The Rolling Stones performing live at Summerfest, Milwaukee on 23 June 2015
Left to right: Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards
Also known as: The Stones
Origin: London, England
Genres: Rock blues rock rock and roll rhythm and blues hard rock pop country rock blues
Years active: 1962–present
Labels: Decca London Rolling Stones Virgin ABKCO Interscope Polydor
Discography at Wikipedia
Current official members
Mick Jagger – lead and backing vocals, harmonica, piano, rhythm guitar (1962–present)
Keith Richards – rhythm and lead guitar, backing and lead vocals, bass (1962–present)
Charlie Watts – drums, percussion (1963–present)
Ronnie Wood – lead and rhythm guitar, lap steel guitar, pedal steel guitar, slide guitar, backing vocals, bass (1975–present)
Former official members
Brian Jones – rhythm and lead guitar, harmonica, miscellaneous instruments, backing vocals (1962–1969; died 1969)
Ian Stewart – piano, percussion (1962–1963; touring 1969, 1975–1976, 1978, 1981–1982; died 1985)
Mick Taylor – rhythm and lead guitar, backing vocals, bass (1969–1974; guest 1981, 2012–2014)
Bill Wyman – bass, backing vocals (1962–1993; guest 2012)
Current touring members
Chuck Leavell – keyboards, backing vocals (1982–present)
Bernard Fowler – backing vocals, percussion (1989–present)
Darryl Jones – bass, backing vocals (1993–present)
Tim Ries – saxophone, keyboards (1999–present)
Matt Clifford – keyboards, French horn (1989–1990, 2012–present)
Karl Denson – saxophone (2014–present)
Sasha Allen – backing vocals (2016–present)
Former touring members
Bobby Keys – saxophone (1969–1973; 1981–2014; died 2014)
Billy Preston – keyboards, backing vocals (1973-1977; died 2006)
Nicky Hopkins – keyboards (1971–1973; died 1994)
Ernie Watts – saxophone (1981)
Ian McLagan – keyboards (1978–1981; died 2014)
Blondie Chaplin – backing vocals, percussion, rhythm guitar (1997–2007)
Lisa Fischer – backing vocals (1989–2015)
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in London in 1962. The first settled line-up consisted of Brian Jones (guitar, harmonica), Ian Stewart (piano), Mick Jagger (lead vocals, harmonica), Keith Richards (guitar), Bill Wyman (bass) and Charlie Watts (drums). Stewart was removed from the official line-up in 1963 but continued as an occasional pianist until his death in 1985. Jones departed the band less than a month prior to his death in 1969, having already been replaced by Mick Taylor, who remained until 1975. Subsequently, Ronnie Wood has been on guitar in tandem with Richards. Following Wyman's departure in 1993, Darryl Jones has been the main bassist. Other notable keyboardists for the band have included Nicky Hopkins, active from 1967 to 1982; Billy Preston through the mid 1970s (most prominent on Black and Blue) and Chuck Leavell, active since 1982. The band was first led by Jones but after teaming as the band's songwriters, Jagger and Richards assumed de facto leadership.
The Rolling Stones were in the vanguard of the British Invasion of bands that became popular in the US in 1964–65. At first noted for their longish hair as much as their music, the band are identified with the youthful and rebellious counterculture of the 1960s. Critic Sean Egan states that within a year of the release of their 1964 debut album, they "were being perceived by the youth of Britain and then the world as representatives of opposition to an old, cruel order — the antidote to a class-bound, authoritarian culture." They were instrumental in making blues a major part of rock and roll and of changing the international focus of blues culture to the original type blues typified by Chess Records artists such as Muddy Waters—writer of "Rollin' Stone", after which the band is named. After a short period of musical experimentation that culminated with the polarising and largely psychedelic album Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967), the group returned to its bluesy roots with Beggars' Banquet (1968) which—along with its follow-ups, Let It Bleed (1969), Sticky Fingers (1971) and Exile on Main St. (1972)—is generally considered to be the band's best work and are considered the Rolling Stones' "Golden Age". It was during this period the band were first introduced on stage as "The World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band". Musicologist Robert Palmer attributed the "remarkable endurance" of the Rolling Stones to being "rooted in traditional verities, in rhythm-and-blues and soul music", while "more ephemeral pop fashions have come and gone".
