The Rolling Stones

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From left to right -- Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Ron Wood
I've decided to answer a few Frequently Asked Questions... Other than The Rolling Stones, what's my favorite group? Well, I guess I'm a real fan of The Free Credit Report Dot Com Band!
Mick Jagger, Saturday Night Live, May 20, 2012

The Rolling Stones are an English rock band. The band formed in 1962 in London when original leader Brian Jones and pianist Ian Stewart were joined by vocalist Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards, whose songwriting partnership later contributed to their taking the leadership role in the group. Bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts completed the early lineup. Ian Stewart was removed from the official lineup in 1963 but continued to work with the band as road manager and keyboardist until his death in 1985.

The band's early recordings were mainly covers of American blues and R&B songs. After first achieving success in the UK, they became popular in the US during The British Invasion of the early 1960s. Their 1965 single "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" established The Rolling Stones as a premier rock and roll act. Starting with their 1966 album Aftermath, the songs of Jagger and Richards, aided by the instrumental experimentation of Jones, expanded an always-present stylistic flexibility. Jones died in 1969 shortly after being fired from the band and was replaced by Mick Taylor. Taylor recorded five studio albums with the band before quitting in 1974. Former Faces guitarist Ronnie Wood stepped in and has been with the band ever since. Wyman left the Rolling Stones in 1993; bassist Darryl Jones, who is not an official band member, has worked with the group since 1994.

The Rolling Stones have released 22 studio albums in the UK (24 in the US), eight concert albums (nine in the US) and numerous compilations; and have sold more than 200 million albums worldwide. Sticky Fingers (1971) began a string of eight consecutive studio albums that charted at number one in the United States. In 1989 The Rolling Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2004 they were ranked number 4 in Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Their image of unkempt and surly youth (originally cultivated in large part to contrast them with The Beatles) is one that many musicians still emulate.

For the Heinlein novel, see The Rolling Stones.


The Rolling Stones is the Trope Namer for:

