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The Rolling Stones, formed in London, England circa 1962, are one of the world's most popular rock music groups, selling over 200 million albums worldwide. They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 and have performed in approximately 40 countries.
The group was formed by Brian Jones, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards met as schoolmates in Dartford, Kent. They took their name from a Muddy Waters song called "Rollin' Stone Blues", and made their live debut in July 1962 at London's Marquee Club (minus Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts). They start playing pubs and clubs around the city and suburbs. Bill Wyman joined later that year (the popular story is that he was asked because he had his own amplifier), replacing Dick Taylor, who started the Pretty Things.
In January 1963, Charlie Watts joined the Stones. The band gigged constantly, with residencies at venues like Ealing Jazz Club, Ken Colyer's Studio 51, and Eel Pie Island in Twickenham. Their weekly peformances at the Crawdaddy at Richmond's Station Hotel resulted in ecstatic press reviews, and in April press agent Andrew Loog Oldham saw them there and signed them to his management company the next day. He started the "Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone" press campaign, which set the tone for their career, which has included drug arrests, and many notorious incidents.
In May 1963, the Stones were signed to Decca Records, supposedly by the same man who had turned down the Beatles. A month later "Come On", the first Rolling Stones single, was released, and reached number two in the U.K. charts.
The fifth and some say founding member of the group, Brian Jones, left officially on 8th June 1969, issuing a statement saying that he wanted to form a new group, possibly with Steve Marriott. On 3rd July 1969, around midnight Jones was found at the bottom of his swimming pool at his home in Sussex, England. The coroner reported "Death by misadventure", noting his liver and heart were heavily enlarged by drug and alcohol abuse. Some said it was suicide, others attributed foul play, even blaming Jagger and Richards for Jones state of mental depression.
He was replaced by Mick Taylor, formerly in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Another former bandmember to mention would have to be Ian Stewart (b. July 18, 1938 - d. December 12, 1985), who officially was in Brian Jones new group prior to even Mick or Keith, but according to legend was squeezed out of the band at Andrew Loog Oldham's suggestion in the early 1960's. Stu was considered by many as the 6th member, and still regularly played piano onstage with the group for many years, steadily at every gig on every tour until 1971, and on & off through 1982 when he was also employed as "road manager".
In 1971 the Stones, whose contract with Decca had expired, launched their Rolling Stones Records label originally distributed through Atlantic, an arrangement which lasted a decade.
The Stones became one of the world's most popular touring groups, routinely playing huge sports arenas and stadiums, pioneering mobile recording, corporate sponsorships, and setting records for ticket prices.
Bill Wyman left the fold, and was replaced shortly before the group began the Voodoo Lounge stadium tour in 1993. Current bassist Darryl Jones, born in 1961 only a year before the group started, is not an "official" band member, but has played bass in the band for more than 15 years.
All the "official" members have also undertaken solo projects of various kinds. There are many more sources of material, including numerous books on the Stones rather than this short wiki.
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