What better way to start off my history of rock bands than with the world’s greatest rock-’n-roll band, the Rolling Stones. So get ready for your fair share of abuse with the 19th nervous breakdown from a history of a band that always gets satisfaction.
This is a series of biographies from past and/or present rock bands that have seemed to fade away or keep releasing albums or if you prefer, CDs, and touring because that’s what they do best. This week’s feature artist is the world’s greatest rock-’ n-roll band, the Rolling Stones.
Even during the beginning of the Beatles and during Chuck Berry’s reign, there was an English rock band that formed in April 1962 by Brian Jones, Michael Phillip Jagger (Mick) and Ian Stewart. Brian grew up in a musical family and was the only Stone who could read music. Mick studied a couple years at the London School of Economics while Keith Richards attended a tech school where he learned crafts and the basic fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic. Charlie Watts, their drummer went to a Secondary Modern School and studied different subjects.
It was circa 1960 when Mick and Keith first met. Two years before the Rolling Stones were formed. The boys took a liking to music but their counterparts were the ones making a name for themselves during that era. Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and the Beatles were just being exposed. Elivs was in the Army, so after hearing and seeing Brian play the harp, Keith and Mick took interest in music as well, but Charlie was more interested in jazz. Brian was getting his own group together. I think back then they refered to bands as “combos”. Funny how things change as we reflect back on those days of yesteryear and giggle.
One blues night back in London was a band called Alexis’ Blues Incorporated and Mick as lead vocals was the house band. But down at a place called the Marquee, a group was needed and being at the right place at the right time, Mick, Keith and Brian filled the bill and the nucleus of the Stones was formed. Eventually a very good drummer by the name of Charlie Watts was hired. But during that same year, Mick was still attending the L.S.E. and (ouch) in a Gym class he bit off the tip of his tongue and today that is the sound of the Rolling Stones.
1967 was not a great year for the Stones as Brian was the casualty of numerous drug busts which lead to nervous breakdowns. I don’t know if it was the 19th nervous breakdown though. Maybe all the touring or just his way of life caught up with him but the blonde flamboyant dare-devil had an appetite for drugs and unexpected outbursts. On June 9th, 1969, 26 year old Brian Jones quits the Stones as once the leader of the band or until his drug issues knocked him out of the band. On July 3rd, of that year, Brian was found dead in a swimming pool. His last partake in a Stones Album was “Beggars Banquet. It was “Let It Bleed”. He was quickly replaced by unknown Mick Taylor. A 20 year old guitarist from the John Mayall group.
The Stones had their fair share of abuse still to come. In 1969 during a free rock festival at the Altamont Speedway and the filming of “Gimme Shelter”, a scuffle broke out involving the Hell’s Angels and some were stabbed to death, one is shot while others were beaten. Where was the sympathy and taste?
The Rolling Stones are a rock band that will never fade away and after countless albums including the zipper cover “Sticky Fingers” and my favorite “Hot Rocks” and tours still happening around the world for the band, they are still in tact although a little older today. I have actually experienced three Rolling Stones concerts over the past thirty years. One memorable moment at Jaggers 40th birthday concert, he inflated a giant penis as one of the Stones many stage props. With the help of a wire harness, Jagger slid up and down it and at the end of his ride, front stage ticket holders, got an interesting surprise as well as security guarding the stage. A stunt only the Stones could accomplish and a feat that only Jagger could yank off. No pun intended. And contrary to popular belief, Keith Richards is not in his hundreds. Not yet. He does, however, have a heart of stone.
by Hustlin Bob Higgins