Fifty Years of the Rolling Stones

July 12 marks the 50th stage anniversary of the world famous Rolling Stones who now are now in their 70s and from all appearances continue to thrive.

The eBook People (, publisher of the 2.000 pages eBook “50 Years: The Rolling Stones, offers views from the inside, views from the outside” (Part 1).  

The eBook has amazing old and rare pictures. Following is the preface of the book written by Hanspeter Kuenzler of London, England.    

It is as easy to take the Rolling Stones for granted as it is the Beatles, television, toasters or motorcars. Easy, to forget just how huge their impact was not just on the music of their time, but on society as a whole. Nothing illustrates this impact and the changes it wrought better than a trawl through the contemporary press. The outrage! The ecstasy! The incomprehension! The horror! The joy! It’s all in there – all printed in black on thoroughly analogue white paper. This book does not just tell the story of the Rolling Stones from the hindsight perspective of a conventional biographer. It tells their story with the words and pictures of their own times. Each yearly chapter of this book is introduced by a short essay, which aims to place the events in the life of the Rolling Stones in a more general social context.

12 July 1962. Man hasn’t set foot on the moon yet. Computers are still in their infancy and so large they take up the space of a fine villa. Mobile phones and the Internet are no more than a glimmer in the eye of science fiction writers. Synthesizers do not exist yet and the Beatles are still several months away from their first hit single.

On July 12 1962, the Rolling Stones played their very first show. It wasn’t quite the group of people yet whom the world would come to know as “The Rolling Stones”, and the band was still missing a “g” in their name, quaintly calling themselves the Rollin’ Stones. Still. The group of excited young blues fanatics who took to the stage of the Marquee club in London that night – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Ian Stewart, Dick Taylor, Mick Avory – had no inkling of the beast their performance would unleash. No idea that the sticky boards of the Marquee stage were their springboard into history.

Fifty years later, the Rolling Stones, astonishingly, are still with us. A marriage lasting fifty years is an extraordinary achievement. A group of friends enjoying each other’s company after so long is a rare and beautiful occurrence. For a rock’n’roll band to stick it out for five decades is a miraculous feat that very nearly defies comprehension. No other band has survived unbroken for so long with the core of its membership still intact. No other band, too, has so successfully reinvented itself so many times, or experienced such a wild – not to say soap-operatic – trajectory of commercial success, personal tragedy, hedonistic self-indulgence, ill-health, internecine war, and above all, artistic triumph. It is safe to say that without the Rolling Stones, the course of recent music history would have been very different. It is doubtful, for instance, that even the Beatles would have been so successful if the Rolling Stones had not been there to play off against. If the Beatles were the sun of pop music, the Rolling Stones were the moon. They were the dark South Pole to the Beatles’ sunny North. Stretched out between them was a whole new planet of possibilities.

It is the aim of this book both to give an impression of the massive difficulties the Rolling Stones had to surmount to arrive where they are today, and to show how much the world around them has changed with them, and thanks to them. The two volumes of this book are divided up into fifty chapters, for each year. Each chapter contains a large and representative selection of excerpts from contemporary newspapers and magazines. They are documents of their time, and as such we have left them untouched. Only the most glaring and irritating spelling errors were corrected, otherwise the documents were left as they were. The most obvious will be a discrepancy in the spelling of the name of Keith (or even Keef) Richard(s). Early on in the career of the Rolling Stones, their then manager Andrew Loog Oldham convinced Richards to drop the “s” from his name for image reasons. The guitarist reclaimed the “s” in the late 1970s at a time he reconnected with his long estranged father and discovered in him a soul mate. Both spellings were subsequently used without any great consistency.

It’s not just rock’n’roll (but we still like it)!

Hanspeter Kuenzler, London, June 2012

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