The Origin Story of the Rolling Stones

Like much of the Rolling Stones’ treasured catalog, the band itself stems from the partnership between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

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The two teens met in Dartford, England, in 1961. Like many fledgling rock bands, the pair were drawn together through a mutual love of American blues music. Though Jagger and Richards had grown up around each other, they had lost touch prior to that fateful day in the early ’60s. Richards later revealed a note he had written to his Aunt Patty soon after meeting Jagger in his autobiography Life.

“You know I was keen on Chuck Berry and I thought I was the only fan for miles but one mornin’ on Dartford Stn, I was holding one of Chuck’s records when a guy I knew at primary school 7-11 yrs came up to me,” the letter reads (per Far Out Magazine).

“He’s got every record Chuck Berry ever made and all his mates have too, they are all rhythm and blues fans, real R&B I mean (not this Dinah Shore, Brook Benton crap) Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, Chuck, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker all the Chicago bluesmen real lowdown stuff, marvelous,” he continued.

After establishing mutual tastes, the duo joined forces with a few mutual friends to form bands like Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys.

Early Days as the Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones as we know them today started to take shape in 1962 after Jagger and Richards met Brian Jones at the Ealing Club in London. The guitarist was playing as part of an outfit called Blues Incorporated.

Jagger and Richards joined the pack but, soon after, Jones tapped them for his own emerging band. They added in Mick Taylor and keyboardist Ian Stewart, rounding out the original lineup of the group.

All that was left was to find a name befitting their new blues-rock group. For that, they looked to one of their earliest inspiration: Muddy Waters.

Waters released “Rollin’ Stone” in 1950. The song tells the story of a boy, destined to cause a little bit of trouble. Well, my mother told my father / Just before hmmm, I was born / “I got a boy child’s comin’ / Gonna be, he’s going to be a rolling stone” / Sure enough, he’s a rolling stone, the lyrics read.

Jones chose the name prior to a show in July 1962. Though the moniker was chosen out of necessity, it perfectly fits the rockers’ mythos.

In 1963, the group brought on Bill Wyman and the late Charlie Watts, securing the most recognizable early iteration of the group.

[RELATED: 5 Bands Named After Other Bands’ Songs]

How It’s Going

The Rolling Stones are arguably the most enduring rock outfit ever. The group – now consisting of Jagger, Richards, and Ronnie Wood – celebrated their 60th anniversary as a group last year.

The anniversary, accompanied by a sprawling tour, proved the rockers still had the same vivacious energy and appeal they did back in ’62.

Rolling Stones (Photo: Helmut Newton)

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