The legendary band is set to celebrate their 50th anniversary in style -- five concerts in London and the New York area over the next month, another hits compilation, titled "GRRR," out earlier in the week with two new songs, and HBO is premiering a documentary on their formative years, "Crossfire Hurricane," on Thursday.
If you do the math, it makes their long, storied career seem that much more unbelievable: 29 studio albums, 17 live albums, three box sets, 30 compilations, and over 2,000 live shows.
So with the Stones ready to start back up once again, we run down the good, the bad, and the downright ugly moments of the band's 50 years together.
10. First No. 1 hit, 1964
The Stones made their first mark on the music scene when they shot to the top of the charts in July of 1964. Their cover version of Bobby and Shirley Womack's "It's All Over Now" hit No. 1 in the U.K., a year prior to "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" hitting No. 1 internationally in September of 1965.
9. First No. 1 album in U.S., 1965
Riding the wave of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction's" success, "Out of Our Heads" became The Rolling Stones' first No. 1 album in the U.S., eventually going platinum.
8. The Ed Sullivan Show, 1967
"Let's Spend the Night Together" caused quite a fuss in '67 with its "suggestive" lyrics, with radio stations even banning the track from the airwaves, and the ones that did play it, bleeped out the word "night." When the band played it on the "Ed Sullivan Show" that year, they were asked by Sullivan to sing “Let’s Spend Some Time Together” instead. The Stones agreed, but Jagger sarcastically exaggerates the altered lyrics and rolls his eyes as he blurts it out.
7. Dirty Work, 1986
You just have to go as far as the album cover to know that this one was going to be a stinker. The band are seen decked out in blinding multi-coloured clothes, as if they got sucked into the WHAM! craze that permeated the mid-'80s. The music is just as bad. With Keith and Mick reportedly at extreme odds and drummer Charlie Watts struggling with heroin and booze (session drummers had to fill in for him), this was a disaster from beginning to end. With no big hits and a vomit-inducing cover of "Harlem Shuffle," it will go down as the worst album in their history. Even the band looks embarrassed watching Mick "shake his tail" in the video for "Harlem" (below).
6. Jimmy Miller at the controls
He was the band's go-to producer in their formidable years of 1968-1973, with classic albums such as Beggars Banquet (1968), Let It Bleed (1969), Sticky Fingers (1971), "Exile on Main Street" (1972) and Goat's Head Soap (1973) all under his careful ear. He even pitched in drum licks as well on "You Can't Always Get What You Want," "Happy," and "Tumbling Dice" (listen below), and is noted for coming up with the unmistakable cowbell at the beginning of "Honky Tonk Woman."
5. SARSStock, 2003
Mick, Keef and the gang came to Toronto's rescue as the city was reeling from a SARS outbreak. Orginized in just weeks, the concert attracted nearly half a million people to Downsview Park, and included acts such as Rush, the Flaming Lips, Justin Timberlake, The Guess Who, and AC/DC. To date, it's the largest outdoor ticketed event in Canadian history. Watch Keith Richards come to Timberlake's rescue as well after he gets pelted with water bottles below:
4. Bill Wyman exits, 1989
The long-serving bassist decided to pull the plug on the band after the recording sessions and tour behind 1989's "Steel Wheels" album. He simply had enough of touring. However, Wyman will be back sharing bass duties for their upcoming five dates with Daryl Jones, who has filled in for him since.
3. Keith Richards arrested in T.O., 1977
On February 27, 1977 Keith Richards was busted by the RCMP for possession of 22 grams of heroin at Harbour Castle Hotel. According to Keith it took police two hours to wake him up out of a stoned stupor. He was originally charged with "possession of heroin for the purpose of trafficking". Richards had his passport confiscated, and he and his family were forced to stay in Toronto until April. In April he was allowed to leave on a medical visa to begin rehab for heroin addiction. A month later, billed as "The Cockroaches," they played two shows at the famous El Mocambo club, and after, were spotted partying hard with Prime Minister Trudeau's wife Margaret, which created tons of tabloid fodder.
2. Brian Jones's death
On July 3, 1969, Jones was found motionless at the bottom of his swimming pool in the U.K. by his girlfriend Anna Wohlin, and it set off a wide array of conspiracy theories, not the least of which was that he was murdered. Only two of the remaining members of the Stones, Wyman and Watts, attended his funeral. Jones had left the band under acrimonious circumstances a month earlier.
1. Altamont death, 1969
It was dubbed as the official end to the "Peace & Love" generation. In what was supposed to be the Stones version of Woodstock, the vibe of this free concert turned dark when, earlier on in the day-long rock festival, Jefferson Airplane's lead singer Marty Balin was punched and knocked out by a member of the Hell's Angels, who were inexplicably acting as security for the event (for a reported $500 worth of beer). As the Stones hit the stage, the tension increased, and during "Under My Thumb," a scuffle broke out which resulted in the stabbing death of a 18-year-old boy.
Watch a clip of the incident below:
Have a favourite Rolling Stones moment/memory/song you’d like to share? Let us know below:
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