December 1963: The Rolling Stones, from left to right; Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman (front), Mick Jagger and Brian Jones (1942-1969). (Photo by Chris Ware/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

There has been a lot of talk of UFOs in the news lately. If we, as humans, ever need to teach visitors from other galaxies about who we are and what we like, we’ll have to let them hear the Rolling Stones. They were first called “The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World” back in 1969. Only six years into their career, the Stones had arguably earned the superlative even then. They truly are Earth’s quintessential rock group. Maybe even the whole universe.

The Rolling Stones have been the entertaining the world for over six decades and they’re still at it. The iconic band is set to release its 31st studio album on Friday, October 20th. Hackney Diamonds is their first collection of new material in 18 years. The Stones’ core of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Ronnie Wood all perform on the 12-track album. Two of the tracks include their late drummer Charlie Watts since they were recorded in 2019. The other 10 tracks feature drummer Steve Jordan, whom Watts selected as his replacement. The group’s original bassist, Bill Wyman, also plays on one of the new songs. If that weren’t enough, the album includes guest performances from Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder. This Throwback Threesome takes a brief look at how the Stones got rolling.

Mick and Keith

The story of the Rolling Stones really begins in 1950, when Mick Jagger and Keith Richards became classmates and childhood friends in Dartford, England. Four years later, Jagger’s family moved five miles away. However, Mick and Keith were reunited when they bumped into each other at the Dartford railway station in 1961. They quickly realized they had a common interest in American blues and early rock & roll music. They soon put together a band called the Blues Boys with bassist Dick Taylor.

The Blues Boys Get Rollin’

In the spring of 1962, Jagger, Richards, and Taylor met a band called Blues Incorporated, which included guitarist Brian Jones, drummer Charlie Watts, and keyboardist Ian Stewart. That summer, Jones, Jagger, Richards, Stewart, and Taylor played their first show as “The Rollin’ Stones” at the Marquee Club in London. In December of that year, bassist Bill Wyman was hired to replace Dick Taylor, who went back to art college. The classic line-up of the Rolling Stones, with Charlie Watts on drums, played for the first time in public on January 12, 1963. They put out their first single, a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Come On,” in June of ’63.

The Rolling Stones Forever

In the 60 years since their first release, the Rolling Stones have been with us all along. Through every decade, every high and low. Even as members of the group came and went, the Stones endured. Brian Jones died in 1969. Mick Taylor was there from 1970 to 1974. Ronnie Wood joined in ’75. Bill Wyman left in ’93. Charlie Watts passed on in 2021 at the age of 80. Mick, Keith, and Ronnie continue to carry the torch and still sound good doing it. The aliens will love them!

Throwback Threesome: The Rolling Stones

  • (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (1965)

    After two years of building fanbases in the UK and overseas, the Rolling Stones tore the flood gates off their hinges with this song and it made them into global superstars. Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” was initially played only on pirate radio stations, because its lyrics were considered too sexually suggestive. That’s probably why it became the Rolling Stones’ fourth number one single in the UK and their first chart topper in the USA. The clip below gives you a sense of the hysteria that followed the Stones wherever they went.

  • Miss You (1978)

    Many rock acts dabbled with disco in the late 1970s. Why wouldn’t they? Disco was king. The Rolling Stones were no exception. “Miss You” was released as the first single from the Stones’ 1978 album Some Girls. Mick Jagger conjured up the song with keyboardist and former Beatles collaborator Billy Preston. It peaked at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number three on the UK Singles Chart. A “Special Disco Version” was released as the band’s first 12-inch dance remix and it became a hit in the clubs, too.

  • Start Me Up (1981)

    Go to a sporting event and you’re likely to here this one. “Start Me Up” was released as the lead single from their 1981 album, Tattoo You. The song was originally written in 1977 as a reggae-rock track called “Never Stop” for the Some Girls album. Dissatisfied with the early recordings, the band decided to save the song for another time. It’s a good thing they took another stab at it. That opening guitar riff made it one of the Rolling Stones’ most recognizable and marketable songs. According to Songfacts, Microsoft paid $3 million to use “Start Me Up” for the ad campaign to launch Windows 95. It later became the first Stones song to be heard in a car commercial when Ford used it in 2003. Mick’s notorious dance moves are on full display in the clip below.

Sign me up for the K104.7 email newsletter!

Your favorite station is giving you exclusive access to some great content. Become a K 104.7 VIP Member and get exclusive access to music news, contests, quizzes, and MORE!

By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.