There might be someone, somewhere who hasn’t heard of the Rolling Stones, but we imagine they live on the outskirts of the Arran Islands, pointing and screeching at airplanes, and subsisting on puffin meat and moss. Literally everyone else on Earth has heard of the Stones, and earlier this month we saw them celebrate the 50th Anniversary of their first ever gig. Wooo!
In 50 years we all know an awful lot can happen, but that seems somewhat of an understatement for The Rolling Stones….
Formed in 1962 the band have had countless UK and international number 1 hits including The Last Time and (I Cant Get No) Satisfaction to name just a couple, all the while delivering more scandal, drug abuse and bad sex than Silvio Berlisconi hosting a Pete Doherty come back gig.
Starting their career signed to Decca records in the 60’s with a contract that paid them 3 times the average royalty rate of new bands at the time, the Stones were also allowed full control over their recordings and the use of totally independent studios such as Regent Studios where their first album was recorded. This was quite the contrast to other top artists at the time, and a situation the group exploited to the hilt.
In their 50 years they have became known for their individual sound characterised by a fusion of Rhythm and Blues, Folk, Rock and Roll, Country and Pop Rock. This combined with unusual and non-traditional instruments like Sitars and Dulcimers is what makes the Stones sound so special.
The track Goin Home (a 12 minute jam with the band) has been noted as the first extended session to ever be released on a top-selling Rock and Roll album, and the band were the first major artists to broadcast a concert on the web in 1994. Not to mention their milestone documentary Stones In Exile, which was premiered at Cannes Film festival.
But with the many milestones achieved, have come the many disasters that have deviled the band. Keith Richards’ drug habit is legendary; Mick’s was probably just as bad. After various busts, hospitalizations and arguments, a rift developed between the two main songwriters in the 80s - Jagger had become primarily focused on his solo career, with the band being left on the back burner much to Richards’ annoyance. With the focus being on his solo endeavors Jagger collaborated with David Bowie to release Dancing In The Street - a number 1 for the Live Aid campaign in 1985, accompanied by a legendarily crap music video of Jagger and Bowie- ummm- dancing in the street. Badly. However, by the 90s all was good again between Mick n Keef, and the Stones have been touring ever since…
50 years on The Rolling Stones are still cited as one of the greatest bands of all time, actually being ranked number 4 in Rolling Stone magazines 100 Greatest Artists Of All Time. In 2002 The Stones released the compilation Forty Licks, a double album of greatest hits that sold over 7 million copies- a lot for most acts , but only a small portion of the whacking great 200 MILLION ALBUMS they’ve sold worldwide….
In celebration of their 50th anniversary The Stones have had the classic design of their instantly recognizable logo reworked, along with the release of the book The Rolling Stones 50 that contains rare and unseen material.
There is also a 50th anniversary exhibition to be held at London’s Somerset House from 13th July – 27th August.