The Rock’s Backpages Flashback: The Rollin’ Stones Rock Richmond in 1963!
With "the greatest rock 'n' roll band in the world" turning 50 this week, we take you back to one of the earliest pieces ever written about the band known then as "the Rollin' Stones." Norman Jopling's rave report was published in Britain's Record Mirror on May 11, 1963 ——Barney Hoskyns, Editorial Director, Rock's Backpages
As the Trad scene gradually subsides, promoters of all kinds of teen-beat entertainment heave a long sigh of relief that they have found something to take its place. It's Rhythm and Blues, of course — the number of R&B clubs that have sprung up is nothing short of fantastic.
One of the best-known — and one of the most successful to date — is at the Station Hotel, Kew Road, in Richmond, just on the outskirts of London. There, on Sunday evenings, the hip kids throw themselves about to the new "jungle music" like they never did in the more stinted days of trad.
And the combo they writhe and twist to is called the Rollin' Stones. Maybe you've never heard of them — if you live far away from London the odds are you haven't.
But by gad you will! The Rollin' Stones are probably destined to be the biggest group in the R&B scene if it continues to flourish. And by the looks of the Station Hotel, Richmond, flourish is merely an understatement considering that three months ago only fifty people turned up to see the group. Now club promoter, bearded Giorgio Gomelsky, has to close the doors at an early hour — over four hundred R&B fans crowd the hall.
And the fans who do come quickly lose all their inhibitions and proceed to contort themselves to the truly exciting music of the boys — who put heart and soul into their performances.
The fact is that, unlike all the other R&B groups worthy of the name, the Rollin' Stones have a definite visual appeal. They aren't the Jazzmen who were doing Trad eighteen months back and who have converted their act to keep up with the times. They are genuine R&B fanatics themselves, and they sing and play in a way that one would expect more from a colored U.S. R&B team than a bunch of wild, exciting white boys who have the fans screaming — and listening — to them.
Line-up of the group is Mick Jagger, lead vocal and harmonica and student at the London School of Economics. The fierce backing is supplied by Brian Jones, guitar and harmonica, and also spokesman and leader of the group. He's an architect, while Keith Richards, guitar, is an art student. The other three members of the group are Bill Wyman, bass guitar, Ian Stewart, piano and maracas, and drummer Charles Watts.