The band continued to release commercially successful records in the 1970s and sold many albums, with Some Girls (1978) and Tattoo You (1981) being their two most sold albums worldwide. In the 1980s, a feud between Jagger and Richards about the band's musical direction almost caused the band to split but they managed to patch their relationship up and had a successful comeback with Steel Wheels (1989), which was followed by a big stadium and arena tour. Since the 1990s, new recorded material from the group has been increasingly less well-received and less frequent. Despite this, the Rolling Stones have continued to be a huge attraction on the live circuit, with big stadium tours in the 1990s and 2000s. By 2007, the band had made what were then four of the top five highest-grossing concert tours of all time: Voodoo Lounge Tour (1994–95), Bridges to Babylon Tour (1997–98), Licks Tour (2002–03) and A Bigger Bang Tour (2005–07).
The Rolling Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2004. Rolling Stone magazine ranked them fourth on the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time" list, and their estimated sales are above 200 million. They have released twenty-nine studio albums, eighteen live albums and numerous compilations. Let It Bleed (1969) was their first of five consecutive number one studio and live albums in the UK. Sticky Fingers (1971) was the first of eight consecutive number one studio albums in the US. In 2013, the band ranked 10th on the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists chart. In 2012, the band celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Keith Richards and Mick Jagger became childhood friends after realizing they shared a love for R&B in Dartford, Kent, until Jagger's family moved to Wilmington. Jagger formed a band, Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys, with Dick Taylor, mainly playing Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Howlin' Wolf and Bo Diddley material. Jagger was reacquainted with Keith Richards in 1960 at Dartford railway station. The Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters records that Jagger carried revealed a common interest that prompted their musical partnership. Richards joined Jagger and Taylor at frequent meetings at Jagger's house. The meetings switched to Taylor's house in late 1961, where the three were joined by Alan Etherington and Bob Beckwith. The band sent a tape of home recordings to Alexis Korner, who invited them to visit his rhythm and blues band, Blues Incorporated. They went to the Ealing Jazz Club in April 1962, where Blues Incorporated were playing, with Charlie Watts on drums and Brian Jones sitting in on slide guitar for at least one song. From late April to early May 1962 Jagger and Richards would occasionally sit in with Blues Incorporated at Ealing and at the Marquee.
Brian Jones advertised for band mates in the Jazz News and Ian Stewart found a practice space and joined with Jones to start a rhythm and blues band playing Chicago blues. Shortly thereafter, Jagger, Taylor and Richards left Blues Incorporated to join Jones and Stewart in their effort. At the first rehearsal were guitarist Geoff Bradford and vocalist Brian Knight, both of whom declined to join the band citing objections to playing the Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley songs preferred by Jagger and Richards. In June 1962 the line-up was: Jagger, Jones, Richards, Stewart, Taylor, and drummer Tony Chapman. According to Richards, Jones christened the band during a phone call to Jazz News. When asked for a band name Jones saw a Muddy Waters LP lying on the floor. One of the LP's tracks was "Rollin' Stone".
1962–64: Building a following
agger, Richards and Jones with Stewart and Dick Taylor on bass billed as "The Rollin' Stones" played their first gig on 12 July 1962, at the Marquee Club, 165 Oxford Street, London. Their material included the Chicago blues as well as Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley songs. Bassist Bill Wyman joined in December 1962 and drummer Charlie Watts the following January 1963 to form the band's long-standing rhythm section. The Rolling Stones' then acting manager Giorgio Gomelsky secured a Sunday afternoon residency at the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond, which, Gomelsky said, triggered an "international renaissance for the blues" and was a seminal facet of Swinging London's advent.
