The Rolling Stones have been hailed as “The World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band” and even if you disagree, you can’t argue that they’re rock music’s most enduring act. Now in their 53rd year and still touring, the Stones are the longest performing band in rock history. As an upcoming tour brings renewed interest in this Hall of Fame band, here’s a look at 10 facts about the Rolling Stones you may not have known.
Number one in profits, too: The Stones aren’t just the longest running band in rock history; they’re also the highest-earning. Sales of Rolling Stones tickets have grossed nearly a billion dollars during the band’s five-plus decades of touring.
I take it back: In 1969, 27-year-old Jagger told Melody Maker magazine, ““I don’t think I shall live to a very old age anyway. I’ve always had that feeling.” Three years later, Jagger famously told musician Johnny Kay, “I’ll never tour when I’m 50.” Jagger is now 71 and still going touring. Speaking of making big declarations too early, the Rolling Stones won a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 1987, only halfway into their career as a band.
Stones on screen: Martin Scorsese is a Rolling Stones fan and has featured the track “Gimme Shelter” in three of his films, Goodfellas, Casino and The Departed. Ironically, the song does not appear in Stones documentary Shine a Light, which Scorsese directed.
Rotating ensemble: Counting current and former members, early bandmates and touring crew, 27 musicians have played under the Rolling Stones banner.
Almost got no Satisfaction: The Stones’ first US and UK number one hit, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” was nearly shelved as a mere B-side. Before changing the beat and adding the guitar riff’s distinctive “fuzz” sound, the track heavily featured Brian Jones’ harmonica playing and was not well-regarded by the band. Two days later, the song was revised and re-recorded and it became the well-loved hit we know today.
What’s in a name: Though the publication takes its title in part from the band’s name, Rolling Stone magazine did not slot the Stones at number one in its “100 Greatest Artists” ranking in 2010. The Stones were still in good company, ranked behind Elvis, Bob Dylan and The Beatles but ahead of rock pioneer and Stones inspiration Chuck Berry. Also on the band name front, Mick Jagger and Keith Richard’s original band was known as “Little Boy Blue & the Blue Boys.” We’re glad that name didn’t stick.
Accidental writing credit: The Stones’ 1997 hit “Anybody Seen My Baby?” is a notable case of “unintentional plagiarism.” After the song’s release, Keith Richards’ daughter noticed that its chorus sounded similar to k.d. lang’s 1992 release, “Constant Craving.” Richards and Jagger had never heard lang’s song but gave her and her writing partner, Ben Mink, credit on “Anybody Seen My Baby?” lang was flattered by the inclusion.
Officially unofficial: Darryl Jones stepped in when original Stones bassist Bill Wyman retired in 1993. Though he has been with the band for over 20 years now, Jones is not considered an official member of the Rolling Stones.
The Force was with them: Years before he created a galaxy far far away, George Lucas was one of the cameramen on the crew that shot the Stones’ 1970 documentary film Gimme Shelter.
Dream teams: Though considered the “anti-Beatles,” the Rolling Stones contributed to a Beatles song, with some Beach Boys thrown in for good measure. Mick Jagger sang backup on “Baby You’re a rich Man” while Brian Jones pitched in on oboe. Paul McCartney and John Lennon would return the favor, singing backup on the Stones’ “We Love You.”