Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones’ very first gig, which took place at the Marquee Club, then one of London’s most popular jazz venues. At the time, the fledgling R&B outfit featured singer Mick Jagger, guitarists Keith Richards and Brian Jones – the latter of whom was using the stage name Elmo Lewis – pianist Ian “Stu” Stewart, bassist Dick Taylor and future Kinks drummer Mick Avory.
The Stones were reportedly encouraged enough by the audience’s response that they continued lining up shows in the London area. As the group’s following grew, the Stones’ lineup would solidify in the subsequent months, with Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts signing on as bassist and drummer, respectively. Superstardom ensued and the rest is, as they say, history.
Author Christopher Andersen, whose just-published biography Mick: The Wild Life and Mad Genius of Jagger has been garnering plenty of media attention, has done extensive research about the Stones’ early days, and he shared some interesting tidbits with ABC News Radio.
With regard to the band’s first concert, Andersen said that the Stones apparently didn’t overwhelm the Marquee crowd. He quoted Taylor as saying, “It was a case of instant dislike. The sight of us, and particularly Mick, was more than they could handle.”
Andersen also pointed out that since the Marquee was a jazz club, most of its clientele “didn’t like rockers,” noting, “There were a few people who did in the audience … and before long, people who were fans of rock knew this was the place to come.”
The author also said that the inspiration for Mick’s trademark stage moves, immortalized recently in Maroon 5′s chart-topping “Moves Like Jagger,” came from a surprising source. Andersen claims that according to Taylor, as well as some club owners from The Stones’ early days, “Mick told them he was doing a conscious parody of Marilyn Monroe when he was on stage — with the pouty lips, the mugging, the swivel-hip thing [and] the playful hair toss.”
Fans wanting to commemorate the Stones’ big anniversary along with the band can log on to RollingStones.com – the site is planning to host a celebration of the event.