The following items are taken from the pages of Rock’n’Roll Unravelled and build up to tell the story of the Rolling Stones. There are only a few items here, to give a flavour of The Rolling Stones story; the book has a far more comprehensive coverage.
(An * with a date indicates an associated story elsewhere in the book.)
How the Rolling Stones came together: 7 April 1962 to 11 January 1963
- Road to the Rolling Stones
- 7 April 1962 Mick and Keith met Brian and Charlie
- 12 July 1962: First-ever gig … as “The Rollin’ Stones
- 7 December 1962: Bill Wyman’s audition
- 11 January 1963: Tony Chapman’s last gig – Stones that kept right on rolling
- 2 February 1963: Debut of all five of the classic lineup
The Brian Jones Years: 11 March 1963 to 3 July 1969
- 11 March 1963: Demo recordings made at IBC Studios
- 28 April 1963: Met Andrew Loog Oldham – the image was formed
- 7 June 1963: Released 1st UK single: Come On c/w I Want to Be Loved
- 23 November 1963: Jagger and Richard’s first hit song – for Gene Pitney
- 26 February 1965: Released The Last Time c/w Play with Fire
- 15 April 1966: Released Aftermath
- 22 January 1967: Snubbed the Palladium’s revolving stage
- 31 July 1967: Victory for Mick and Keith in the Appeals Court
- 30 October 1967: Brian Jones pleaded guilty to drug charges
- 11 December 1968: Rock and Roll Circus
- 8 June 1969: Brian Jones was sacked from the Rolling Stones
- 3 July 1969: Founder of the Rolling Stones, Brian Jones died at the age of 27
ROAD TO THE ROLLING STONES
Brian Jones started out playing saxophone with jazz bands in his native Cheltenham.
He played alongside Paul Jones but was never a part of Thunder Odin and the Big Secret.
Brian Jones: guitar
Paul Pond (Paul Jones): singer – founding member of Manfred Mann
Brian Jones formed the lineup that would eventually become The Rolling Stones.
That pre-Jagger and Richard lineup included:
Brian Jones: guitar
Ian Stewart: piano – 1st Rolling Stone to team up with Brian
Brian Knight: vocals and harmonica – left to form Blues by Six
Geoff Bradford: guitar – left to join Blues by Six
Mick Jagger and Keith Richard had their own group, Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys.
Mick Jagger: singer – joined Brian Jones’s 2nd lineup
Keith Richard: guitar – joined Brian Jones’s 2nd lineup
Dick Taylor: guitar – moved to bass in Brian Jones’s 2nd lineup
7 April 1962 Mick and Keith met Brian and Charlie
Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated performed at London’s Ealing Club, with a lineup that included drummer Charlie Watts and guitarist Elmo Lewis, Brian Jones’s stage name at that time. Mick Jagger and Keith Richard were at the club that night and were treated to Jones’s guitar work on Elmore James’s Dust My Blues, written by James and a follow-on to his earlier Dust My Broom.
Blues Incorporated’s vocalist was a young Paul Pond, later to change his name to Paul Jones and find international fame as the lead singer with Manfred Mann. Not only did Jagger and Richard meet Brian Jones but they both went on to perform with Blues Incorporated. It was as substitutes for that legendary band that they performed for the first time as the Rollin’ Stones, on 12 July* 1962.
12 Jul 1962: First-ever gig … as “The Rollin’ Stones
The Rollin’ Stones made their debut when they substituted for Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated at their Thursday night residency spot at London’s Marquee club.
In mid-1962 Brian Jones formed his own band and in June the Rolling Stones started to take shape when he was joined by Mick Jagger and Keith Richard. All three had been playing at various times with the hugely influential Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated. Jones’s group’s big opportunity came about because Korner had been offered the chance to perform live on BBC Radio’s prestigious Jazz Club the same night. The lineup for that historic performance was Mick Jagger, Keith Richard and Brian Jones, with pianist Ian Stewart and bassist Dick Taylor. An urban myth puts future Kinks sticksman Mick Avory on the drumming school (supported by the Stones’ own website) but other sources suggest that it was far more likely to have been Tony Chapman. In an interview with the website Kast Off Kinks, Avory confirmed that “I didn’t actually play a gig with the Stones. I just rehearsed to do a gig with them, but it never happened.”
