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The Rolling Stones

1962-present

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There's no denying that The Rolling Stones are one of classic rock's hardest working, most prolific and most successful bands. They have been in uninterrupted business since 1962, and still sell out concerts within minutes of tickets going on sale.

Although success came fairly quickly to the self-proclaimed bad boys of the British Invasion, the road from year 1 to year 50 hasn't always been smooth.

The Rolling Stones career milestones

The Rolling Stones in the early 1960s
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

It was in April of 1962 that childhood pals Mick Jagger and Keith Richards formed a band they called The Rollin' Stones, along with Brian Jones, Ian Stewart, Tony Chapman and Dick Taylor. That was the first of a long string of milestones in the career of this classic rock institution.

The Rolling Stones discography

ABKCO Records

The Rolling Stones may not have had "overnight success" but barely two years after they formed, they had two hit singles and a debut album that reached #1. There have been many more since.

The Glimmer Twins

Universal Music Enterprises

The Rolling Stones' recording career began with a repertoire consisting of covers of well known blues songs, but that didn't last long. Beginning with their second album, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger began writing original songs, and since then, virtually all of the band's many iconic standards have been Jagger/Richards compositions.

They dubbed themselves The Glimmer Twins when they took on the additional role of producing the band's albums. Although their relationship (which began in 1957 when they were youngsters) has often been stormy, they have been the backbone of the band since the beginning.

Multimedia Stones

The Rolling Stones 1998 Bridges to Babylon Tour
On stage during the 'Bridges to Babylon' tour in 1998 (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Stones offstage

The Rolling Stones 1989 Steel Wheels Tour
The Stones take a bow during their 1989 'Steel Wheels' tour. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Keith Richards has always seemed to be larger than life whether he is performing with the Stones or not. He has appeared in two of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies as the father of pirate Jack Sparrow, the character whose portrayal actor Johnny Depp modeled after Richards.

During the '70s both Richards and Jagger became deeply immersed in the prototypical sex-drugs-rock 'n roll lifestyle, Richards perhaps being the more flamboyant of the two in flaunting it. Well into the 21st century, he was still trying to shake off the image he seemed so bent on creating for himself back then.

And then there was the time Richards claimed to have snorted cocaine mixed with his late father's ashes.

While on vacation in Fiji in 2006, Richards suffered a severe head injury when he fell out of a tree. Subsequent brain surgery at a New Zealand hospital was successful.

Ronnie Wood became a fulltime member of The Rolling Stones in 1975. He had started working with them even while he was still with Faces.

Wood ran afoul of the law in 2009 when he spent the night in jail after a fight with his girlfriend.

In a way, Charlie Watts is to the Stones what George Harrison was to The Beatles: the quiet one. Always as far out of the public eye as he can get, Watts got a lot of unwanted attention when it was reported in 2009, and again in 2010, that he was leaving the band.

There have been numerous denials, and the reclusive Mr. Watts appears to still consider himself a member of the band.

The Rolling Stones 50th anniversary

When you've been around as long as The Rolling Stones, the opportunities for landmark anniversaries are many. There's the potential for a long series of 50th anniversaries for one of classic rock's longest lasting, hardest working, most prolific and most successful bands.

A photographic autobiography, The Rolling Stones 50 was released on July 12,2012 -- the 50th anniversary of the band's first live gig, at London's Marquee Club -- complimented by a photo exhibit at London's Somerset House during July and August, 2012. On July 11, 2012 current band members Jagger, Richards, Wood and Watts posed for a photo in front of the Marquee Club. (Photo by Rankin, published on rollingstones.com)

The band turned down an invitation to perform at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, saying they felt a bit rusty by not having played together since their 2005-07 A Bigger Bang Tour ended. But they did rev their tour machinery up for four shows -- two in London, two in New Jersey -- at the end of the year.

Band members say they're holding the bulk of their anniversary celebrating until 2013, that being the 50th anniversary of drummer Charlie Watts joining the band.

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