Would You Let Your Daughter Marry a Rolling Stone?

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.

After a recording session at RCA Studios in Hollywood, California, May 12-13, 1965, Bob Bonis captures this striking portrait of the Rolling Stones and their producer, Andrew Loog Oldham.

After a recording session at RCA Studios in Hollywood, California, May 12-13, 1965, Bob Bonis captured this striking portrait of the Rolling Stones and their producer, Andrew Loog Oldham.

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.

Rock-n-Roll Reputation

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!

5 Keefacts About Keith Richards

Keith Richards is a man who needs no lengthy introduction. Ranked number four on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of 100 Greatest Guitarists, he is credited with writing “rock’s greatest single body of riffs” on guitar.

As one of the founding members of the Rolling Stones, he’s lived life – and lived it hard – in the spotlight, and somewhat privately.  We all know Keith the pirate.  We know Keith the prankster. We know Keith the immortal (he’ll probably outlive most of us); but did you know Richards used to live in a villa that was occupied by Nazi soldiers during WWII? Or that he once almost burned down the Playboy mansion? A rich life is bound to have a few hidden gems, so here are five facts about Keith Richards that may have fallen through the cracks:

Keef the Boy Scout

In his autobiography, Keith Richards said, “Scouting was a separate thing from music. I wanted to know how to survive … how to find out where I am … how to cook something underground.” However, he did admit that young Keef mostly just took it as “chance to swagger around with a knife on your belt.” But, perhaps longingly, he added, “You didn’t get the knife until you got a few badges.”

Hey! You! Get off of my stage!

During the Stones’ December 18, 1981 concert in Hampton, Virginia, a fan rushed on to the stage, prompting Keith Richards to protect the sanctity of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Richards paused his performance in favor of turning his ‘axe’ into a weapon of self-defense. In Mark Blake’s book Stone Me: The Wit and Wisdom of Keith Richards, Keef said, “What if he had a gun in his hand or a knife? I mean, he might be a fan, he might be a nutter, and he’s on my turf. I’m gonna chop the mother down!”

Kieth Richards plays guitar during a Rolling Stones rehearsal and recording session of backing tracks for an appearance on the popular TV show Shindig on May 18 and 19 at TCA Studios in Hollywood, California, May 18-19, 1965.

Kieth Richards plays guitar during a Rolling Stones rehearsal and recording session of backing tracks for an appearance on the popular TV show Shindig on May 18 and 19 at TCA Studios in Hollywood, California, May 18-19, 1965.

Who needs sleep? Not Keith Richards

In Keith Richards’ autobiography Life, he said that on average, he would only sleep two nights a week during the band’s peak of fame. Running the numbers, he said, “This means that I have been conscious for at least three lifetimes.” Even when he did sleep, though, music was still on his mind. As reported by Rolling Stone magazine, Keith has said in interviews that his famous riff from “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” came to him in a dream.

Whatever you do, don’t touch his Shepherd’s Pie

In Keith’s circles it’s a well-known fact that he takes his Shepherd’s Pie very seriously. He demands it while on tour and has his own set of rules when it comes to his pies. Late Stereophonics drummer Stuart Cable recalled a tense situation involving Keith’s pies in his book Demons And Cocktails. He said, “We were backstage when I saw the pie. Like an excited 10-year-old at Christmas and I whacked several hefty spoonfuls onto my plate.” Luckily, Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood stepped in and quickly had it re-crusted by the waiting staff, but not after a waitress bemoaned, “Don’t you know the rules?”

Jumpin’ Jack… the gardener?

Just a year after an infamous and controversy-surrounded drug bust at the same country-house location, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards at Richards’ Redlands home while jamming in the early morning hours, according to volume 2 of the Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings. It was raining heavily outside and Jagger heard the sound of rubber boots thumping by. It was Richards’ gardener, Jack Dyer. Jagger asked what the sound was and Richards replied, “Oh, that’s Jack. That’s Jumpin’ Jack.” As the duo played around with the tune singing “Jumpin’ Jack,” Jagger shouted “Flash!” and shortly thereafter, the hit single was deemed the Stones’ return to their blues roots after their unsuccessful foray into psychedelia.

Bob Bonis might not have captured any Shepherd’s Pie thieves on film, yet he did snap a plethora of other honest, less obsessive, but equally powerful moments of Keith, Mick, Charlie Watts, Brian Jones and Bill Wyman while serving as the Stones’ U.S. Tour Manager on their first five trips stateside between 1964 and 1966 (as well as for The Beatles on all three on their U.S. tours).