Jagger and Richard had already played together in their own group Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys, along with their friend Dick Taylor. Taylor left shortly after this Marquee gig, moved back to playing the guitar and went on to form the Pretty Things.
Brian Jones’s first lineup included pianist Ian Stewart, the first “Rolling Stone” to join Jones. Sadly for Stewart, when Andrew Loog Oldham took over their management, after meeting them on 28 April* 1963, he was relegated to road manager and only allowed to perform at recording sessions. Oldham felt that Stewart’s image did not fit in with his plans for the band. Jones’s original lineup also incorporated another seminal UK blues luminary Brian Knight, before the guitarist left to form Blues by Six. Blues Incorporated’s original drummer Charlie Watts left Korner to join Knight in Blues by Six, before moving on to complete the Rolling Stones’ classic lineup on 2 February* 1963.
The band took their name from the Muddy Waters song Rollin’ Stone, the second single to be released on the Chess record label.
7 December 1962: Bill Wyman’s audition
Previously with the Cliftons, Bill Wyman auditioned for the Rolling Stones at the Wetherby Arms pub in London’s trendy Chelsea. The Stones were particularly impressed with Wyman’s gear, a pair of Vox AC30 amplifiers and an echo unit, described by Wyman as, “my enormous wardrobe size cabinet with the 18 inch speaker”. A week later he played his first gig as the Stones’ new bassist at Windsor’s Ricky Tick Club.
Despite having played with the prestigious Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated and Blues by Six, drummer Charlie Watts still had a day job. He finally quit his position as a graphic designer with a London Advertising Agency to accept an offer to join the Rolling Stones. By early February the classic lineup was in place, albeit still a sextet with pianist Ian Stewart.
11 January 1963: Tony Chapman’s last gig – Stones that kept right on rolling
Drummer Tony Chapman played his final gig with the Rolling Stones at the Ricky Tick Club, in the Star and Garter pub in Windsor. He was replaced by Charlie Watts.
The Rolling Stones evolved from guitarist Brian Jones’s groups. Brian Jones regularly played with his friend Paul Pond but never actually joined Paul in his band, Thunder Odin and the Big Secret. Paul Pond later changed his name to Paul Jones and found fame as Manfred Mann’s original vocalist. Other people to play in Jones’s pre-Jagger and Richard lineups included Brian Knight and Geoff Bradford. Knight left to form Blues by Six, poaching future Stones drummer Charlie Watts from Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated. Guitarist Geoff Bradford moved on to join Brian Knight’s Blues by Six. The only future Rolling Stone with Jones from the beginning was pianist Ian Stewart. Although, he was relegated to road manager after Andrew Loog Oldham took over the Stones’ management, following their first meeting on 28 April* 1963.
Brian Jones and Ian Stewart rebuilt a new lineup with: singer Mick Jagger, guitarist Keith Richard and Dick Taylor, all from Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys; Taylor moved from guitar to bass. Drummer Tony Chapman had joined from the Cliftons (which would soon provide the Stones with bassist Bill Wyman). This was the lineup that debuted at the Marquee Club on 12 July* 1962 as “The Rollin’ Stones”. Dick Taylor left soon after the gig and formed the Pretty Things. A number of bass players, including Ricky Fenson, and drummers also filled in, including Screaming Lord Sutch’s drummer Carlo Little.
2 February 1963: Debut of all five of the classic lineup
In researching this book the date of the debut performance of Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richard, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts proved to be one of the most disputed dates I encountered amongst rock historians and sources. I have opted for 2 February because this is the final date suggested. It is also the date by which the sources would all be agreed that bass player Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts were permanent members of the Rolling Stones.
This gig on 2 February was at West London’s Ealing Jazz Club. At this stage the Rolling Stones was still a sextet. Piano player Ian Stewart had been with Brian Jones’s band since the beginning, preceding both Jagger and Richard.
