Written by Julia Antonson
This week, we pay tribute to the band that set a high standard for future generations of music: The Rolling Stones. 50 years since the peak of their career, The Rolling Stones can be associated with their energetic performances and their even more wild acts when not performing. Throughout their career, they brought a unique essence to their music by blending a variety of music styles ranging from country, to blues, to reggae. So let’s all tip our hats to the founders of such an influential band: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Ian Stewart, Bill Wyman, and Charlie Watts.
The significance of this week in terms of The Rolling Stones is that on April 16, their first album The Rolling Stones was debuted in the United Kingdom where it went No. 1 in two weeks. It was the album’s upbeat rhythm and blues that allowed it to gain such popularity and stay on the chart for 40 weeks, with 11 of those weeks being in the No. 1 spot. A surprising thing about their debut album is that the album cover photo bears no title or any identification of the band other then the photo and the Decca logo, their record company at the time. This was an unheard of market concept at the time and only proves that it was not the album cover that got The Rolling Stones their popularity, but rather the sensuality in their music.
A song that is considered an important hit is on the 1964 album is the band’s rendition of “I’m a King Bee,” which is originally performed by Slim Harpo in 1957. Maybe it was the teasing voice of Mick Jagger or the experimental guitar slides created by Brian Jones that really set this song apart from others even though it was not recognized as a single on the album. The slow tempo set by drummer Charlie Watts allowed listeners to listen to the no frills guitar styling of Keith Richards and perfectly sets up for the album’s main single “Carol” with its strong upbeat tempo.
Drawing their roots from those good ‘ol swamp blues, The Rolling Stones have set the standard for what rock and roll should be in terms of passion and outlandish stage presence. In 1984, writer Philip Norman described it accurately when he stated that Jagger had the same effect on girls like Elvis Presley except in the fact that Jagger’s moves had the ability to “make men feel uncomfortable.” But evidently, the moves like Jagger joined with the supporting music was able to create a styling like no other during that time. It is no wonder that other artists were influenced by the band, artists like Steven Tyler, Lenny Kravitz, and Jack White.
Congratulations to you, The Rolling Stones, for all of your accomplishments throughout your whole career. Thank you again for your crazy antics, your legacy, and your long-haired boyish good looks.