The Rolling Stones
When they first got together in London in 1962, The Rolling Stones were just one among many scrappy young British bands enamored of American blues and rock 'n' roll. But they'd go on to become one of the biggest, longest-lived bands in rock history. Singer Mick Jagger, guitarists Keith Richards and Brian Jones, bassist Bill Wyman, drummer Charlie Watts, and pianist Ian Stewart started out playing rocked up versions of blues and soul tunes. By the time they released their first single in 1963, a cover of Chuck Berry's "Come On," Stewart was no longer a full-time band member, though he'd remain in the fold on an as-needed basis for the rest of his life. The band's first big hit, at least in England, was a 1964 version of Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away," though they broke out in America soon after. They released their first, self-titled LP in 1964. While non-LP 1965 singles like "Get Off My Cloud" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" showed their songwriting skills to be top-shelf, their first few albums (big hits in both the US and UK) contained few original songs. That all changed with 1966's Aftermath, which held all original material and showed the band's range extended beyond American influences. Like their peers, they started getting psychedelic as the '60s progressed, delivering their own answer to The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper with 1967's Their Satanic Majesties Request. But after that, the Stones made a sharp detour, combining their rootsy inclinations with sharp songwriting on their next few albums (1968's Beggars Banquet through 1972's Exile on Main St.) and reaching their artistic peak in the process. After Brian Jones drowned in his swimming pool in 1969, Mick Taylor became the band's new guitarist, until his departure initiated the arrival of Ronnie Wood. The band would remain at the top of the rock 'n' roll heap for the rest of its career, though the rest of their output could never match up to the remarkable standard of the aforementioned string of classic albums. 1978's Some Girls was hailed as a revivification, and the next two albums, Emotional Rescue and Tattoo You, felt equally fresh and potent. In 1993, Wyman left the band, replaced by Darryl Jones, though the latter would never be made a full member of the band. In 2016, 11 years after their previous album, A Bigger Bang, the Stones came full circle by going back to their beginnings and releasing Blue and Lonesome, an album occupied entirely by blues covers.