Trivia / The Rolling Stones


  • Banned in China: When they played China as part of a world tour, they were specifically told by the government some of their songs were forbidden, such as "Brown Sugar", which was about an interracial sexual hook-up.
  • Breakthrough Hit: "I Wanna Be Your Man" was their big breakthrough in the UK. In America, it was "Tell Me".
  • Career Resurrection: They had two:
    • The band were music royalty by the end of The '60s, maintaining their greatest critical and mainstream success into the early 70s. However: more or less by the mid-70s, their chart success seemed to be drying up, despite continued critical and audience praise alike. Then, in 1978, the number-one disco-influenced "Miss You", the lead-off single to the equally-successful Some Girls became their biggest hit since "Angie" in 1973. Afterwards, signs of creative differences between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards erupted, especially after guitarist Richards voiced disapproval of the disco-influence in the title track to 1980's Emotional Rescue. The follow-up Tattoo You, their final U.S. number-one album, also containing their final U.S. top 3 hit "Start Me Up" has been opined very highly by hardcore fans as their last even decent album.
    • THEN, things began to go downhill big time with its follow-ups "Undercover" and especially 1986's Dirty Work. Both albums were released to mixed and divisive reception, and "Dirty Work", while producing a top-5 novelty with a cover of Bob & Earl's "Harlem Shuffle", was recorded during a bitter strain in the Jagger/Richards partnership, with Richards disapproving so highly of Jagger's focus on solo efforts coupled with his refusal to tour with the Stones that the strain nearly led to their breakup. Three years later, in early 1989, Jagger and Richards finally buried the hatchet, quickly reuniting the band to record a new album, Steel Wheels, which debuted at #3 and produced both a successful tour and the band's final major U.S. hit in "Mixed Emotions". Better yet: that same year, the Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and they have continued to record and perform to the present day, past their 50-year mark, releasing their first full studio album in over ten years, Blue And Lonesome, in late-2016.
  • Cash Cow Franchise: They never actually went away.
  • Chart Displacement: The band had eight #1 singles (including their signature "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and other classics like "Brown Sugar" and "Paint It Black"). This total, however, does not include "Gimme Shelter" (not a single), "Sympathy for the Devil" (not a single either, although Fatboy Slim's 2003 remix hit #97), "Start Me Up" (#2, though it was their biggest #1 on Mainstream Rock), "Jumpin' Jack Flash" (#3), "Wild Horses" (#28), or "You Can't Always Get What You Want" (#42).
  • Creator Backlash: Dirty Work is a bit of a sore spot for the band, as it was recorded at the peak of turmoil between Jagger and Richards. Ever since the albums release, the only track that's been played live is "Harlem Shuffle" (Their biggest hit from the album), and even then just on rare occasions.
  • Creator Breakdown:
  • Executive Meddling: Many examples:
    • The Oldham-Stewart issue
    • The alteration of the title of "Star Star"
    • The Stones' use of drugs forced them to break away from Oldham, and Brian Jones left when it became clear that he couldn't escape drug addiction.
    • One on the part of The Ed Sullivan Show. The network executives forced the Stones to Bowdlerise "Let's Spend The Night Together"; as a result, the lyrics were changed to "Let's Spend Some Time Together" for the broadcast.
  • Fan Nickname: Keith Richards became "Keef", due to his accent. And the band as a whole are commonly known as simply "The Stones".
  • Fatal Method Acting: They've had some near misses:
    • At a concert in Sacramento, California, in September 1965. Before performing "The Last Time", Keith Richards noted his microphone was pointing away from him. To put it in the right direction, he smashed his guitar against the mic, causing it to give him an electric shock, which rendered him unconscious for seven minutes. Luckily Bill Wyman rushed to his aid in time to get the guitar away from his body (the shock had melted away three of its strings).
    • Mick Jagger was assaulted by a drugged-up audience member during a performance at the Altamont Free Concert in December 1969; the would-be murderer was fatally stabbed by event security before he had a chance to do anything except point a gun at the stage.
    • In December 1981, the Stones were in the middle of "Satisfaction" when Keith spotted a lone fan climbing on stage and making a dash for Mick. With John Lennon's murder still on everyone's mind, Keith calmly turned down the volume on his guitar, hit the guy over the head with it, strapped his guitar back on, turned up the volume and kept playing without missing a beat. Then he went down to the police station and bailed the guy out.
  • In Memoriam: The 1969 compilation Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2) is dedicated to the then recently-deceased Brian Jones, and the sleeve notes include an epitaph that Jones had composed himself.
