The Rolling Stones are a British rock and roll band who rose to prominence during the mid-1960s.
The band was named after a song by Muddy Waters, a leading exponent of hard-rocking blues. In their music, The Rolling Stones were the embodiment of the idea of importing blues style into popular music.
Their first recordings were covers or imitations of rhythm and blues music, but they soon greatly extended the reach of their lyrics and playing, but rarely, if ever, lost their basic blues feel.
The band came into being in 1961 when former school friends Jagger and Richards met Brian Jones. They named themselves after a song by Muddy Waters, a popular choice of name —at least two other bands are believed to have called themselves The Rolling Stones before the Jagger/Richards/Jones band was formed. The original lineup included Mick Jagger (vocals), Brian Jones (guitar), Keith Richards (guitar), Ian Stewart (piano), Charlie Watts (drums) and Dick Taylor (bass). Taylor left shortly after to form The Pretty Things, and was replaced by Bill Wyman.
By the time of their first album release Ian Stewart was "officially" not part of the band, though he continued to record and perform with them. United by their shared interest in rhythm and blues music the group rehearsed extensively, playing in public only occasionally at Crawdaddy Club in London, where Alexis Korner's blues band was resident. At first, Jones, a guitarist who also toyed with numerous other instruments, was their creative leader.
The band rapidly gained a reputation in London for their frantic, highly energetic covers of the rhythm and blues songs of their idols and, through manager Andrew Loog Oldham, were signed to Decca Records (who had passed when offered The Beatles). At this time their music was fairly primitive: Richards had learned much of his guitar playing from the recordings of Chuck Berry, and had not yet developed a style of his own, and Jagger was not as in control of the idioms as he would soon become. Already though, the rhythmic interplay between Watts and Richards was clearly the heart of their music.
The choice of material on their first record, a self-titled EP, reflected their live shows. Similarly, the album The Rolling Stones (England's Newest Hitmakers) which appeared in April 1964 featured versions of such classics as "Route 66" (originally recorded by Nat King Cole), "Mona" (Bo Diddley) and "Carol" (Chuck Berry).
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