A loose-fit, unisex tee
Keith Richards and Mick Jagger became childhood friends and classmates in 1950 in Dartford, Kent. The Jagger family moved to Wilmington, Kent, five miles (8.0 km) away, in 1954. In the mid-1950s, Jagger formed a garage band with his friend Dick Taylor; the group mainly played material by Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Howlin' Wolf and Bo Diddley. Jagger met Richards again on 17 October 1961 on platform two of Dartford railway station. The Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters records Jagger was carrying revealed a shared interest. A musical partnership began shortly afterwards. Richards and Taylor often met Jagger at his house. The meetings moved to Taylor's house in late 1961 where Alan Etherington and Bob Beckwith joined the trio; the quintet called themselves the Blues Boys.
In March 1962, the Blues Boys read about the Ealing Jazz Club in Jazz News newspaper, which mentioned Alexis Korner's rhythm and blues band, Blues Incorporated. The group sent a tape of their best recordings to Korner, who was favourably impressed. On 7 April, they visited the Ealing Jazz Club where they met the members of Blues Incorporated, who included slide guitarist Brian Jones, keyboardist Ian Stewart and drummer Charlie Watts. After a meeting with Korner, Jagger and Richards started jamming with the group.
Jones, no longer in a band, advertised for bandmates in Jazz Weekly, while Stewart found them a practice space; together they decided to form a band playing Chicago blues. Soon after, Jagger, Taylor and Richards left Blues Incorporated to join Jones and Stewart. The first rehearsal included guitarist Geoff Bradford and vocalist Brian Knight, both of whom decided not to join the band. They objected to playing the Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley songs preferred by Jagger and Richards. In June 1962 the addition of the drummer Tony Chapman completed the line-up of Jagger, Richards, Jones, Stewart and Taylor. According to Richards, Jones named the band during a phone call to Jazz News. When asked by a journalist for the band's name, Jones saw a Muddy Waters LP lying on the floor; one of the tracks was "Rollin' Stone".
The back room of what was the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond, London where the Rolling Stones had their first residency in 1963
Jones, Jagger, Richards, Stewart, and Taylor played a gig billed as "the Rollin' Stones" on 12 July 1962, at the Marquee Club in London. Shortly afterwards, the band went on their first tour of the UK, which they called a "training ground" tour, because it was a new experience for all of them. Their material included the Chicago blues as well as Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley songs. The band's original rhythm section did not include bassist Bill Wyman, who joined in December 1962, or drummer Charlie Watts, who joined in January 1963. By 1963 they were finding their musical stride as well as popularity. In 1964 two unscientific opinion polls rated the band as Britain's most popular group, outranking even the Beatles. The band's name was changed shortly after their first gig to "The Rolling Stones". The group's then acting manager, Giorgio Gomelsky, secured a Sunday afternoon residency at the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond, London, in February 1963. He claimed this triggered an "international renaissance for the blues".
In May 1963, The Rolling Stones signed Andrew Loog Oldham as their manager. His previous clients, the Beatles directed the former publicist to the band. Because Oldham was only nineteen and had not reached the age of majority—he was also younger than anyone in the band—he could not obtain an agent's licence or sign any contracts without his mother co-signing. By necessity he joined with booking agent Eric Easton to secure record financing and assistance booking venues. Gomelsky, who had no written agreement with the band, was not consulted. Initially, Oldham tried applying the strategy used by Brian Epstein, the Beatles' manager and have the band members wear suits. He later changed his mind and imagined a band which contrasted with the Beatles, featuring unmatched clothing, long hair, and an unclean appearance. He wanted to make the Stones "a raunchy, gamy, unpredictable bunch of undesirables" and to "establish that the Stones were threatening, uncouth and animalistic". Stewart left the official line-up, but remained road manager and touring keyboardist. Of Stewart's decision, Oldham later said, "Well, he just doesn't look the part, and six is too many for [fans] to remember the faces in the picture." Later, Oldham reduced the band members' ages in publicity material to make them appear as teenagers.