    When this you see, remember me
    And bear me in your mind
    Let all the world say what they may
    Speak of me as you find
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes:
    • Cocksucker Blues, the infamous documentary about the 1972 Exile On Main Street album tour (featuring lots of language, sex, and general mayhem). The band sued over the content of the film, and so it can't be shown in public without the director being present. (The director does hold frequent screenings.) This hasn't stopped it from being a mainstay on the bootlegging scene for many years. Ten minutes of excerpts from Cocksucker Blues eventually found their way into 2010's Stones In Exile, but obviously it isn't anywhere near the same experience.
    • Forty Licks, their comprehensive Greatest Hits Album, has been out of print since 2008 due to rights issues. Though a more comprehensive one, GRRR! came out in 2012, and even included one of the four new songs from Forty Licks (even if its cover is lamer).
  • Magnum Opus Dissonance: According to Richards' autobiography, Jagger looked at Exile on Main St. as just another album. It also took awhile for its reputation to build.
  • Old Shame: While still circulated, Their Satanic Majesties Request is often considered this. Mick Jagger does like two of the songs from the albums, "2000 Light Years From Home" and especially "She's a Rainbow" (which appeared in various compilations).
  • The Pete Best: Ian Stewart, although he still toured and recorded with the band as a session musician and roadie after being forcibly removed from the official line-up.
  • Referenced by...: They're probably second only to The Beatles in bands receiving Shout Outs. For instance, the restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday is named after their song, and Captain Jack Sparrow was heavily modeled after Keith Richards, as Johnny Depp has mentioned in various interviews that, as he observed that pirates were probably the rock stars of their time. Keith even made appearances in a few of the franchises' later movies as Jack's father to allude to that.
  • Role-Ending Misdemeanor: Brian Jones was fired from the band as due to many drug-related arrests he couldn't get a visa for an US tour. Less than one month later Jones died under mysterious circumstances.
  • Short-Lived Big Impact: Brian Jones founded The Rolling Stones, who were the main influences of bands like AC/DC, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, etc, who pioneered the Heavy Metal genre. He also was dead by age 27.
  • Trope Namers: Sympathy for the Devil is named after the song, and Man of Wealth and Taste comes from the second line.
  • Troubled Production:
    • Exile on Main St.. was recorded in France for tax reasons. Most of the backing tracks were recorded in the basement of Richards' villa at Nellcôte, a poorly-ventilated environment where the heat would cause the guitars to go out of tune. Recording took place all night but none of the Stones ever showed up all at the same time - Wyman sat out most of the sessions, Jagger was frequently AWOL and Richards was just getting started on his infamous substance abuse. He was joined in said substance abuse by Taylor, producer Jimmy Miller, session musician Bobby Keys and engineer Andy Johns - Wyman claimed in his autobiography that he, Watts and Jagger were the only people in the villa who abstained to some degree. The band then took the piecemeal recordings and backing tracks to Los Angeles, added all the overdubs and assembled them into Exile.
    • Bridges to Babylon only saw problems emerge when it was time to record in LA, as Keith Richards did not like Mick Jagger's plan to invite outside producers such as The Dust Brothers, whose work on Beck's Odelay had impressed Jagger, and looping expert Danny Saber. Richards hated electronic music and refused to work with either of them. He even fired Saber from the album when he found out he was overdubbing guitars. As for The Dust Brothers, they ultimately only worked on three tracks. Most of the album was instead produced by Don Was, who had produced Voodoo Lounge. Midway through production, Was had to keep Jagger and Richards in separate rooms and studios. Richards and his engineer friend had to steal tapes to make sure a track was finished. Charlie Watts, only got through the conflict by bonding with famous session percussionist and former Plastic Ono Band member Jim Keltner, with whom he would make a solo record later. Watts ultimately flew out of Los Angeles as soon as he was not needed anymore. By the end of the sessions, none of the Stones were speaking to one another. It was their last album for nine years.
  • Unintentional Period Piece:
  • What Could Have Been:
    • In 1969 they asked Jeff Beck to join them, but he turned them down. Can you imagine what Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main St. would have been like with Beck's guitar heroics? In a way it may be for the best that he didn't join, because that much awesome concentrated in one place might have caused the world to explode.
    • "Paint It, Black" was intended to be a comedic song. When the original guitar riff didn't work, they replaced it with a much harsher one, which changed the entire tone of the song.


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