Personalities | The Rolling Stones | Sixties | Rock
In its classic line-up, featuring singer-songwriter Mick Jagger (born 26 July 1943), guitarist/songwriter Keith Richards (born 18 December 1943), guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones (1942–69), bass player Bill Wyman (born William Perks, 24 October 1936) and drummer Charlie Watts (born 2 July 1941), what came to be acclaimed and self-proclaimed as ‘The World’s Greatest Rock’n’Roll Band’ first achieved success and notoriety as a loutish, parentally disapproved blues rock counterpoint to the equally contrived happy-go-lucky image of The Beatles.
Blues And Jazz Beginnings
Having first met as South London schoolboys, Jagger and Richards were reintroduced to one another at the start of the 1960s by mutual friend Dick Taylor, with whom London School of Economics student Jagger played in a blues outfit named Little Boy Blue and The Blue Boys. Richards subsequently joined the band, and he and Jagger also made guest appearances for Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated, befriending its drummer Charlie Watts as well as erstwhile member Brian Jones.
A high school dropout with a penchant for fathering illegitimate children and a passion for jazz and the blues, Jones was trying to form a band of his own when he met Jagger and Richards. He had already recruited keyboard player Ian Stewart, and within a short time Mick and Keith joined the fold, along with Dick Taylor on bass and future Kinks drummer Mick Avory. Having previously recorded a demo tape that was rejected by EMI, the band made its debut at London’s Marquee Club on 12 July 1962, as The Rollin’ Stones, a name that Brian adapted from the Muddy Waters song ‘Rollin’ Stone Blues’. Nevertheless, Taylor was a guitarist rather than a bass player, and within a few weeks he quit – later forming The Pretty Things – and was replaced by Bill Wyman who, although several years older than his new colleagues, reportedly got the gig because he had his own amplifier. When Mick Avory also left the band, his place was taken by Tony Chapman (who had actually drummed on the aforementioned EMI-rejected demo), but this association did not work out and in January 1963 the Stones recruited jazz aficionado Charlie Watts.
Bad Boy Image
Dates at venues such as Ken Colyer’s Studio 51, the Ealing Jazz Club and Eel Pie Island coincided with an eight-month residency at Giorgio Gomelsky’s Crawdaddy Club, located inside the Station Hotel in Richmond, South London. It was here that, in April 1963, The Stones were checked out by a sharp young wheeler-dealer named Andrew Loog Oldham and signed to a management contract. Previously a publicist for Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein, Oldham knew little about music but everything about promotion, and after The Stones secured a record contract with Decca on the strength of a recommendation by George Harrison to A&R executive Dick Rowe (who had once made the fateful decision of turning down The Fab Four), Oldham immediately forced conservative-looking Ian Stewart out of the official line-up – staying on as a roadie and contributor on keyboards...
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