The Rolling Stones: Biography, Members & Songs

Instructor: Jennifer Keefe

Jennifer Keefe has taught college-level Humanities and has a Master's in Liberal Studies.

In this lesson you'll learn about one of Britain's longest performing rock and roll bands - The Rolling Stones. Find out more about the history of the band, its members, and some of their songs. Then, take a short quiz about what you learned.

The Rolling Stones - Rockers for All Ages

You might not remember a time when music came on records, and you had to go to the store to buy them instead of downloading them from the internet, but you probably know some of the songs of the past that made the music of today what it is. Long before Britain brought us One Direction, The Rolling Stones stormed the stage to bring us hits like (I Can't Get No ) Satisfaction and Brown Sugar, changing the way the world saw Rock and Roll forever. The Stones, as they are affectionately known, played their first official gig at the Marquee Club in London on July 12, 1962 and have been making music ever since. The band has put out a total of 63 albums which include compilations, live and studio recordings, and greatest hits sets. In June of 2015, they released a remastered version of one of their most famous records, Sticky Fingers (1971), for a new generation of fans to enjoy.

Members of the Band

Since their first show in 1962, the Rolling Stones have gained and lost a few members. The current lineup includes lead vocalist Mick Jagger, seen in the picture below on the red carpet at an event in Berlin in 2008. He's one of the original members of the band.

Mick Jagger 2008

Along with Jagger there's lead guitarist Keith Richards, also an original member, (photo below with Jagger) and fellow guitarist Ronnie Wood, who joined the band in 1974.

Rolling Stones Jagger & Richards

Rounding out the band is drummer Charlie Watts, who first played with the group in 1963.

Rolling Stones Drummer Charlie Watts

Past members of The Rolling Stones have included Mick Taylor (with the band from 1969-1974), and fellow guitarist Brian Jones, both helped to bring the band their Blues-like sound. Jones started with the band in 1962 and left in 1969 over philosophical differences about the direction of the group. He drowned in July of that year.

Ian 'Stu' Stewart also played piano for the band in its early days, adding to the group's blues and R&B sound. He died of a heart attack in 1985, years after leaving the band. Bill Wyman started with the band in 1963, and quit the band in 1993. He brought a powerful sound to The Rolling Stones' music with his homemade electric guitar and amp equipment.

The Band and Its Impact

The Rolling Stones have done more than just make music for the past 50+ years. The group has literally changed the definition of music over time and has created a legacy of songs that document the changes in our world. Like many other bands of the 1960s, they covered songs created by African American artists such as Chuck Berry and Marvin Gaye as a way of bringing their music to the White community, and raising awareness about the Civil Rights Movement.

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