The Rolling Stones signed manager Andrew Loog Oldham, a publicist who was directed to the band by previous clients, the Beatles. Because Oldham had not reached majority – he was nineteen and younger than any member of the band – he could not get an agent's licence nor sign any contracts without his mother also signing. By necessity he joined with booking agent Eric Easton. Gomelsky had no written agreement with the band and was not consulted. Oldham made several changes to the band. He changed the spelling of the band name from "the Rollin' Stones" to "the Rolling Stones". He removed the s from Richards' last name saying it "looked more pop". Oldham also removed Stewart from the line-up. Wyman said Stewart did not fit Oldham's mould of "pretty, thin, long-haired boys". Stewart stayed on as road manager, playing piano on many studio tracks and on stage until his death in 1985.
Decca Records, which had passed on signing the Beatles, gave the Rolling Stones a recording contract with very favourable terms. They got three times a new act's typical royalty rate, full artistic control of recordings, and ownership of the recording masters. The deal also let the band use non-Decca recording studios. Regent Sound Studios, a mono facility equipped with egg boxes on the ceiling for sound treatment, became the preferred facility. Oldham, who had no recording experience but made himself the band's producer, said Regent had a sound that "leaked, instrument-to-instrument, the right way" creating a "wall of noise" that worked well for the band. Due to Regent's low rates, the band could record for extended periods rather than the usual three-hour blocks then prevalent at other studios. All tracks on the first Rolling Stones UK album were recorded at Regent.
Oldham contrasted the Rolling Stones' independence with the Beatles' obligation to record in EMI's studios, saying it made them appear as "mere mortals ... sweating in the studio for the man". Oldham promoted the Rolling Stones as the nasty opposites of the Beatles by having the band pose unsmiling on the cover of the first UK album. He also encouraged the press to use provocative headlines such as "Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone?" Though Oldham initially had dressed the band in uniform suits, the band drifted back to wearing everyday clothes for public appearances. According to Wyman: "Our reputation and image as the Bad Boys came later, completely there, accidentally. Andrew never did engineer it. He simply exploited it exhaustively".
"we were the first pop group to break away from the whole Cliff Richard thing where the bands did little dance steps, wore identical uniforms and had snappy patter". – Bill Wyman
A cover of Chuck Berry's "Come On" was the Rolling Stones' first single, released on 7 June 1963. The Rolling Stones refused to play it at live gigs, and Decca bought only one ad to promote the single. With Oldham's direction fan-club members bought copies at record shops polled by the charts, helping "Come On" rise to No.21 on the UK singles charts. Having a charting single gave the band entree to play outside London, starting with a booking at the Outlook Club in Middlesbrough on 13 July, sharing the billing with the Hollies. In Bill Wyman's book, "Rolling With The Stones" he incorrectly says the band played the Alcove club that night. Later in the year Oldham and Easton arranged the band's first big UK concert tour as a supporting act for American stars including Bo Diddley, Little Richard, and The Everly Brothers. This Autumn 1963 tour became a "training ground" for the young band's stagecraft.
During this tour the Rolling Stones recorded their second single, on behalf of the Rolling Stone's manager, was written by Lennon–McCartney-entitled "I Wanna Be Your Man"; it reached No.12 in the UK charts in 1963. Their third single, Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away", itself based on Bo Diddley's style, was released in February 1964 and reached No. 3.
Oldham saw little future for an act that lost significant songwriting royalties by playing songs of "middle-aged blacks," limiting the appeal to teenage audiences. At Oldham's urging, Jagger and Richards co-wrote songs, the first batch of which he described as "soppy and imitative." Because songwriting developed slowly, songs on the band's first album The Rolling Stones (issued in the US as England's Newest Hit Makers,) were primarily covers, with only one Jagger/Richards original – "Tell Me (You're Coming Back)" – and two numbers credited to Nanker Phelge, the pen name for songs written by the entire group.