With his Leica M3 always at the ready, Bonis documented the Stones’ indelible contribution to the British Invasion as it hit American shores and created a tsunami of musical, cultural and popular style changes that rolled coast to coast. These never before seen photographs are now available for the first time through the Bob Bonis Archive as strictly limited edition, custom-printed 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!

Bill Wyman: Jumpin’ Jack [Of All Trades] Flash

Bill Wyman, born William George Perks, seen with fellow Rolling Stones Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and manager Andrew Loog Oldham. Image by Bob Bonis

Bill Wyman may have begun his career in The Rolling Stones as a bit of a misfit, but what he lacked in comradery with his fellow band members he compensated for with a variety of interests and talents outside the world of rock-n-roll.

According to Wyman’s website, he auditioned for the Rolling Stones on December 7, 1962, and played his first gig with them shortly after. The group was initially impressed with his instrument and an amplifier he built himself. Besides playing bass, Wyman also provided backing vocals on early records and live shows.

But when he joined the band at age 26, he was 7 years older than Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Additionally, he was married and employed, causing him to feel like an outsider within the band.

While he didn’t exactly sync with the antics of the rest of the group, he proved himself to be an eclectic individual, and later on, a valuable archivist of the Stones’ early years.

In a 2013 interview, he said he began collecting Rolling Stones memorabilia, such as press clippings and tickets, because he had an eight-month-old son at the time and wanted to document that point in his life.

Bill Wyman with Biran Jones and Mick Jagger rehearsing in studio for a Rolling Stones appearance on TV show Shindig. Image by Bob Bonis

Bill Wyman with Biran Jones and Mick Jagger rehearsing in studio for a Rolling Stones appearance on the TV show “Shindig.”

He said, “The band wasn’t slightly interested in collecting anything and they thought I was an idiot for doing it. But they don’t think [so] anymore.” But, scrapbooking and journaling came naturally to Wyman. He kept a journal throughout his childhood, beginning during the years following WWII. Some of this writing was used in his 1990 autobiography Stone Alone and his 2002 book Rolling with the Stones.

He wrote that his childhood was “scarred by poverty,” which subsequently lent itself to the ingenuity he applied to his varying interests. For example, prior to his tryout with the Stones, he had been performing music around London with a fretless bass that he customized himself.

This ingenuity also led him to design, market and patent the “Bill Wyman Signature Metal Detector.” Wyman has been metal detecting as a hobby for years and has amassed an extensive collection of ancient coins dating from years 1100AD to 1836AD. Some of his discoveries have even been donated to museums.

In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, Wyman said, “I’ve always been interested in multiple things since I was a teenager. I’ve always been interested in ancient cultures, archaeology, astronomy, photography, art – and as I grew up, I tried to learn more and embellish those things by reading books and [watching] documentaries and films.”

Because of his inherent interest in photography since a youngster, Wyman has become a highly proficient photographer and his works have been featured in galleries across the globe. The subjects of his photographs, not surprisingly, are mostly of fellow musicians. However, in an unlikely friendship, he focused his keen eye on the works and life of Russian-French artist Marc Chagall, released in the limited edition book Wyman Shoots Chagall.

From 1964 to 1966, while Bob Bonis was serving as U.S. Tour Manager for the Rollings Stones on their first five trips stateside (as well as for all three of The Beatles’ American tours), Wyman watched as Bonis engaged his own passion for photography. With his Leica M3 primed and ready to capture the next moment in rock-n-roll history, it’s easy to imagine the adult Bonis and Wyman talking shop while the kids played. We would have loved to be a fly on those walls.

The iconic and intimate photographs captured by Bonis during these years are available now for the first time as strictly limited edition, custom fine art prints from the Bob Bonis Archive. Each photograph is hand numbered, estate embossed, and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from the GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. LIVE!

Reaching For The Guitars: Happy Birthday Keith Richards!

Keith Richards at RCA Studios in Hollywood, California, May 12-13, 1965. Photo captured by Bob Bonis who served as US Tour Manager for The Rolling Stones and The Beatles between 1964 and 1966.

On December 18, 1943, the rock-n-roll gods willed Keith Richards into existence and guided him along the path that would lead him to The Rolling Stones and to become one of world’s greatest guitarists.

Keith, an only child, was born in Kent, England, to Doris and Herbert Richards, a factory worker dad who was injured in World War II during the Normandy Invasion, according to the book Keith Richards: The Biography. Although his father saw little value to music, Keith’s grandfather took an opposite and more playful approach to encouraging the rock-n-roll-tot.