11 March 1963: Demo recordings made at IBC Studios
In an attempt to attract interest from a record label, the Stones’ classic lineup made its first demo recordings at London’s IBC Studios.
As well as the five Stones, pianist Ian Stewart was still performing with the band. Produced by Glyn Johns, they recorded five songs: Bo Diddley’s Diddley Daddy and Road Runner, Jimmy Reed’s Baby What’s Wrong and Bright Lights Big City, and Willie Dixon’s I Want to Be Loved.
I Want to Be Loved was also chosen as the B-side of their first UK single, Come On.
28 April 1963: Met Andrew Loog Oldham – the image was formed
Andrew Loog Oldham and Eric Easton travelled to Richmond’s Crawdaddy Club in West London for their first glimpse of the club’s house band, The Rolling Stones.
When Oldham saw the Rolling Stones at the Crawdaddy the band was being managed by the club’s owner Giorgio Gomelsky. Shortly after this performance the Stones signed a management contract with Oldham. He made four crucial decisions that moulded their future. Having seen the Beatles’ success with their own material, he wanted Jagger and Richard to follow suit. In contrast, Oldham wanted a ‘bad-boy’ image for the Stones, rather than Epstein’s clean-cut look for the Beatles. He also changed the focus of the group from founder Brian Jones to singer Mick Jagger. Sadly for pianist Ian Stewart, Oldham decided that his image was wrong for concert appearances. He was relegated to road manager and his piano playing was mostly limited to recording sessions.
7 June 1963: Released 1st UK single: Come On c/w I Want to Be Loved
For their British debut single the Rolling Stones chose to cover Chuck Berry’s Come On for the A-side and to couple it with Willie Dixon’s I Want to Be Loved. Both sides were produced by their new manager, Andrew Loog Oldham.
Things had moved quickly for the Stones since they met Oldham on the 28 April*. He had secured them a recording contract with Decca and trimmed them down from a sextet to a quintet. Pianist Ian Stewart had been the first of the Stones to join Brian Jones’s group in early 1962 but Oldham decided that he had the wrong image for the Rolling Stones. Stewart was relegated from the stage to road manager, although he often played his piano with the band when they were in the studio. They debuted as “The Rollin’ Stones” on 12 July* 1962 but now the classic lineup of Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richard, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts was finally in place.
23 November 1963: Jagger and Richard’s first hit song – for Gene Pitney
The Rolling Stones and Gene Pitney both appeared on the British TV pop-music show Thank Your Lucky Stars. A backstage discussion gave Jagger and Richard their first taste of songwriting success.
A couple of days earlier the Stones had recorded a batch of songs. When Gene Pitney heard the Jagger and Richard penned My Only Girl he agreed to record it. He liked the lyrics but changed the melody. The song was renamed That Girl Belongs to Yesterday and it gave the fledgling songwriting team of Jagger and Richard their first hit record. It made top-10 in Britain and achieved a minor impact on the American charts.
The Stones never released their version of the song.
26 February 1965: Released The Last Time c/w Play with Fire
The Stones’ third consecutive British #1 was the first Jagger and Richard penned A-side released in the UK. The B-side featured Jack Nitzsche on harpsichord and Phil Spector on tuned-down guitar.
More than thirty years later Allen Klein, infamous as the business manager for the Stones and the Beatles, sued the Verve for misusing a sampling agreement on their song Bitter Sweet Symphony. Klein’s company ABKCO owned the rights to The Last Time and he agreed that the Verve could sample the version recorded by the Andrew Oldham Orchestra. After its release Klein sued for misuse of the agreement but settled after Bitter Sweet Symphony credited Jagger and Richard as the songwriters.
15 April 1966: Released Aftermath
The Rolling Stones released their fourth British album Aftermath, the first to contain all Jagger and Richard compositions.
Initially the album was to be called Could YOU Walk on Water but their record company, Decca, baulked at the idea of such a title. A few song changes later and the album was released as Aftermath.
22 January 1967: Snubbed the Palladium’s revolving stage
The Rolling Stones appeared on UK TV’s prestigious Sunday Night at the London Palladium. They famously refused to stand on the revolving stage for the show’s traditional finale, a goodbye wave from the assembled performers.
