Guide to British Music of the 1960s


The Rolling Stones

Biography | Discography | Web Links | Books  


Mick Jagger - vocals/harmonica, Keith Richards - guitar, Brian Jones - guitar/sitar/harmonica/keyboards, Charlie Watts - Drums, Bill Wyman- Bass

The South's answers to The Beatles? Probably not but the true survivors of the 1960s. the different members of the band had been playing in a series of r 'n' b groups, mostly in West London, such as Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated. They came together to deputise for another band (check) at Oxford Street's Marquee Club. This was followed by a weekly residency at the now legendary Crawdaddy Club in Richmond. Over just a few weeks they increased their fan base so there were over 400 turning up including future Small Face Ian McLagan. Even The Beatles turned up to watch The Rolling Stones in Richmond and the word was soon around town. Bookings followed including some in Liverpool and a UK tour supporting the Everly Brothers. In April 1963, Andrew Loog Oldham and Eric Easton visited The Crawdaddy and signed the band to a management deal. The band was playing virtually  on-stop. Alongside the Crawdaddy, they were regulars at the Ricky Tick Club (above the Star & Garter) in Windsor and Studio 51 in Soho.

The group was signed to Decca Records in 1963 by Dick Rowe, the man who "famously" turned down The Beatles. The Rolling Stones' first single was true to their R 'n' B roots with a cover of Chuck Berry's Come On, released on 29 May 1963 and reaching 21 in the UK charts. Indeed all of their first four singles were cover versions of songs written by Lennon & McCartney, Bobby Womack and Buddy Holly. The band's first EP consisting of covers was released in January 1964 as a test for the launch of an album.

The group's first top five hit came with a cover of Buddy Holly's Not Fade Away.

The Rolling Stones, the band's first LP was released in April 1964. This reached number 1 in the charts within two weeks and stayed on the charts for 40 weeks.

The band's first self-written single by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards was The Last Time. This took the band to number one in the UK charts. Incidentally, Jimmy Page claims that he played guitar on the sessions for the single.

As they were hitting the big time the band's live set was still made up largely of cover versions but more and more original material, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, was becoming part of the live show and appearing on singles on albums. A typical live show of 1965 is superbly captured on the 2012 released documentary Charlie is My Darling.

The success of 1965 continued into the following year. February 1966 saw the release of Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown which had As Tears Go By n the b-side. The latter was a major hit for Marianne Faithful while the Rolling Stones' single reached number 2 in the UK and US charts.

1967 started with a stunning 45 single, Let's Spend the Night Together with Ruby Tuesday. In true Rolling Stones style this courted controversy. For US TV the group were forced to change the lyric to "Let's spend some time together". Around the same time, the group refused to appear on the revolving stage with all the other acts after Sunday Night at the London Palladium.

To be completed

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