Today marks 50 years since the Rolling Stones took the stage for the first time. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts marked the occasion by posing for a photo at London's Marquee Club, the venue that hosted the group in 1962. There's now talk that the band could hit the road (again) for another world tour. School of Literature, Communication, and Culture Professor Philip Auslander studies the history of popular music and explains why the Stones were relevant then and now.
In the mid-1960s, you had to be either a Beatles fan or a Stones fan. Each group had arrived at a different synthesis of their musical influences and represented diametrically opposed attitudes.
Whereas the Beatles were cheerful lads who played boisterous rock and roll, the Stones got their sound much more from the blues and soul music. Their music and performance style were aggressive and critical – they seemed diffident, not eager to please. They played the crucial role of bringing the darker impulses underlying the music to light; this, and a 50-year history of intense recordings, compelling performances and masterfully written songs are their legacy.
Now, these bad boys of rock have aged into its foxy grandpas, but they remain dynamic, high-energy performers whose concerts are master classes in what it means to live the music.
To read more about the Rolling Stones, click here and scroll towards the bottom of the page. Auslander discusses the band and what it means to be "too old to rock 'n' roll."
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