The Rolling Stones' first US tour, in June 1964, was, in Bill Wyman's words, "a disaster." "When we arrived, we didn't have a hit record [there] or anything going for us." When the band appeared on the variety show The Hollywood Palace, that week's guest host Dean Martin mocked both their hair and their performance. During the tour they recorded for two days at Chess Studios in Chicago, meeting many of their most important influences, including Muddy Waters. These sessions included what would become the Rolling Stones' first number 1 hit in the UK: their cover of Bobby and Shirley Womack's "It's All Over Now".
"The Stones" followed James Brown & The Famous Flames in the filmed theatrical release of The TAMI Show, which showcased American acts with British Invasion artists. According to Jagger in 2003, "We weren't actually following James Brown because there was considerable time between the filming of each section. Nevertheless, he was still very annoyed about it ..." On 25 October, the band also appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. Because of the initial pandemonium the Rolling Stones caused, Sullivan banned the band from his show, though they were booked for subsequent appearances in the years following. Their second LP – the US-only 12 X 5 – was released during this tour.
The Rolling Stones' fifth UK single – a cover of Willie Dixon's "Little Red Rooster" backed by "Off the Hook" credited to Nanker Phelge – was released in November 1964 and became their second No.1 hit in the UK – an unprecedented achievement for a blues number. The band's US distributors (London Records) declined to release "Little Red Rooster" as a single there. In December 1964 London Records released the band's first single with Jagger/Richards originals on both sides: "Heart of Stone" backed with "What a Shame"; "Heart of Stone" went to number 19 in the US.
1965–67: Height of fame
The band's second UK LP – The Rolling Stones No. 2, released in January 1965, charted at number 1 as an album, and the US version, released in February as The Rolling Stones, Now!, reached number 5. The album was recorded at Chess Studios in Chicago and RCA Studios in Los Angeles. In January/February 1965 the band played 34 shows for about 100,000 people in Australia and New Zealand.
The first Jagger/Richards composition to reach number 1 on the UK singles charts was "The Last Time" (released in February 1965). it went to number 9 in the US. It was also later identified by Richards as "the bridge into thinking about writing for the Stones. It gave us a level of confidence; a pathway of how to do it."
Their first international number 1 hit was "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", recorded in May 1965 during the band's third North American tour. In recording the guitar riff with the fuzzbox that drives the song, Richards had envisioned it as a scratch track to guide a horn section. Disagreeing, Oldham released "Satisfaction" without the planned horn overdubs. Issued in the summer of 1965, it was their fourth UK No. 1 and first US No. 1 where it spent four weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, establishing the Rolling Stones as a worldwide premier act.
The US version of the LP Out of Our Heads (released in July 1965) also went to number 1; it included seven original songs (three Jagger/Richards numbers and four credited to Nanker Phelge). Their second international number-1 single, "Get Off of My Cloud" was released in the autumn of 1965, followed by another US-only LP: December's Children.
Aftermath (UK number 1; US 2), released in the late spring of 1966, was the first Rolling Stones album to be composed entirely of Jagger/Richards songs. On this album Jones' contributions expanded beyond guitar and harmonica. To the Middle Eastern-influenced "Paint It, Black" he added sitar, to the ballad "Lady Jane" he added dulcimer, and to "Under My Thumb" he added marimbas. Aftermath was also notable for the almost 12-minute long "Goin' Home".
The Stones' success on the British and American singles charts peaked during 1966. "19th Nervous Breakdown" (Feb. 1966, UK number 2, US number 2) was followed by their trans-Atlantic number-1 hit "Paint It, Black" (May 1966). "Mother's Little Helper" (June 1966) reached number 8 in the US; it was one of the first pop songs to address the issue of prescription drug abuse.
The September 1966 single "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?" (UK number 5, US number 9) was notable in several respects: It was the first Stones recording to feature brass horns, the (now-famous) back-cover photo on the original US picture sleeve depicted the group satirically dressed in drag, and the song was accompanied by one of the first purpose-made promotional film clips (music videos), directed by Peter Whitehead.
