While teenage girls across the world were being sent into frenzies as The British Invasion reached American soil, parents everywhere were biting their nails, pondering the question – “Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone?”
It was the height of the ‘Invasion’ and the bad boys from England were preparing their first performance in Toronto, Canada, on April 25, 1965. Before the show, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) news anchor Larry Zolf interviewed Mick Jagger, Brian Jones and Charlie Watts for the program titled “This Hour Has Seven Days.”
According to the CBC, he asked the group about “screamies” (in reference to their fanatically vocal fans), and also accused the group members of being “vulgar, obstinate and hostile.” Most notably, though, he asked them about the already famous question, “How do you feel about being asked ‘Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone?’” At the time, Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman, both married at the time, provided the living proof that someone’s daughters already had (Video footage of Zolf interviewing the Rolling Stones can be viewed here).
The Rolling Stones, Good Guys or Bad Boys?
Despite embracing their sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll reputation, the Stones’ careers didn’t begin with their signature bad boy image. Andrew Loog Oldham, manager and producer for the Rolling Stones from 1963 to 1967, was instrumental in setting the Stones apart from their mod-suit “nice-guys” counterparts The Beatles.
In an Ad-Week article featuring Oldham, he said, “The Beatles looked like they were in show business, and that was the important thing. And the important thing for the Rolling Stones was to look as if they were not.” Although the band initially dressed in uniform suits, the members drifted back to wearing casual clothes for public appearances.
Oldham had performed public relations work for folk-legend Bob Dylan, and even for The Beatles in the early 1960s. The Rolling Stones, however, were his blank canvas. With a history working in the fashion industry, Oldham “used that experience relentlessly as he crafted the band’s image – moving them first from the kind of matching outfits that The Beatles favored to their own, less uniform way of dressing,” reported Ad-Week.
In his 1990 book Stone Alone: The Story of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Band, Wyman reflected, “Our reputation and image as the Bad Boys came later, completely there, accidentally. Andrew [Loog Oldham] never did engineer it. He simply exploited it exhaustively.”
According to Ad-Week, Oldham played the role of art director as much as he did manager and producer. He had the band add “(I Can’t Get No)” to the song originally titled “Satisfaction” to elicit darker, perhaps naughtier connotations. Another subtle, yet effective, marketing move was the addition of the comma in the title of the song “Paint It, Black.” He said, “I just put a comma in there because I knew I would get calls from the record company saying, ‘Are you sure about this?’ And that would make them notice us.”
Oldham also directed the band’s album art, and advised that the band’s name not appear on their first self-titled album. He said, “That really was quite a feat. I told the record company, ‘You’re not getting the record until you agree.’” It was all part of his plan and creating an atmosphere of mysticism surrounding the members.
In the Limelight With Bob Bonis
While Oldham was choreographing how the boys appeared in public, Bob Bonis was also at work behind the scenes as U.S. Tour Manager for the Stones’ first five trips stateside between 1964 and 1966 (he also managed each of The Beatles’ American tours). Bonis didn’t dictate their image, rather he captured it on film.
With his Leica M3 camera ready-to-shoot, he documented the band at the height of the British Invasion, capturing candid and historic moments in their meteoric rise to fame. These never-before-released photographs are now available from the Bob Bonis Archive as strictly limited edition fine art prints. Each photograph is hand numbered, estate embossed, and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from the GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. LIVE!