composed. They wrote songs about offhand brutality, implied sex as a source of power among other compositions that were according to British community then, a taboo.
This group did not act as per the norms of its community. Mike Jagger in his music and social controversies as a musician in this band was perceived to be evil and was as a result branded the name ‘Lucifer’. He released ‘sympathy for the devil’ which, to many, was like an admission that what he and his group were doing was devilish.
The Rolling Stones Band
Dartford Maypole County Primary School is legendry to Jagger and Richards for this was their first meeting place. Afterwards in1960 the duo discovered one familiar thing concerning themselves which was love for R&B. They managed to develop a reciprocal friendship with Dick Taylor, who was a guitarist and was pursuing economic studies in a London school. Jagger and Richards teamed up with Taylor and this also saw Richards becoming a second guitarist when they formed the Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys band.
This formation was disastrous for Richards as he was debarred from Dartford Technical College for absenteeism. Interestingly, Brian Jones started playing bebop alto sax and clarinet while in Cheltenham. One of the most awful things, at the age of sixteen Brian Jones had to flee briefly to Scandinavia for he had been a father to two illegitimate kids. Immediately after Jones returned back to Cheltenham, they teamed up with Ramrods prior to proceeding to London. Once he settled in London he joined Alexis Korner in his band which played blues.
This did not stop him from organizing his own band of which he incorporated Ian Stewart who was a renowned pianist in London (Sandford & Richards, 2004). Just as his colleague Elmo Lewis, Jones started to work at Ealing Blues Club and later joined other groups in singing blues. With this new group, he met and played with drummer Charlie Watts. While at one side Richards and Jagger started jamming with playing Blues music, these two together with Jones started going in to private music practice while Jagger became the most famous and featured singer of the time with blues, Inc. while in the city of London, the three friends and blues musicians Jones, Jagger and Richards rented a tiny apartment.
Together with Tony Chapman who was a drummer, they cut a demo tape which to their disappointment did not meet the standards of EMI and was therefore rejected. Taylor left his colleagues to join the royal college of arts after which he started ‘Pretty Things’. The genesis of the name The Rolling Stones can be traced to this period when Taylor left. It is after his leaving when they did the song ‘Muddy Waters’.
It is this particular song that earned them the name of their band which they were to use to rise to fame and be universally recognized as the best Rock music in the whole world. Life was a little bit a challenge to the group but when one of their colleagues Ian Stewart got a job with a chemical company in London, the rest of the group could not starve to death because there was something to eat, at least (Regina, 1980).
July 1962, the band; ‘The Rolling Stones was made up of its veterans Jagger, Jones, Richards together with bass voice singer Taylor Dick and drummer Mick Avory. The latter was to join the Kinks group later. This band staged their first work at the Marquee on the 12 th of July, 1962 (Sandford &Richards, 2004). Two guys from the Clifton’s band namely Chapman and Bill Wyman soon replaced Avory and Taylor respectively after their departure from the Rolling Stones band.
According to Jagger, Jones and Richards, Chapman did not fit well in his new position. To avoid a mistake in appointing a person to replace Mr. Chapman, they decided to take their time, actually several months, to recruit Charlie Watts. They took much caution in executing this exercise because they simply wanted the best person to take that role satisfactorily. Charlie Watts previously worked in Blues.
He was an employee to an advertising agency. At one time, the Blues’ schedule would get too busy and it made his job difficult, he had decided to leave the group and concentrate on his advertising job. Recruiting Mr. Watts who was an advertiser is felt to have been a strategic approach for the members of the Rolling Stones band. First, Mr. Watts was a famous man in the city and he could appear in company advertisements for brands.
Such a famous person being associated with the band and actively participating in the Rolling Stones made the group feel proud. Most of their fans would come to see the man they saw in television adverts perform live. This contributed positively in getting more fans and more cash in that case (Sandford & Richards, 2004).
In January 1963, Mr. Watts officially joined, thus completing the band. Their fortune began when Mr. Gomelsky Giorgio, who was a local businessman, signed a deal with the Rolling Stones where they were to perform at his Crawdaddy club for eight months. This residency was most successful for the band. The owner of this club remained the manager of the Stones, although unofficially, they were signed as clients to Andrew Loog Oldham who obtained finances from Eric Easton.
