Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Rolling Stones, The #26 Artist of the Seventies*

Childhood friends Keith Richards (lead guitar) and Mick Jagger (lead singer) joined the group the Blue Boys in 1961.  They met guitarist Brian Jones at the Ealing Jazz Club and in 1962, Richards, Jagger, Jones, keyboardist Ian Stewart, bassist Dick Taylor and drummer Tony Chapman formed the Rolling Stones.

The band played their first show on July 12, 1962 at London's famous Marquee Club.  Bill Wyman replaced Taylor in 1962 and drummer Charlie Watts took over for Chapman the following year.  Andrew Loog Oldham soon became the group's manager, and he removed Stewart from the lineup, with Ian staying on as road manager.

The Stones signed with Decca Records and churned out 24 hits in the 60's to become one of the top acts of that decade.  In 1970, the group formed their own record company, Rolling Stones Records.  Sticky Fingers was the first album released on that label.  The single "Brown Sugar" went to #1 in the United States, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, #2 in the U.K. and France, #4 in Germany and #5 in Australia.

Sticky Fingers has now been certified Triple Platinum.  The follow-up single, "Wild Horses", was a mid-charter, but is still a fan favorite.

The group moved from their native England to France, and recorded their next album in a mobile studio they had built.  The result was the superb double album Exile on Main Street, released in 1972.  The single "Tumbling Dice" went to #5 in the U.K. and the Netherlands, and #7 in the United States.

"Sway" was the flip side of "Wild Horses" and also received significant airplay.
Exile on Main Street sold over one million copies, their tenth consecutive Gold album.  We'll feature six other cuts from probably the Stones' best album of the decade.
The group ventured into playing country music on "Sweet Virginia".
Exile on Main Street also contains this Top Track*--"Ventilator Blues".
Exile on Main Street also contains this Top Track*--"Moonlight Mile".
"Shine A Light" is another outstanding track on the album.
"Let It Loose" is another great song on the album.
The Stones rock out with "All Down The Line".
And yet another solid song on Exile... is "Rocks Off".
In 1973, the group released a single from their 1969 album Let It Bleed--"You Can't Always Get What You Want", a #42 song but again recognized by their fans as one of the group's best in the decade. 


Later in the year, the Rolling Stones released an album they had recorded in Kingston, Jamaica, Goats Head Soup.  The single "Angie" led the way, going to #1 in every major country except Germany (#2) and the U.K. (#5).

The album sold over three million copies.  The Stones pulled another hit from the album--"Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)".

But drug charges (for Richards in France) and two prior convictions for Jagger (in 1967 and 1970) plagued their plans for a Pacific tour.  Japan refused to permit the group to play, and they were nearly banned from Australia.  The Stones did play in Europe, noticeably avoiding France so that Richards would not be arrested.  Richards was arrested again following the tour, this time in England.

Jagger and Richards co-produced the group's next album, It's Only Rock 'n' Roll, in 1974.  The title song peaked at #3 in France, #10 in the U.K., and #16 in the United States.  It is one of The Top Unknown/Underrated Songs of the Rock Era*.

Another single, the group's cover of "Ain't Too Proud To Beg", went to #17 in the U.S.

This outstanding cover of the Tom Waits song, "Time Waits For No One", is one of the Stones' best songs.
At the end of the year, Taylor became frustrated with his fellow Stones.  The numerous drug charges limited where the group could tour, and drug use was affecting Richards' ability to write and play.  Taylor had finally had enough, and quit the group.

The Rolling Stones auditioned guitarists for the open spot, with Peter Frampton and Jeff Beck joining the group in Munich, Germany to record the next album.  Beck for one later said he never realized the sessions were an audition and that he never would have joined the Rolling Stones.  The group wound up choosing Faces member Ronnie Wood.

The Rolling Stones began a tour of North America playing on a flatbed trailer being pulled down Broadway.

The Stones released the compilation albums Hot Rocks (in 1971) and More Hot Rocks the following year, but since most of the material is from the 60's, those sales count only marginally for the purposes of this special.

In 1976, the Rolling Stones released the album Black and Blue, The single "Fool To Cry" went to #2 in France, #6 in the Netherlands, and #10 in the United States. 

The album went Platinum for the group.  In 1978, the Stones released the album Some Girls, #1 on the Album chart in the U.S. and #2 in the U.K.  The single "Miss You" became the group's first big hit in five years, going to #1 in the U.S. and France, #2 in the Netherlands, #3 in the U.K., and #8 in Australia.

The single "Beast Of Burden" reached #8.

In 1977, the group released the live album Love You Live, which reached #3 in the U.K. and #5 in the U.S. 

The year exposed more trouble for the group, as Richards was arrested in Toronto for possession of narcotics. 

In many ways, Some Girls marked the return of the Rolling Stones.  The group had been living off their reputation for most of the decade, and in and of legal trouble pretty much throughout.  The album has now sold over six million copies.  A third single, "Shattered", only reached #31, a Top Track* of the Rock Era.

In 1981, Sucking in the Seventies, which went Gold.  That album does factor into these rankings.

In 1989, the Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Rolling Stones celebrated their 50th anniversary in the music business in 2012 with the release of the book 50.  A documentary called Crossfire Hurricane was released later in the year. 

The Stones sold 16 million albums in the Seventies.  They had 15 hits in the decade, much less than they enjoyed in the 60's, with six of them going Top 10 and three #1's.

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