January 1967 saw the release of Between the Buttons (UK number 3; US 2); the album was Andrew Oldham's last venture as the Rolling Stones' producer (his role as the band's manager had been taken over by Allen Klein in 1965). The US version included the double A-side single "Let's Spend the Night Together" and "Ruby Tuesday", which went to number 1 in the US and number 3 in the UK. When the band went to New York to perform the numbers on The Ed Sullivan Show, they were ordered to change the lyrics of the refrain to "let's spend some time together".
In early 1967, Jagger, Richards and Jones began to be hounded by authorities over their recreational drug use, after News of the World ran a three-part feature entitled "Pop Stars and Drugs: Facts That Will Shock You". The series described alleged LSD parties hosted by The Moody Blues and attended by top stars including The Who's Pete Townshend and Cream's Ginger Baker, and alleged admissions of drug use by leading pop musicians. The first article targeted Donovan (who was raided and charged soon after); the second instalment (published on 5 February) targeted the Rolling Stones.
A reporter who contributed to the story spent an evening at the exclusive London club Blaise's, where a member of the Rolling Stones allegedly took several Benzedrine tablets, displayed a piece of hashish and invited his companions back to his flat for a "smoke". The article claimed that this was Mick Jagger, but it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity—the reporter had in fact been eavesdropping on Brian Jones. On the night the article was published Jagger appeared on the Eamonn Andrews chat show and announced that he was filing a writ for libel against the paper.
A week later on Sunday 12 February, Sussex police, tipped off by the News of the World, who in turn were tipped off by Richards' chauffeur, raided a party at Keith Richards' home, Redlands. No arrests were made at the time but Jagger, Richards and their friend Robert Fraser (an art dealer) were subsequently charged with drugs offences. Richards said in 2003, "When we got busted at Redlands, it suddenly made us realise that this was a whole different ball game and that was when the fun stopped. Up until then it had been as though London existed in a beautiful space where you could do anything you wanted." On the treatment of the man responsible for the raid he later added: "As I heard it, he never walked the same again."
In March, while awaiting the consequences of the police raid, Jagger, Richards and Jones took a short trip to Morocco, accompanied by Marianne Faithfull, Jones' girlfriend Anita Pallenberg and other friends. During this trip the stormy relations between Jones and Pallenberg deteriorated to the point that Pallenberg left Morocco with Richards. Richards said later: "That was the final nail in the coffin with me and Brian. He'd never forgive me for that and I don't blame him, but hell, shit happens." Richards and Pallenberg would remain a couple for twelve years. Despite these complications, the Rolling Stones toured Europe in March and April 1967. The tour included the band's first performances in Poland, Greece and Italy.
On 10 May 1967, the same day Jagger, Richards and Fraser were arraigned in connection with the Redlands charges—Brian Jones' house was raided by police and he was arrested and charged with possession of cannabis. Three out of five Rolling Stones now faced drug charges. Jagger and Richards were tried at the end of June. On 29 June Jagger was sentenced to three months' imprisonment for possession of four amphetamine tablets; Richards was found guilty of allowing cannabis to be smoked on his property and sentenced to one year in prison. Both Jagger and Richards were imprisoned at that point, but were released on bail the next day pending appeal. The Times ran the famous editorial entitled "Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?" in which conservative editor William Rees-Mogg surprised his readers by his unusually critical discourse on the sentencing, pointing out that Jagger had been treated far more harshly for a minor first offence than "any purely anonymous young man".
While awaiting the appeal hearings, the band recorded a new single, "We Love You", as a thank-you for the loyalty shown by their fans. It began with the sound of prison doors closing, and the accompanying music video included allusions to the trial of Oscar Wilde. On 31 July, the appeals court overturned Richards' conviction, and Jagger's sentence was reduced to a conditional discharge. Brian Jones' trial took place in November 1967; in December, after appealing the original prison sentence, Jones was fined £1000, put on three years' probation and ordered to seek professional help.
