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12 July 2012

On this day in history: First Rolling Stones gig, 1962

In 1960 two former class mates from Dartford in Kent met each other for the first time in years on a railway train. The two were Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who re-established their friendship and moved into a flat in the Chelsea area of London. Their shared love of rhythm and blues music led them to form a band called Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys with their mutual friend Dick Taylor.

At this time London had a nascent R&B scene centred on a band named Blues Incorporated founded in 1961 by Alexis Korner and Cyril Davis. The following year the pair established a regular "Rhythm and Blues Night" at the Ealing Jazz Club, where aspiring musicians had the opportunity to perform with the band. Both Jagger and Richards sat in on performances as did guitarist Brian Jones.

In May 1962, Jones placed an advertisement in Jazz News announcing that he was holding auditions for a new R&B group. Jagger and then Richards joined the group, which also included the pianist Ian Stewart. According to Richards, Jones was having a telephone conversation with the manager of a venue who asked what his group was called. Stuck for an answer he looked down at the sleeve of The Best of Muddy Waters that happened to be on the floor at the time. The first track on the album was Rollin' Stone Blues, and so The Rollin' Stones (as they were called then) were born.

Their big chance arrived in July when the BBC invited a stripped-down Blues Incorporated to play a live radio session for the Jazz Club show, meaning that they were unavailable to perform their regular slot at the Marquee Club. Blues Incorporated vocalist Long John Baldry took the headline spot with the Stones' as the support act. On 12th July 1962, Jagger, Jones, Richards and Stewart took to the stage along with Dick Taylor on bass and Tony Chapman on drums. They played a variety of R&B standards, including their opening number, the Leiber and Stoller song "Kansas City", and rock and roll songs, such as Chuck Berry's "Back in the USA".

A year later the band played their first gig outside Greater London at the Outlook Club in Middlesbrough. By that time the Stones' regular line-up [as pictured] had been put in place with Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts added as bassist and drummer respectively, and Stewart been demoted to road manager at the insistence of their manager, Andrew Loog Oldham; however, Stewart continued to play keyboards on the groups recordings. The band had also released their first single a cover version of Chuck Berry's "Come On", which reached number 21 in the UK charts.

Related posts
The Beatles hold the top five slots on U.S. singles chart: 4th April 1964
Last Beatles tour ends: 29th August 1966
Purple Haze released: 17th March 1967
First Sex Pistols gig: 6th November 1975

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