Musician Biographies » The Rolling Stones » Stone's Throw from Stardom - The Stones Start Rolling, Hide Your Daughters, Beating The Beatles, Recording, Releasing, And Touring

Stone's Throw from Stardom - Beating The Beatles

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On May 2, 1964, the Rolling Stones released their first full-length LP. Also called The Rolling Stones, the album came out in the midst of the band's increasing popularity. It shot to number one on the charts, ending the Beatles' year-long deadlock on top. The cover of the album, a simple photo of the band, was released without any words on it. No title or any other information was presented.

Did you know?

Andrew Oldham wanted Keith Richards to use a sleeker name for the stage, so he adopted the shortened Keith Richard, like British rock superstar Cliff Richard. Up until the seventies, many of the Stones' albums credited him this way.

Striking while the iron was hot, and doing their best to capitalize on the popularity of British pop music, the record was released in the United States on May 29. Like so many other albums released in the United Kingdom first, it was retitled. Called England's Newest Hitmakers, it shared with its U.K. counterpart the song “Tell Me.” The song is the first one written by Mick and Keith that was recorded by the band, but it would certainly not be the last. It seemed that anything the band put their minds to would happen. Now, of course, the latest challenge ahead of them was to tour the United States,

The Rolling Stones flew into New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on June 1, 1964. They had only booked a nine-date tour, and they were not sure what to expect. After they crossed the country and landed in Los Angeles, California, they played their first show in the Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino, California. They were greeted by a youth riot to rival those taking place all over London, and the band was encouraged. Unfortunately, the next night in Texas, barely anyone showed up. They still weren't quite catching on all over the country.

One highlight of their U.S. tour was a recording session at Chicago's famed Chess Records. Chess had long been the home of down-and-dirty American blues, and for a group of young men who idolized the masters of this art form, it was a dream come true. As if the privilege of being allowed to record there wasn't enough, legendary bluesman Muddy Waters happened to be there when they came by. The Stones were shocked when the man from whom they'd taken their name graciously helped them carry their equipment.

Also on hand at Chess was rock superstar Chuck Berry, who had ignored the boys in past meetings. He arrived just as they were playing his “Around and Around,” and couldn't help but compliment the Stones on the excellent job they were doing with his song. Recording at American studios was a practice the Stones would continue throughout their early career. America had been in the business of rock and roll much longer than the United Kingdom, and their producing and engineering techniques were far more advanced. Recording in the United States allowed them to get sounds that were impossible in their native land, and expert engineers like Chess's Ron Malo had the necessary experience to make a hot record.

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