Their sponsorship by Oldham was meant to raise their status so that they may out-compete the Beatles who were then the sensation of Britain. This kind of promotion was an easy way out for Mr. Stewart, who despite being mild-mannered was the band’s popular pianist both on tour and road within the residence (Sandford& Richards, 2004).
The Rolling Stones released their first track single in June 1963, known as ‘Come on’ by Chuck Berry. When the Stones first played on the British TVs ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’ Program, the producer of that program reportedly advised the groups sponsor and manager to get rid of Stewart because he was ‘vile-looking singer with the tire thread lips’ (Mick et al. 2003).
Despite this criticism, that single reached number twenty one on the British best music chart. The same year, the Rolling Stones for the first time participated in the London based National Jazz and Blues Festival which was held annually.
In September 1963, the Rolling Stones band was short listed among other bands that were to participate in a package of tour entertaining their fans while promoting the business of their sponsors. Included in the tour were other bands such as Everly brothers, Little Richard and Bo Diddley. In December 1962, the Rolling Stones band released their second single track known as ‘I wanna be your man’ which was entirely written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. This track brought much fame to the band and it featured in the top 15 hits in Britain.
In January 1964, The Rolling Stones band for the first time headlined a tour in Britain with the Ronettes. They jointly released a version of ‘Not fade away’ which had earlier been done by Buddy Holly. This track rose up the chart and unbelievably was rated third. The track did not only bring fame to the Rolling Stones in Britain but also crosses borders as far as the US where it was rated No. 48 in the US singles charts.
Meanwhile, the band had actually attained the dreams of their sponsors and manager because it was a real sensation in Britain. At times, the press would report things like members of the band had been spotted urinating in public which was a show of ill manners but at same time a proof of sensation in the city (Obrecht 1980).
In April 1964, Rolling Stones band released their first album in United Kingdom which was followed by an American tour barely two months later in June 1964. They covered the song ‘it’s all over now’ which had earlier been as collaboration between Valentinos and Bobby Womack. This song had been rated the British number 1 and had been one of their own (Stephen 2006).
In their tour to America in June 1964, they stopped at the city of Chicago based Chess Records, to record ‘five by five’ EP. Their recording was a success although there was a challenge when riots broke out when the band members attempted to address the press. Meanwhile, the band’s version of the blues standard track ‘little red rooster’ which had been rated number 1 on Britain’s chart was banned in the US market and media for claims that it had “objectionable” lyrics (Sandford & Richards, 2004).
At this time, both Jagger and Richards had already started the composition of their own tunes initially using ‘Nanker Phelge’ for compositions which they made jointly. In August 1964, one of Jagger and Richards piece “Tell me (you are coming back home) was one of the joint composition tracks which was accepted in the US and rated in the top forty (Regina 1980).
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In November 1964, another composition by Jagger and Richards which was original, “Time is on my side” was rated number 6 on the top hit chart in US. Since then, very few of the songs that were performed by the Rolling Stones band were a joint-composition of Richards and Jagger (Nico 2008).
The year 1965 was a good year for the group because they recorded success. Their hit “The late time” became number one on the UK charts while it appeared in the top ten hits in the US in that spring. The stones next single release was “I can’t get no satisfaction” which consecutively remained number 1 for four weeks in the summer of 1965 and it is perceived to have been the most famous song.
The talented and creative duo (Jagger & Richards) continued to write songs but with time, their composition became more sophisticated. Their work was worth their effort because each of their composition appeared in the top hit charts either in the UK or the US. Some of their most famous tracks include ‘get off my cloud’ which was No. 1 in 1965, ‘as tears go by’ rated position 6 in 1965, ’19th nervous breakdown rated second in 1966, ‘mother’s little helper’ rated 8 in 1966 and ‘have you seen your mother, baby, standing in shadow?” which was rated ninth in 1966.
The Rolling Stones released their primary LP 1966 and it was a set of purely original material (Sandford & Richards, 2004). Although it was expected to bring much impact in the music industry and market, the impact was significantly minimized because the Beatles released their ‘Revolver’ while Dylan Bob released his ‘Blonde on Blonde’ almost at the same time. This resulted in steep competition in the market because despite these three simultaneous releases by industry foes, the Middle Eastern had produced ‘paint it black’ in 1966 and the ballad “ruby Tuesday” which had remained the number 1 hits in the US (Obrecht 1980). They were simply unbeatable.
