Patt Morrison for July 12, 2012

The Rolling Stones turn 50 today on the anniversary of their first gig


From left to right: Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Mick Jagger arrive at Somerset House in central London to celebrate the launch of a book 'Rolling Stones 50.' The Rolling Stones also launch a photographic exhibition marking 50 years since their first gig. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones played the Marquee Club in London on July 12, 1962, the first time they performed under the band name.

Fifty years ago today, a nascent version of rock legends The Rolling Stones played their first live performance ever – at the Marquee Jazz Club in London, England. On that summer night in 1962, the band had to borrow money from singer Mick Jagger’s father for equipment and played a set of 18 blues standards as a fill in band for the regular Thursday night act at the club.

In the ensuing half-century, the Stones would go on to sell an estimated 200 million albums and become one of the biggest, most influential and most profitable bands in history. Perhaps most amazing thing about their legacy is that the band is still together after lineup changes, drug problems, infighting and other requisite conflicts of a cultural phenomenon of that magnitude.


Should ‘dinosaur acts’ like the Rolling Stones still be making music at the age when most people are retiring? Or are they a testament to the youthful energy of rock and roll music?


David Fricke, senior editor at Rolling Stone magazine

Steve Hochman, music critic for the LA Times; has also written about pop music for the Rolling Stone, Spin, The California Report on KQED and contributor to the KPCC blog “Without a Net”

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