Wed July 3rd, 2002
Wed August 15th, 2001
Bill Wyman (1936-Present), bass
In May of 1963, Mick Jagger, Keith Richard, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts signed a management contract with 19-year-old Andrew Oldham, a former PR man for the Beatles. But the contract wasn’t the only formality to which the group committed. It was at this time that the musicians altered their band name, officially adding a "g" to the more raffish "Rollin' Stones." It was later the same month that A&R; rep Dick Rowe signed the Rolling Stones to Decca Records, which had recently rejected the Beatles. Some time around 1978, Richard replaced the "s" at the end of his surname -- Richards had dropped it earlier because he thought Keith Richard had more of a ring to it.
Bill Wyman
Though Keith Richards and Mick Jagger had met when they were kids at Wentworth County Junior School, it wasn’t until years later, after each had developed a consuming interest in American blues and R’n’B, that the two crossed paths again and opened a raucous chapter of rock history.

Jagger was attending the London School of Economics and playing in an outfit called Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys; Richards, who was studying (though not vigorously enough – he was eventually expelled for truancy) at Sidcup Art School eventually signed on to the band as second guitarist. By 1963 the Stones’ line-up had solidified and the quintet - Jagger, Richards, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts soon signed with Decca Records.

From the outset, the Rolling Stones were presented as the bad-boy alternative to the Beatles, and while it may initially have served as a convenient marketing tag, throughout the ’60s the Stones continued to set the tone for badass rock’n’roll. While Jagger unabashedly, flamboyantly absorbed and re-cast influences like Muddy Waters and Tina Turner in his own image, Richards cultivated a rhythm guitar approach that drew heavily on the seminal works of artists like Robert Johnson and Chuck Berry.

The ’70s found the Stones covering even more ground, from the gritty rock of Exile On Main Street to disco-esque and punk-ish experiments on Some Girls – and courting controversy, over the battered woman cover art that adorned 1976’s Black and Blue and the ironic ethnic slurs of the title track from Some Girls.

Between the sporadic studio efforts of the ’80s, Richards and Jagger became estranged, taking potshots at one another in the press. Jagger released two solo albums, She’s the Boss in 1984 and Primitive Cool in 1987. In retaliation, Richards (who had long maintained he would never record a solo album) released 1988’s Talk Is Cheap, on which he was backed by the X-Pensive Winos (Waddy Wachtel, Steve Jordan and Charley Drayton) with whom he had toured in 1979. Yet despite their sniping and dueling solo efforts, Jagger and Richards joined forces to begin work on Steel Wheels in 1989.

With their place in the rock’n’roll pantheon secure (Hall of Fame induction in 1989 and, at long last, a Best Rock Album Grammy in 1994 for Voodoo Lounge), the 1990s have been a time for the Stones to bask in their success with a couple high profile, top grossing tours and sporadic solo efforts.
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