This week we are looking at the debut by the Rolling Stones, an album which signalled the start of Blues Rock. So here’s a little look at where it came from, completely inspired by this video.
The members of the band formed through a shared love of American blues music, taking their name from a Muddy Waters track. The music was quite rare in the UK and not even that popular in the States, especially among white audiences. They began playing in London clubs, including an eight month residency at The Crawdaddy Club. Covering songs by their favourite artists, the band developed into an exciting live act, and were signed by Andrew Oldham to Decca Records.
The Stones’ first single was a cover of Chuck Berry’s Come On but it failed to convey the energy they showed on stage. Their second single, I Wanna Be Your Man, was written for them by Lennon and McCartney after Oldham, the Beatles’ former publicist, bumped into them in the street. A cover of Buddy Holly’s Not Fade Away, the Stones’ third single, was their breakthrough in the UK and the U.S..
This led to the self-titled debut album. Unusually it did not include any of the hits and helped define the album as a art form in its own right. All but one of the songs on the record were covers of the blues and rock ‘n’ roll artists the band loved. Despite singing songs written by others, the Rolling Stones had their own unique sound and the records sounded very different to the originals. The bought together different styles of music to create one unique to them.
Like the Beatles also did with their early covers, the Rolling Stones introduced little-known blues and R&B artists, like Howlin’ Wolf and Willie Dixon, to a much wider audience. They showed the world the obscure music they liked and invited people to go and listen to it. During their first tour of the U.S., they travelled to Chess Records, the home of the blues artists that had inspired them. They met their idols and recorded some songs at the studios, including their first number one single, It’s All Over Now.