Personalities | The Rolling Stones (1963) | Key Events
After declining offers to join the Stones for almost a year, Charlie Watts took Bobbie Korner’s (Alexis’ wife) advice and quit the band Blues By Six to play with the Stones at the Flamingo in Piccadilly on 14 January. Up until then, their drummers had alternated through players such as Mick Avory, Ginger Baker and Tony Chapman; but with the jazz-influenced Charlie taking over full-time, the Stones finally had a rigid backbone to support their R&B sound.
After seeing the Stones play the Crawdaddy in April, 19-year-old Andrew Oldham convinced them to let him be their manager, revolutionizing their look with an aggressive image that opposed The Beatles’ clean-cut family look. Understanding that controversy sells, Oldham wrote the famous Melody Maker headline, ‘Would You Let Your Sister Go With A Rolling Stone?’, which gave the Stones the bad-boy image they would cultivate for the rest of their lives. Oldham also made them add the ‘g’ to make them The Rolling Stones, and wherever they went, he drummed up a controversy that made them sound dangerous and exciting.
Sign With Decca
Embarrassed by having passed up The Beatles, Decca Records were desperate to have a hot new band that could compete with them, and within a week of signing the Stones, Andrew Oldham got The Rolling Stones a recording contract with the label. By 10 May they were finally in the studio recording their first single.
First Single Released
‘Come On’ – a Chuck Berry number that they had to re-record after Decca were unhappy with the initial May recording – was released as their first single, backed with Muddy Waters’ ‘I Want To Be Loved’. Though it reached a respectable No. 21 in the charts, no one was happy with it because it didn’t capture the power of their live shows. Mick later decided ‘it was s***’, and to Decca’s annoyance the group refused to play it live. Perhaps most importantly for this single, Oldham had insisted that pianist Ian Stewart didn’t suit the band’s image and so he would not be billed as a full-time member, though he would continue to play piano and act as the group’s roadie.
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