Keith’s grandfather, ‘Gus’ Dupree, toured England with a jazz big band, which helped pique Keith’s infatuation with music and the sound of a six string. During an October 25, 2015, BBC Radio program, Keith said his grandfather ‘teased’ him with a guitar he had placed on a shelf out of little Keith’s reach. Then Gus offered him a deal: if Keith could reach the guitar, it was his.

Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Ian Stewart at RCA studios in Hollywood, California, September 1965. Image captured by Bob Bonis while serving as US Tour Manager for the Rolling Stones between 1964 and 1966.

And so, with destiny just out of reach, Keith set off on the task of devising a way to reach the guitar. After finding a chair, and the subsequent books and couch cushions needed to reach the prize, Keith reached the peak victorious. But there was a catch: learning the rudiments of Keith’s first tune, ‘Malaguena,’ a classical tune which had become a popular jazz song.

After practicing the number “like mad,” Keith’s grandfather let him keep the guitar. Now, with “the prize of the century” in his grasp, Keith practiced at home, becoming familiar with world renowned artists such as Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.

As the years passed and as he grew older, Keef began to focus less on his formal education and more on playing guitar. By the year 1959, he could play most of the solos performed by blues legend Chuck Berry.  Not long after, Keith, along with his friends Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Ian Stewart, and Charlie Watts, began playing together in the group that would soon become The Rolling Stones.

In a 1986 Guitar World Magazine article, Stewart said that Keith was without a doubt the band’s leader. Keith’s job was to keep the band working as a finely tuned machine, to which Bill Wyman commented that while most bands follow their drummer, there is “no way of not following” Keith’s lead.

Over the years, Keith’s signature “guitar weaving,” or the interplay between lead and rhythm guitars, graced the world with one hit song after another. With Keith driving the beat and Jagger singing to the crowd, the world class songwriting duo wrote 14 songs featured in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” The magazine also ranked him fourth on its list of 100 best guitarists, adding that Keith is to thank for “rock’s greatest single body of [guitar] riffs.”

From 1964 to 1966, Bob Bonis had the honor of serving as the U.S. Tour Manager for the Rolling Stone’s first five trips across the pond (as well as all three U.S. Beatles tours). Armed with a passion for photography and his Leica M3 camera, Bonis captured the band in their honest, behind the scene moments.

These intimate, and often iconic photographs are available now for the first time as strictly limited edition, custom fine art prints from the Bob Bonis Archive. Each photograph is hand numbered, estate embossed, and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from the GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. LIVE!

Keith Richards, we wish you Happy Birthday and a sincere thank you for your years of contribution to the world of music, rock-n-roll, and killer guitar riffs. Here’s to many more!  Party on Keef!

Down the Rabbit Hole: LSD, the CIA and The Rolling Stones

They were strange days all around as the Vietnam War marched on and The Rolling Stones gave rhythm to a blooming counterculture, evolving social norms, and dangerous civil unrest.

To quell the rising movements in opposition to the war, the Central Intelligence Agency and British Security Service MI6 carried out secret illegal (and immoral), covert experiments to explore mind control techniques for use in espionage, warfare, and population control. Most of the subjects involved were never informed they were being used in these experiments.

Project MK-Ultra, often referred to as the CIA’s mind control program, was extremely broad in scope, but the experiments conducted with LSD, or “acid,” were some of the most notable, and disturbing. While Keith Richards and Brian Jones would end up trying the drug with a little help from their friends, but according to author John L. Potash, Mick Jagger needed a little coaxing from an undercover British Intelligence asset.

Keith, Brian and The Merry Pranksters

Richards and Jones were first introduced to LSD while The Stones were winding down their fourth American tour. At the same time, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest author Ken Kesey and his troupe of Merry Pranksters were ramping up their historic Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test parties, promoting the use of such psychedelic drugs.

Outside the Stones’ concert in San Jose on December, 4, 1965, the Pranksters passed out handbills, trying to capture the frenzied energy created by the Stones, inviting the concertgoers to the second ever Acid Test. Although the band didn’t attend the Test, Stones bassist Bill Wyman wrote in his book Stone Alone that after the tour’s final show in Los Angeles the next day, “Keith and Brian took LSD at a party given by the writer Ken Kesey and his followers [The Merry Pranksters].”