The reason for the Stones’ reluctance to join the others on the revolving stage was probably an attempt to regain some street credibility, after succumbing to censorship on The Ed Sullivan Show just a week earlier. The show’s producers had insisted on a lyric change to Let’s Spend the Night Together. They wanted the Stones to spend “some time”, rather than the more racy “night” together.
31 July 1967: Victory for Mick and Keith in the Appeals Court
Mick Jagger and Keith Richard’s drug conviction ordeals came to an end when the Appeals Court quashed Richard’s guilty verdict and reduced Jagger’s sentence to probation.
Richard’s Redland home had been raided in February, resulting in drugs charges for Jagger, Richard and their friend Richard Fraser. Fraser subsequently pleaded guilty to heroin possession. After opting for a trial by jury, Jagger and Richard were found guilty and received prison sentences. An immediate appeal meant that they were bailed but not released before experiencing the joys of being held at Her Majesty’s pleasure. They received support from an unexpected quarter, the Times newspaper published an editorial by William Rees-Mogg entitled, Who Breaks a Butterfly on a Wheel?
The Stones recounted their prison experiences with their next single, We Love You.
The Who provided moral support, by rush-releasing a cover version of The Last Time.
30 October 1967: Brian Jones pleaded guilty to drug charges
Brian Jones pleaded guilty to charges of drug possession, dating from a police raid on his home earlier in the year.
Jones’s nine-month prison sentence was commuted on appeal to three years on probation and a £1,000 fine. Despite this, it gave him a real problem in obtaining a visa to work in America and contributed to his departure from the Stones in 1969.
11 December 1968: Rock and Roll Circus
Rock and Roll Circus was a TV-special extravaganza filmed in front of an invited audience.
Resplendent in top hat, red jacket, boots and holding a whip, Mick Jagger acted as ringmaster and introduced some of rock’n’roll’s finest, including: Taj Mahal, The Who, Jethro Tull including future Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, The Dirty Mac and Marianne Faithful.
John Lennon introduced himself as Winston Legthigh, his Dirty Mac band comprised: guitarist Eric Clapton, Keith Richard on bass and Jimi Hendrix’s drummer Mitch Mitchell. They performed Yer Blues before being joined on stage by violinist Ivry Gitlis and Yoko Ono, who provided vocals on the blues jam Whole Lotta Yoko. Lennon was still with the Beatles at the time and this was his first performance outside the Fab Four.
Sadly, this proved to be Brian Jones’s final live performance with the Stones. Urban legend has it that Mick Jagger felt that the Stones had been eclipsed by the Who and the recording was not shown at the time. It was given a DVD release in 1996.
8 June 1969: Brian Jones was sacked from the Rolling Stones
When Brian Jones left the Rolling Stones he talked to Alexis Korner about joining him in his new venture, New Church, but Korner suggested that he should form his own group.
Jones had originally formed the Rollin’ Stones but his relationship with the others had deteriorated as their music moved progressively away from the blues that he loved. Sadly, less than a month later, on 3 July*, he was found dead in the swimming pool of his Cotchford Farm home in Sussex. This sixteenth century property had previously been owned by writer AA Milne and was used as the setting for his Winnie the Poo stories.
He was replaced in the group by ex-John Mayall guitarist Mick Taylor. The new lineup played their first gig at the free Hyde Park concert on 5 July*.
3 July 1969: Founder of the Rolling Stones, Brian Jones died at the age of 27
- Around midnight on 2/3 July, Brian Jones was found dead in the swimming pool of his Cotchford Farm home in rural Sussex, previously owned by the author AA Milne.
The events surrounding Jones’s death have always been shrouded in controversy. The British Daily Mail national newspaper ran an article on 30 August 2009 to say that police were reviewing Jones’s death because new evidence had come to light. The death certificate gave the cause of death as, “Drowning … Severe liver dysfunction due to fatty degeneration and the ingestion of alcohol and drugs: Swimming whilst under the influence of alcohol and drugs: MISADVENTURE.” [their underlines and upper case]
to be continued…