The Rolling Stones provides examples of the following tropes:
  • The Alcoholic: Ronnie Wood: You know you have a drinking problem when Mick Jagger and Keith Richards need to talk to you about it.
  • Bathroom Stall Graffiti: The Beggars Banquet cover. Decca Records found it so offensive at the time that they refused to use it, substituting a plain white cover with a fake dinner invitation instead. The bathroom cover would eventually be restored for the album's CD reissue.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Charlie Watts (the quiet, well-dressed, groupie-spurning one, and a notable aversion of the All Drummers Are Animals trope) was awoken one night by Mick Jagger (who was drunk) calling his room asking where "my drummer" was. Watts proceeded to get up, shave and dress in a pressed suit. He then walked down to Jagger's room and sent him flying with what Keith Richards called "a great fucking right hook". Jagger flew into a table and nearly slid out the window before Richards grabbed his leg. Watts yelled, "Don't ever call me 'your drummer' again, you're my fucking singer!" and left.
    • To add to that story, Richards only stopped Jagger from falling out of the window because Mick was wearing Keith's wedding jacket at the time.
  • Biopic: Stoned (2005) centers on the life, career, and death of Brian Jones (albeit with embellishments).
  • Black Gal on White Guy Drama: One of the interpretations of "Brown Sugar."
  • Casanova: Mick Jagger.
    • However, it's been noted that Bill Wyman probably bagged more chicks than Jagger and the rest of the band combined... this includes ex-guitarists.
  • Chorus-Only Song: "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" does have other words...
  • Chronological Album Title: The Rolling Stones No. 2, their second UK album.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: "Star Star"
    • Which was originally called "Starfucker", but had the title changed after Atlantic Records boss Ahmet Ertegun managed to get them to do so. He couldn't make them remove the profanity though.
  • Concept Album: Their Satanic Majesties Request
  • Control Freak: Jagger has the reputation of being one of these.
  • Cut and Paste Translation: As was typical for British groups of the era, all their '60s albums prior to Their Satanic Majesties Request were reconfigured for the American market.
  • Darker and Edgier: Beggars Banquet was the album that truly set the template for the band's sleazy, raunchy sound following the failed psychedelic experimentation of Between the Buttons and Flowers (and the grittier but still comparatively tame R&B-based pop of their early period).
    • The Stones themselves, of course, have long been seen as a Darker And Edgier alternative to The Beatles.
  • Demoted to Extra: Shortly after becoming the Stones' business manager in 1964, Andrew Loog Oldham had keyboardist Ian Stewart demoted to road manager, ostensibly on the grounds that six were too many for a pop group but more likely because Stewart's short-haired, lantern-jawed appearance didn't fit the image Oldham was trying to cultivate for them. However, he did continue to contribute to the Stones' recordings and performed in the background as their touring keyboardist (but not a full member of the band) until his death.
    • Less dramatically, this is more or less what happened to Brian Jones as the '60s progressed. Originally the Stones' leader, Jones was relegated to an increasingly secondary role in the group, due to the emergence of the Jagger-Richards partnership and his own personal problems. His last album, Let It Bleed, features him on just two tracks.
  • Did Not Do the Research: More than once, someone pointed out how The Rolling Stones have been a group for so long their members are eligible for Medicare (meaning they're all over 65.) Ignoring the fact that all of them are British and have never contributed to the United States Social Security System, they would not be eligible for medicare.
  • Disguised in Drag: the original group dressed up as airplane stewardesses on the single for "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?"
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: In a memoir of his time living with the group in the early '60s, onetime Stones crony Jimmy Phelge relates how Brian Jones had a strong aversion to his middle name (Hopkin) and tried to keep it a secret from the others.
  • Epic Rocking: "Goin' Home", "Midnight Rambler", "Can You Hear Me Knockin'", "You Can't Always Get What You Want", "Love is Strong"
  • Executive Meddling: Many examples:
    • The Oldham-Stewart issue
    • The alteration of the title of "Star Star"
    • The Stones' use of drugs forced them to break away from Oldham, and Brian Jones left when it became clear that he couldn't escape drug addiction.
  • Five-Man Band: Okay, let's take the original line-up.
    • The Hero: Mick Jagger, natch.
    • The Lancer: Keith Richards. Again, duh.
    • The Smart Guy: Charlie Watts, as he was usually in a suit and eventually grew to look more than a bit like Alfred the butler.
    • The Big Guy: Well, he wasn't that big, but I guess Bill Wyman makes the cut.
    • The Chick: Brian Jones was pretty cute.
    • The Sixth Ranger: Ian Stewart. Who was tossed out of the band by manager Andrew Loog Oldman, who didn't like that the Stones had six members or a keyboardist. He still toured and recorded with the band until his death.
      • Possibly Ron Wood too, since he was the last of the current lineup to join the band.
      • Or Mick Taylor, who replaced Jones and was subsequently replaced by Wood.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: "The Lantern"
  • Genre Popularizer: What The Beatles did for pop-rock, the Stones did for blues-based rock.
  • Grief Song: "Paint It Black"
  • Groupie Brigade
  • Happily Married: Charlie Watts is the only member of the band still married to his first wife, Shirley, who he married before the Stones became famous. His devotion to his wife is well known: When the band visited the Playboy Mansion in 1972, Watts played pool with Hugh Hefner instead of partaking with the Bunnies like the rest of the band.
  • Heavy Meta: "It's Only Rock N' Roll" (but I like it, I like it, yes I do!)
  • Hey, You: Get off of my cloud!
  • Ice Queen: "She's So Cold"
  • Iconic Logo: Possibly the most famous band logo of all time.
  • Intercourse with You: "Let's Spend the Night Together" being the most blatant.
  • International Pop Song English
  • I Was Quite a Looker: A sex symbol and a ladies' man in his younger years, Mick Jagger now looks more like a mummy. Doesn't stop him from getting his fare share of poontang.
  • Jerkass Facade: All the Stones played this trope back in the '60s, long before the punk revolution. (Here's a good example.)