Decca Records, which had declined to sign a deal with the Beatles, gave the Rolling Stones a recording contract with favourable terms.The band got three times a new act's typical royalty rate, full artistic control of recordings and ownership of the recording master tapes. The deal also let the band use non-Decca recording studios. Regent Sound Studios, a mono facility equipped with egg boxes on the ceiling for sound treatment, became their preferred location. Oldham, who had no recording experience but made himself the band's producer, said Regent had a sound that "leaked, instrument-to-instrument, the right way" creating a "wall of noise" that worked well for the band. Because of Regent's low booking rates, the band could record for extended periods rather than the usual three-hour blocks common at other studios. All tracks on the first Rolling Stones album, The Rolling Stones, were recorded there.
Oldham contrasted the Rolling Stones' independence with the Beatles' obligation to record in EMI's studios, saying it made them appear as "mere mortals ... sweating in the studio for the man". He promoted the Rolling Stones as the nasty counterpoint to the Beatles by having the band pose unsmiling on the cover of their first album. He also encouraged the press to use provocative headlines such as: "Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone?" By contrast, Wyman says, "Our reputation and image as the Bad Boys came later, completely there, accidentally. ... [Oldham] never did engineer it. He simply exploited it exhaustively."In a 1972 interview, Wyman stated, "We were the first pop group to break away from the whole Cliff Richard thing where the bands did little dance steps, wore identical uniforms and had snappy patter."
A cover version of Chuck Berry's "Come On" was the Rolling Stones' first single, released on 7 June 1963. The band refused to play it at live gigs, and Decca bought only one ad to promote the record. With Oldham's direction, fan-club members bought copies at record shops polled by the charts, helping "Come On" rise to No. 21 on the UK Singles Chart. Having a charting single gave the band entree to play outside London, starting with a booking at the Outlook Club in Middlesbrough on 13 July, sharing the billing with The Hollies. Later in 1963 Oldham and Easton arranged the band's first big UK concert tour as a supporting act for American stars including Bo Diddley, Little Richard and the Everly Brothers. The tour gave the band the opportunity to hone their stagecraft. During the tour the band recorded their second single, a Lennon–McCartney-penned number entitled "I Wanna Be Your Man". The song was written and given to the Stones when John Lennon and Paul McCartney visited them in the studio as the two Beatles liked giving the copyrights to songs away to their friends. It reached No. 12 on the UK charts. The Beatles 1963 album, With the Beatles, includes their version of the song. The third single by the Stones, Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away", reflecting Bo Diddley's style, was released in February 1964 and reached No. 3.
Oldham saw little future for an act that lost significant songwriting royalties by playing songs of what he described as "middle-aged blacks", limiting the appeal to teenage audiences. Jagger and Richards decided to write songs together. Oldham described the first batch as "soppy and imitative". Because the band's songwriting developed slowly, songs on their first album The Rolling Stones (1964; issued in the US as England's Newest Hit Makers), were primarily covers, with only one Jagger/Richards original—"Tell Me (You're Coming Back)"—and two numbers credited to Nanker Phelge, the pen name used for songs written by the entire group. The Rolling Stones' first US tour in June 1964 was "a disaster" according to Wyman. When we arrived, we didn't have a hit record [there] or anything going for us."When the band appeared on the variety show The Hollywood Palace, that week's guest host, Dean Martin, mocked both their hair and their performance. During the tour they recorded for two days at Chess Studios in Chicago, meeting many of their most important influences, including Muddy Waters. These sessions included what would become the Rolling Stones' first No. 1 hit in the UK, their cover version of Bobby and Shirley Womack's "It's All Over Now".
The Stones followed the Famous Flames, featuring James Brown, in the theatrical release of the 1964 film T.A.M.I. Show, which showcased American acts with British Invasion artists. According to Jagger, "We weren't actually following James Brown because there was considerable time between the filming of each section. Nevertheless, he was still very annoyed about it ..." On 25 October the band appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. Because of the pandemonium surrounding the Stones, Sullivan banned them from his show. However, he booked them for an appearance in the following year. Their second LP, 12 X 5, which was only available in the US, was released during the tour. During the early Stones' releases, Richards was typically credited as "Richard".The Rolling Stones' fifth UK single, a cover of Willie Dixon's "Little Red Rooster"—with "Off the Hook", credited to Nanker Phelge, as the B-side—was released in November 1964 and became their second No. 1 hit in the UK. The band's US distributors, London Records, declined to release "Little Red Rooster" as a single. In December 1964, the distributor released the band's first single with Jagger/Richards originals on both sides: "Heart of Stone", with "What a Shame" as the B-side; the single went to No. 19 in the US.
Get your Rolling Stones tee today!