The Rolling Stones are an English rock band founded in London in 1962 by lead singer Mick Jagger, guitarists Keith Richards and Brian Jones, and pianist Ian Stewart. Drummer Charlie Watts joined in 1963. The Stones grew in popularity in the UK and led the way of the British Invasion of the US music scene in the 1960s alongside The Beatles, The Who and many other pre-eminent bands of the era, where they found great success.
Inspired initially by the Chicago school of electric blues (particularly the South-Side variation), they later took in influences from the country blues artists of the 1930s such as Skip James and Robert Johnson. Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians have often taken issue with the band's many songs about drugs (e.g., "Sister Morphine", "Mother's Little Helper") and perceived references to Satanism such as the song "Sympathy for the Devil" and the album Their Satanic Majesties Request, which members of the band have always denied.[Citation Needed] However, the jacket cover for the album The Rolling Stones, Now! did make clear that they preached anti-social nihilism, where it instructed fans to "Cast deep in your pocket for loot to buy this disc of groovies and fancy words. If you don't have bread, see that blind man–knock him on the head, steal his wallet and lo and behold you have the loot if you put in the boot, good. Another one sold!", with the various members also practicing what they preached via various notorious acts, including Jones spiking the drinks of various unsuspecting club-goers with LSD and beating various teenage mistresses to a bloody pulp, and even posed for photographs while wearing an SS uniform and putting his foot on a man dressed as an elderly Jew, as well as habitually trashing hotel rooms and urinating on the floor of a service station when annoyed by the owner. In addition, the Rolling Stones were also largely responsible for the disaster that the infamous Altamont Free Concert resulted in, which included picking the Altamont Speedway due to the lot being free as well as failing to provide inadequate portable toilet or emergency medical tents on-site, hired the Hell's Angels to act as security on-stage in exchange for giving them $500 in beer in order to get security cheaply, which resulted in the biker gang often doing "crowd control" via extremely violent means such as brass knuckles, beating them with lead-tipped pool cues, and stabbings, which was directed even towards performers such as Jefferson Airplane singer Marty Balin, as well as the Rolling Stones delaying their appearance after sundown because Mick Jagger thought his stage make-up would look better at night. Bill Graham, rock promoter and manager, called out Mick Jagger for his selfishness when seeing the Rolling Stones failed to provide adequate toilets and medical tents.
The Stones' popularity has never died. A resurgence by the group in the 1990s has continued, and they continue to sell out stadiums almost half a century after first coming on the scene, and in 2008 Martin Scorsese directed Shine a Light, a documentary of the band's 2006 tour of the same name.
- Rolling Stones sign Universal album deal
- Christopher Andersen, Jagger Unauthorized (New York: Delacorte Press, 1993), 106.
- Ibid., 108-23
- Christopher Andersen, Jagger Unauthorized, 8.