  • Last Chorus Slow-Down: "Ruby Tuesday"
  • Le Film Artistique: Charlie Is My Darling, a documentary of the Stones' 1965 Irish tour which has been described by some as "A Hard Day's Night had it been directed by Jean-Luc Godard".
    • Gimme Shelter, a Documentary of their disastrous 1969 free concert at Altamont Speedway, has been viewed by some as a meditation on the death of the Sixties.
      • Cocksucker Blues (named after the song they recorded to get way the fuck away from Decca, see below) is even worse; it hasn't been released. If the director tries, they'll sue him. Considering what's in it, that's in their best interest.
  • Short-Lived, Big Impact: Brian Jones — founded The Rolling Stones, who were the main influences of bands like ACDC, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, etc, who pioneered the Heavy Metal genre. He also was dead by age 27.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Brian Jones supposedly came up with the band's name while trying to get a club booking on the telephone. When the venue's manager asked Jones what his newly-formed group called themselves, he looked at a Muddy Waters album that was sitting on the floor and noticed the first track, "Rollin' Stone Blues".
  • Live Album: Several. Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!, recorded on the 1969 U.S. tour and released in 1970, is generally considered the best of them.
  • Long Runner: Started as a London club band in 1962, still going strong.
    • Long Runner Lineup: Two of them:
      • Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Ronnie Wood: 1975-1992
      • Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood: Since 1992
  • Long Title: "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?"
  • Lyrical Dissonance: The Stones have a knack for combining beautiful, moving music with severely screwed-up lyrics full of sex (and definitely not of the Safe, Sane, and Consensual kind), drugs, violence, and general weirdness.
    • Case in point: "Brown Sugar", the only upbeat song on the Sticky Fingers album. It's about slave rape on American cotton plantations.
  • Man in White: Brian Jones, in this presentation.
  • The Movie: Shine a Light, by Martin Scorsese.
  • The Masochism Tango: Mick and Jerry Hall. Jesus.
  • Misogyny Song: They had quite a run of these in the '60s: "Play With Fire", "Under My Thumb", "Stupid Girl", "Lady Jane", "Out of Time", "Back Street Girl"...
    • And in the '70s: "Brown Sugar", "Star Star", "Some Girls"...
  • Murder Ballad: "Hand of Fate"
  • New Sound Album: Aftermath began to add elements of psychedelia to their early mod sound. Its follow up, Between the Buttons, took them into full blown psychedelic rock, continuing with this on Their Satanic Majesties Request. Beggars Banquet codified their most well-known sound of bluesy, loose, garage rock. Some Girls played with elements of punk rock and disco, and Emotional Rescue incorporated elements of synth-pop.
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Sympathy for the Devil," "Let It Bleed"
  • Old Shame: While still circulated, Their Satanic Majesties Request is often considered this.
  • One-Woman Song: "Angie", "Lady Jane", "Sweet Virginia", "Hey Negrita", "Indian Girl"
  • Pen Name: The pseudonym "Nanker Phelge" was used for several early group compositions.
  • The Pete Best: Ian Stewart, although he still toured and recorded with the band as a session musician and roadie after being forcibly removed from the official lineup.
  • Popcultural Osmosis
  • The Quiet One: Charlie Watts, and to a lesser extent Bill Wyman.
  • Rock Me, Asmodeus: "Sympathy for the Devil"
  • Rockstar Song: "It's Only Rock 'n Roll"
  • The Rockumentary
  • Self-Deprecation: A compilation of their late '70s material was titled Sucking in the Seventies.
  • Self-Titled Album: Their 1964 debut LP was one of these in the UK, although their American label rechristened it as England's Newest Hit Makers.
  • Serial Killer: "Midnight Rambler"
  • Shotgun Wedding: "Dear Doctor"
  • Shout-Out: The cover of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album has a doll wearing a sweater with "Welcome the Rolling Stones" on the front. The Stones returned the favor by hiding pictures of the Beatles' faces on the Their Satanic Majesties Request cover.
  • Signature Song: Many, but "Satisfaction" is the most well known.
  • The Sixties: Mod suits and screaming girls.
  • Something Blues: "Stray Cat Blues", "Ventilator Blues"
  • Song of Song Titles: Not a song, actually; "Don't Stop" has a Video of Song Titles.
  • Spoken Word in Music: Several of their songs have brief spoken-word bits from Jagger: "Something Happened to Me Yesterday", "Fingerprint File", "Miss You" "Slave", "Tops", etc.
  • Stage Names: "Bill Wyman" was born William George Perks.
    • Keith Richards billed himself as "Keith Richard" in the '60s and '70s, in emulation of early British rocker Cliff Richard.
  • Standard Pre-Ass-Kicking Snippet: "Gimme Shelter". Pretty ironic if you know the lyrics.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Keith Richards (numerous songs including "You Got the Silver", "Happy", "Before They Make Me Run", "Little T&A", etc.); Bill Wyman ("In Another Land").
  • A Storm Is Coming: "Gimme Shelter"
  • Take That: When their former record company told them they were obligated to deliver one more single, the band gave them the unreleasable "Cocksucker Blues". It was released in Germany and did well there, though.
    • "We Love You" was the Stones' "valentine" to the British establishment following the group's harassment by police and media throughout 1967, which culminated in an infamous drug raid at Keith Richards' home and the attempted imprisonment of he and Jagger for possession.
  • Textless Album Cover: Their Satanic Majesties Request, It's Only Rock 'n Roll, A Bigger Bang
    • The original UK version of their debut album was textless apart from the standard Decca logo (a rather bold move for the early '60s, especially for a bunch of then-unknowns). This was also done for Rolling Stones No. 2 and the UK version of Between the Buttons.
  • Three Chords and the Truth: Particularly in the early years.
  • Three Dimensional Episode: The cover of the Their Satanic Majesties Request album originally featured a lenticular 3-D image of the band.
  • Villain Song: "Sympathy for the Devil"
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Richards and Jagger both have described their relationship with one another as this.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Brian Jones' relationship with Jagger and Richards pretty much wound up this way.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "2000 Light Years From Home"