The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in London in 1962. Diverging from the pop rock of the early-1960s, the Rolling Stones pioneered the gritty, heavier-driven sound that came to define hard rock, and continued to record and perform for decades.
Their first stable line-up was vocalist Mick Jagger, multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones, guitarist Keith Richards, drummer Charlie Watts, and bassist Bill Wyman. Initially the band performed mostly covers of American blues and R&B songs, and during their formative years Brian Jones was the primary leader: he put the band together, named it, and drove the sound and look of the band. After Andrew Loog Oldham became the group's manager in 1963, he encouraged them to write their own songs. Jagger and Richards became the primary creative force behind the band, alienating Jones, who developed a drug addiction that interfered with his ability to meaningfully contribute. He left the band shortly before his death in 1969, having been replaced by guitarist Mick Taylor, who in turn left in 1974 to be replaced by Ronnie Wood. Since Wyman's departure in 1993, Darryl Jones has served as bassist.
Rooted in blues and early rock and roll, the Rolling Stones started out playing covers and were at the forefront of the British Invasion in 1964, also being identified with the youthful and rebellious counterculture of the 1960s. They then found greater success with their own material as "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", "Get Off of My Cloud" and "Paint It Black" became No. 1 hits in the UK, North America, Australia and Europe. Aftermath (1966) – their first entirely original album – is considered the most important of their formative records. In 1967, they had the double-sided hit "Ruby Tuesday"/"Let's Spend the Night Together" and then experimented with psychedelic rock on Their Satanic Majesties Request. They went back to their roots with such hits as "Jumpin' Jack Flash" (1968) and "Honky Tonk Women" (1969), and albums such as Beggars Banquet (1968), featuring "Sympathy for the Devil", and Let It Bleed (1969), featuring "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and "Gimme Shelter". Let It Bleed was the first of five straight No. 1 albums in the UK. In 1969, they were first introduced on stage as 'The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World'.
Sticky Fingers (1971), which yielded "Brown Sugar", was the first of eight consecutive No. 1 studio albums in the US for the Rolling Stones. Exile on Main St. (1972), featuring "Tumbling Dice", and Goats Head Soup (1973), yielding the hit ballad "Angie", were also best sellers. They released successful albums until the early 1980s, including their two largest sellers: Some Girls (1978), featuring the disco-tinged "Miss You"; and Tattoo You (1981), featuring the hit rocker "Start Me Up". They then kept a low profile until 1989 when they released Steel Wheels, featuring "Mixed Emotions", which was followed by Voodoo Lounge (1994), a worldwide number one album that yielded the popular "Love Is Strong". Both albums were promoted by large stadium and arena tours as the Stones continue to be a huge concert attraction; by 2007 they had four of the top five highest-grossing concert tours of all time. Their latest album, Blue & Lonesome (2016), became their twelfth UK number-one album. Their No Filter Tour ran for two years concluding in August 2019. They have released 30 studio albums, 23 live albums, and numerous compilations.
The Rolling Stones' estimated record sales of 240 million makes them one of the best-selling music artists of all time. The band has won three Grammy Awards and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2004. In 2008, the Rolling Stones were listed 10th on the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists chart, and in 2019 Billboard magazine ranked them second in their list of the "Greatest Artists of All Time" based on US chart success. They are ranked 4th on Rolling Stone’s list of the Greatest Artists of All Time.