December 1967 also saw the release of Their Satanic Majesties Request (UK number 3; US 2), released shortly after The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Satanic Majesties had been recorded in difficult circumstances while Jagger, Richards and Jones were dealing with their court cases. The band parted ways with producer Andrew Oldham during the sessions. The split was amicable, at least publicly, but in 2003 Jagger said: "The reason Andrew left was because he thought that we weren't concentrating and that we were being childish. It was not a great moment really – and I would have thought it wasn't a great moment for Andrew either. There were a lot of distractions and you always need someone to focus you at that point, that was Andrew's job."
Satanic Majesties thus became the first album the Rolling Stones produced on their own. Its psychedelic sound was complemented by the cover art, which featured a 3D photo by Michael Cooper, who had also photographed the cover of Sgt. Pepper. Bill Wyman wrote and sang a track on the album: "In Another Land", which was also released as a single, the first on which Jagger did not sing lead vocal.
1968–72: "Golden Age"
The band spent the first few months of 1968 working on material for their next album. Those sessions resulted in the song "Jumpin' Jack Flash", released as a single in May. The song and the subsequent album, Beggars Banquet (UK number 3; US 5), an eclectic mix of country and blues-inspired tunes, marked the band's return to their roots, and the beginning of their collaboration with producer Jimmy Miller. It featured the lead single "Street Fighting Man" (which addressed the political upheavals of May 1968) and "Sympathy for the Devil".
Beggars Banquet was well received at the time of release. Richards said, "There is a change between material on Satanic Majesties and Beggars Banquet. I'd grown sick to death of the whole Maharishi guru shit and the beads and bells. Who knows where these things come from, but I guess [the music] was a reaction to what we'd done in our time off and also that severe dose of reality. A spell in prison ... will certainly give you room for thought ... I was fucking pissed with being busted. So it was, 'Right we'll go and strip this thing down.' There's a lot of anger in the music from that period." Richards started using open tunings for rhythm parts (often in conjunction with a capo), most prominently an open-E or open-D tuning in 1968. Beginning in 1969, he often used 5-string open-G tuning (with the lower 6th string removed), as heard on the 1969 single "Honky Tonk Women", "Brown Sugar" (Sticky Fingers, 1971), "Tumbling Dice" (capo IV), "Happy" (capo IV) (Exile on Main St., 1972), and "Start Me Up" (Tattoo You, 1981).
The end of 1968 saw the filming of The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. It featured John Lennon, Yoko Ono, The Dirty Mac, The Who, Jethro Tull, Marianne Faithfull, and Taj Mahal. The footage was shelved for twenty-eight years but was finally released officially in 1996, with a DVD version released in October 2004.
By the release of Beggars Banquet, Brian Jones was increasingly troubled and was only sporadically contributing to the band. Jagger said that Jones was "not psychologically suited to this way of life". His drug use had become a hindrance, and he was unable to obtain a US visa. Richards reported that, in a June meeting with Jagger, Richards, and Watts at Jones' house, Jones admitted that he was unable to "go on the road again". Richards said all agreed to let Jones "... say 'I've left, and if I want to I can come back'". On 3 July 1969, less than a month later, Jones drowned in the swimming pool under mysterious circumstances at his home, Cotchford Farm, in Hartfield, East Sussex.
The Rolling Stones were scheduled to play at a free concert for Blackhill Enterprises in London's Hyde Park, two days after Brian Jones' death; they decided to proceed with the show as a tribute to Jones. The concert, their first with Mick Taylor, was performed in front of an estimated 250,000 fans. The performance was filmed by a Granada Television production team, and was shown on British television as The Stones in the Park. Jagger read an excerpt from Shelley's poem Adonaïs, an elegy written on the death of his friend John Keats, and they released thousands of butterflies in memory of Jones before opening their set with "I'm Yours and I'm Hers", a Johnny Winter number.
Also performed, but previously unheard by the audience, were "Midnight Rambler" and "Love In Vain" from their forthcoming album Let It Bleed (released December 1969) and "Give Me A Drink" which eventually appeared on Exile On Main Street (released May 1972). The show also included the concert debut of "Honky Tonk Women", which the band had just released the previous day. The Blackhill Enterprises stage manager Sam Cutler introduced them as "the greatest rock & roll band in the world", a description he repeated throughout their 1969 US tour, and which has stuck to this day (Cutler left Blackhill Enterprises to become the Stones' road manager following the Hyde Park concert).
