Sunday, August 1, 2010

Rolling Stones Albums - Four Decades of Rock

Rolling StonesImage by Mark Sardella via Flickr
By Missy Ray

Few bands can claim immortal popularity. The Rolling Stones albums are proof however that this band deserves to live forever in its music. The group's music has been alive for close to five decades, earning for the group more than 200 million album sales, numerous recognitions and repeated inductions in various halls of fame and all time lists.

The English group's roots go back to 1962 when long time friends Mick Jagger and Keith Richards started playing for a club as the Rollin' Stones. The initial line up was completed by guitarist Brian Jones, pianist Ian Stewart, bassist Mick Taylor and drummer Tony Chapman. Drummer Charlie Watts and bassist Bill Wyman joined the band at a later date. Jones had been credited as band leader and the originator of the group's first name. Obviously though, fans of Rolling Stones CDs will no doubt say that Jagger has since eclipsed Jones in popularity.

From their initial stint as a club act, the group signed a deal with Decca records in 1963. Because Decca made the mistake of turning down the Beatles, the deal set before the group was said to have been more generous than usual, giving them high royalty rates, artistic control and choice of material for recording. The band's first single was released in the same year but this was to be the start of brief tough times for the boys. The quality of songs produced from this point on had little originality and appeal and even the members' appearances had been openly criticized.

By 1964, the group's status started to pick up more steam as their renditions of popular classics like Little Red Rooster and It's All Over Now started to climb the charts. This was an early indication that a wider acceptance for original material in Rolling Stones albums would be favorably met. The group went on to perform chart topping hits The Last Time, Satsifaction, Paint it Black, Mother's Little Helper, Ruby Tuesday and Midnight Rambler.

At the beginning of the 70s the band had already established a solid foothold in the music scene. They were so entrenched in popular culture that by the time their contract with Decca expired, they were able to stay solid under their own record label. This was not the only major shift in this decade. The group eventually left England and set up base in France.

By the 1980s the group had reached its career peak. Although previous years had been peppered by band members leaving, member deaths, personal rifts and drug use charges, it was in the 80s when more significant conflict began. Key members Jagger and Richards began to clash head to head. It was only in 1989 after the group's induction into the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that the two reconciled for a new album.

In 1992, individual band members followed Jagger's lead and started on individual career moves of their own. Although they continued to make music together, the group went through a seven year period without putting up new material. It was only in 2005 that A Bigger Bang was released.

Despite the band's age and dated musical age, there is simply no killing the sales of Rolling Stone CDs. The group is the only one to date that can still claim a top chart position for classic re issues.

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