The Rolling Stones are one of the most enduring bands in rock 'n' roll, having released upwards of 20 studio albums alone, and have embarked on some of the largest and most epic world tours known to the industry. Before they became globally ubiquitous, the Rolling Stones were a pioneering act of the first order, a gritty, blues-based rock 'n' roll band that played in stark contrast to the hum-able Beatles fare and gave face to a new legion of bold and bawdy rock stars. Melding influences far and wide, including hard rock, psychedelic, pop, blues, and country, the Stones were founded in London in 1962 by multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones and blues piano player Ian Stewart, and were eventually rounded out by the rest of the troop, comprised of singer Mick Jagger, guitarist Keith Richards, bassist Bill Wyman, and drummer Charlie Watts.
Their manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, got the band a contract with Decca Records in 1965, kicking off their popular music career. As a more dangerous pop/rock counterpart to the Beatles' brand of pop, the band released increasingly ambitious original work, including 1966's Aftermath and 1967's Between the Buttons. They would record two records before Jones left the band and tragically died in 1969: the psychedelic Their Satanic Majesties Request and thoroughly rocking Beggar's Banquet, both of which brought about considerable expansions in the band's sonic palette. The Stones brought in Mick Taylor to replace Jones, and Taylor stayed on board until 1974, around the time longstanding player Ronnie Wood jumped on board.
A notorious free gig at Altamont Speedway in California—an event documented in the grim rock documentary Gimme Shelter—would go down disastrously, erupting in violence and the death of a young black man in the crowd. In the years following this tragic event, the band would release two more classic records: 1971's Sticky Fingers and 1972's Exile on Main St. Their mid-'70s records would sell well but were not as well-received critically, until the release of the self-reinventing Some Girls in 1978, which masterfully incorporated the emerging disco, new wave, and punk trends into a strong, immediate set of songs. In the '80s, Tattoo You was quite successful commercially and critically, but their records in the years to come wouldn't be quite as strong/musically coherent due to Jagger and Richards' disagreement about what style of music to adopt. Each primary songwriter would release a solo album in the 1980s, and Richards' Talk Is Cheap turned out to be a great success—one of the best Stones-related albums ever.
The band would stage a number of highly profitable tours through the '80s and '90s, including those behind Steel Wheels, Voodoo Lounge, and Bridges to Babylon. Wyman would leave the group following the release of live record Flashpoint in 1991, replaced by bass player Darryl Jones. The Rolling Stones continue to record and tour to the present day, traveling further on what is already one of the longest ever careers in rock 'n' roll. Their most recent record is A Bigger Bang, released in 2005.
Read more about the Rolling Stones in Crawdaddy!:
"Rolling Stone Oldham: Talented, Insulting, Outrageous"
Live interview "Jagger-meister"
"Chuck Leavell: Wrapped Up in Trees"
Read "Andy Topeka: The Rolling Stones Technician"