The release of Let It Bleed (UK number 1; US 3) came in December. Their last album of the sixties, Let It Bleed featured "Gimme Shelter". The lead female vocalist – and famed solo – on "Gimme Shelter" is performed by singer Merry Clayton (sister of Sam Clayton, of the American rock band Little Feat).
Other tracks include "You Can't Always Get What You Want" (with accompaniment by the London Bach Choir, who initially asked for their name to be removed from the album's credits after being apparently 'horrified' by the content of some of its other material, but later withdrew this request), "Midnight Rambler" as well as a cover of Robert Johnson's "Love in Vain". Jones and Taylor are featured on two tracks each.
Just after the tour the band performed at the Altamont Free Concert at the Altamont Speedway, about 50 miles east of San Francisco. The biker gang Hells Angels provided security, and a fan, Meredith Hunter, was stabbed and beaten to death by the Angels after they realised that he was armed. Part of the tour and the Altamont concert were documented in Albert and David Maysles' film Gimme Shelter. As a response to the growing popularity of bootleg recordings (in particular the still sought-after Live'r Than You'll Ever Be), the album Get Yer Ya-Yas Out! (UK 1; US 6) was released in 1970; it was declared by critic Lester Bangs to be the best live album ever.
At the turn of the decade the band appeared on the BBC's highly rated review of the sixties music scene Pop Go The Sixties, performing "Gimme Shelter" on the show, which was broadcast live on 31 December 1969. In 1970 the band's contracts with both Allen Klein and Decca Records ended (cf. "Schoolboy Blues"), and amid contractual disputes with Klein, they formed their own record company, Rolling Stones Records. Sticky Fingers (UK number 1; US 1), released in March 1971, the band's first album on their own label, featured an elaborate cover design by Andy Warhol. The Stones' Decca catalogue is currently owned by Klein's ABKCO label.
Sticky Fingers was the first to feature the logo of Rolling Stones Records, which effectively became the band's logo. It consisted of a pair of lips with a lapping tongue. Designer John Pasche created the logo following a suggestion by Jagger to copy the outstuck tongue of the Hindu goddess Kali. Critic Sean Egan has said of the logo, "Without using the Stones' name, it instantly conjures them, or at least Jagger, as well as a certain lasciviousness that is the Stones' own ... It quickly and deservedly became the most famous logo in the history of popular music." The tongue and lips design was part of a package that, in 2003, VH1 named the "No. 1 Greatest Album Cover" of all time.
The album contains one of their best known hits, "Brown Sugar", and the country-influenced "Dead Flowers". Both were recorded at Alabama's Muscle Shoals Sound Studio during the 1969 American tour. The album continued the band's immersion into heavily blues-influenced compositions. The album is noted for its "loose, ramshackle ambience" and marked Mick Taylor's first full release with the band.
Following the release of Sticky Fingers, the Rolling Stones left England after receiving financial advice. They moved to the South of France, where Richards rented the Villa Nellcôte and sublet rooms to band members and entourage. Using the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, they held recording sessions in the basement; they completed the resulting tracks, along with material dating as far back as 1969, at Sunset Studios in Los Angeles. The resulting double album, Exile on Main St. (UK number 1; US 1), was released in May 1972. Given an A+ grade by critic Robert Christgau and disparaged by Lester Bangs – who reversed his opinion within months – Exile is now accepted as one of the Stones' best albums. The films Cocksucker Blues (never officially released) and Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones (released in 1974) document the subsequent highly publicised 1972 North American ("STP") Tour.
The band's double compilation, Hot Rocks 1964–1971, was released in 1972. The compilation is certified Diamond in the US having sold over 12 million copies, and has spent over 250 weeks on the Billboard album chart.