In January 1967, there was a stir up of another sensation in Ed Sullivan show when the stones performed their ‘let’s spend the night together’ which was side B of Ruby Tuesday. In this show, Jagger instead of singing the words in the title line mumbled because there was a threat of censorship after some people made claims that the first line of the track had been censored. Many people anticipated that Jagger sung the phrase ‘let’s spend some time together with clarity and audibly (Mick et al. 2003).
In February 1967, Jagger and Richards faced a major challenge when the two were arrested while in Britain in connection to crime of possessing drugs (Stephen 2006).May 1967, another challenge faced the Rolling Stones band with the arrest of Brian Jones. Luckily, the heavy jail sentences which had been made upon the three artistes were eventually put in to suspension following an appeal by their lawyer.
As a result of this drawback, the Rolling Stone band members decided to refrain from making public appearances whether performing or in private business but this were a temporary measure and a strategy to recollect and reflect on their plight. Jagger with his love, singer Marianne Faithfull, flew to India in the company of Beatles to meet star Maharishi Yogi. Following this episode, the Rolling Stones did not release another single until much later in the fall when they released the hit ‘Dandelion’ which was ranked number 14 while its side B ‘we love you’ was rated 50. In this last hit, both J. Lennon and P. McCartney sang back-up voices and the aim of this hit was to thank all fans of the Rolling Stones
(Sandford & Richards, 2004).
December 1967, the Stones released their ‘Satanic Majesties Request’ which was their psychedelic response to ‘Sgt. Pepper’ by the Beatles which was perceived to be an ambitious mess (Regina 1980). It took some time for ‘she is a rainbow’ which was a lone single track in their album featured in the top 25 chart. By the time it entered the chart, management of the group had been put under the responsibility of Allen Klein (Obrecht 1980).
In May 1968, a hit track named ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ was released and it was placed position 3 in the charts. In this month, basic rock and roll returned. Again, the electric ‘Beggars Banquet’ was in market after a 5- month delay which resulted from some sleeve photos which were in the controversial package. Critics of the band claimed that this album had been the best piece of work the Stones had ever made (Mick et al. 2003).
On June 9th 1969, the greatest setback to the band struck. One of the most reliable and adventurous members by the name Brian Jones left the band. Jones had lent to the band a marimba, sitar and dulcimer. He had also been to Morocco where he recorded nomadic musicians who belonged to the Joujouka community. The explanation he gave for his quitting was that he did not see eye-to eye with other band members over the discs they were jointly cutting any more. Jones had made public his intentions to start his own band. The group reacted to this withdrawal swiftly and within a week, his position was taken up by Mick Taylor who was a former guitarist in the John Mayall band (Obrecht 1980).
On July 3rd 1969, Brian Jones was found dead in his own swimming pool. Reports cited it as “death by misadventure”. It was revealed that Jones had been beset by drug problems and it had clearly come to him that the Rolling Stones band was owned by Jagger and Richards who made him barely participate in the various sessions of Beggars Banquet. A Few days after death of Jones, the Stones performed in open at Hyde Park (Mick et al. 2003).
A day after burial of Brian Jones, on July 11th 1969, the Stones released ‘Honkey Tonk Women’, and another classic. At this time, every one of their album was in high demand including “Let it Bleed” (Regina 1980).
Immediately after Jagger’s return from Australia where he was a celebrity in the film Ned Kelly, he started the band’s massive tour to America in 1969, after 3 years of not be able to visit the US (Mick et al. 2003). Their performance at Altamont Speedway, California turned tragic and portrayed the satanic image they had adopted earlier when the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang who had been hired by Stones to provide security stabbed a boy to death. This incident led to Stones dropping their stage shows for the following 6 years. The fall of 1970, after a long break from stage, they released a live album named ‘Get Yer Ya-Yas out. Later that year, the band founded the Rolling Stones Records (Obrecht 1980).
Mick, J. Richards, K. & Wood, C. (2003). Rolling Stones: Chronicle Books. ISBN 0-8118-4060
Nico, Z. (2008). The Complete Works of the Rolling Stones.New York: Sage Publication.
Obrecht, Jas. (1980). Mick Taylor: Ex-Rolling Stones on His Own, Guitar World,p.20.
Regina, R. (1980). Criminal Cases: Canada Law Book. p. 518.
Sandford, C. and Richards K. (2004). Satisfaction.New York: Caroll & Graf.
Stephen, T. (2006). Some Girls AMG: All music. London: Longman Publishers.
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