Let’s play a word association game: I say “music legends”, and you tell me the first ten bands or people that come to mind. Well, if the Rolling Stones are not among those you list, you either have a serious problem or are the type of person that listens to nothing by techno and Taylor Swift. Not only are the Stones one of the longest-running music acts in history – now at over fifty years – but they have achieved a level of commercial success that puts them among the top dozen best selling groups of all time.
Formed in 1962 by childhood friends Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, the line-up of the Stones has changed over there years. The original six-person line-up signed with Deca Records in 1963 and rocketed to international success with their first mega-hit “I Can’t Get No (Satisfaction)” in 1965. They enjoyed an intimate creative relationship with John Lennon and Paul McCartney, the two Beatles who are credited with writing the majority of the Fab Four’s songs. Ironically, the Beatles were the ones who had been turned down by Deca Records only a couple of years before.
While the Stones continued to spearhead the “British Invasion”, their songs became part of the soundtrack to the 60’s and 70’s; their songs about casual love and loose lifestyles characterized pop culture of the time, while their 1969 hit “Gimme Shelter” served as a jarring reminder of violence and war in the midst of American involvement in Vietnam. This period was also marked by extreme recreational drug use that frequently got them in trouble with local authorities. Still, they continued to march through the 80’s and 90’s with continued commercial success as well as frequent turnover of band members.
Today, the lineup consists of originals Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and longtime guitarist Ronnie Wood. They have sold nearly 200 million albums – not to mention $1.5 billion in concert revenues since just 1989. And having just concluded their 50th Anniversary Tour, there are rumors that they may kick off another world tour within the next year or so. I’ll be one of the first in line for tickets if they do (if I can afford it!)
Are you a major Stones fan? If so, check out this Sporcle and see what you score; I got to 23 before time ran out. Cheers!