Mick Jagger, though, fell into a different, bizarre, and covertly sinister rabbit hole. Much to the chagrin of the CIA, he had successfully resisted taking the drug until February of 1967. Some experts argued that LSD could be effectively used to disarm radical political beliefs. As a result, both the CIA and the MI6 used various methods of manipulating and controlling popular music to influence its listeners: the millions of youth in opposition of the Vietnam War.

Operation ‘Get Mick High’ is a Go!

In Drugs as Against Weapons Against Us, author John L. Potash explains that by glamorizing drug use with music from bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, Project MK-Ultra could create a bandwagon effect, increasing drug use while decreasing commitment to political beliefs. Prior to 1967, Jagger unwittingly dealt a blow to the plot by publicly defending himself against false claims of using the drug.

But Jagger’s actions would soon be corrected. The morning after a party held at Richard’s English estate, guests who stayed the night (including Jagger, George Harrison and his wife Pattie Boyd) were offered a special LSD-laced tea by David Schneidermann, a known drug dealer working for British Intelligence and the FBI.

Potash writes the group was tripping all day, and later on, hashish was added to the party. But that evening, the house got raided by police and both Jagger and Richards were arrested and imprisoned on drug charges, which were later appealed. The mission, though, had been accomplished.

Identity Confirmed

Through a web of covert operations and agencies, Schneidermann admitted he was linked to the MK-Ultra program and its plot to manipulate mass populations with drug use. Potash notes that during this time, the CIA and British Intelligence were in the process of bringing LSD into England and were actively trying to introduce the drug to musicians.

In 2010, London newspaper The Daily Mail confirmed that Schneidermann did indeed work as an undercover operative to set up Richards and Jagger for the drug bust. The raid and the ensuing court case proved the band used drugs, subconsciously coaxing fans to imitate their idols by turning on, tuning in, and dropping their radical beliefs.

While serving as U.S. Tour Manager for The Rolling Stones (as well as for The Beatles) between 1964 and 1966, Bob Bonis had the rare privilege and unrestricted access to witness band’s non-drug antics. He was uniquely positioned to build a friendship with the band and to watch them wander down the occasional rabbit hole. He captured candid, historic, and never before seen moments on film. But instead of a spy camera, he had his trusty Leica M3 strapped to his hip.

These photographs are available for the first time as strictly limited edition, custom-printed fine art prints, from the Bob Bonis Archive. Each photograph is hand numbered, estate embossed, and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from the GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. LIVE! To buy your very own and to share a piece of true rock history, click here.

Without Jones, There Would Be No Stones

It’s difficult to imagine a world without the Rolling Stones, but once upon a time, the world of music didn’t have the sharp edge forged by the British Invasion. Everything grand, though, has to begin somewhere. As fate would dictate, the story of how The Stones began rock-n-rolling starts with Brian Jones.

Jones was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, on February 28, 1942 to music loving parents. Brian had an IQ of 135 and performed well in school with minimal effort. He did, however, have qualms with authority and would eventually quit school under less than optimal circumstances. He opted to travel for the summer throughout Northern Europe, but soon returned to England and eventually settled in London. There he befriended musicians such as Paul Jones and Eric Clapton.

Growing up, Jones had listened mostly to classical music but had a special affection for the blues. In an interview with the Los Angeles Daily News, original Stones bassist Bill Wyman said Jones began performing at local blues and jazz clubs, all the while working odd jobs and performing on the street. In May of 1962, Jones placed a want ad calling for musicians to audition for a new rhythm and blues band. The Stones’ original keyboardist Ian Stewart responded first, followed shortly thereafter by Mick Jagger and his childhood friend, Keith Richards.

In the book According to The Rolling Stones, Richards explains how Jones, in a moment of panic, came up with the band’s name the Rolling Stones. Richards said that while Jones was on the phone with a venue owner, “The voice on the other end of the line obviously said, ‘What are you called?’. The Best of Muddy Waters album was laying on the floor – and track five, side one was ‘Rollin’ Stone.’”

Untitled Jones

On July 12, 1962, the Rolling Stones performed their first show at the Marquee Club in London with Jagger, Richards, Jones, Stewart, Dick Taylor on bass and Tony Chapman on drums, according to “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Ultimate Guide to the Rolling Stones”. In the early years, the band members played the instruments they could afford, such as Richards’ Harmony Meteor and Jones’ Harmony Stratotone. During the band’s years with Bob Bonis serving as their U.S. Tour Manager, Jones was approached by British guitar maker Vox. The company asked him to promote its two-pickup MK III guitar, and with its unique teardrop shape, the instrument quickly become as iconic as the band itself.

In the early years of the Rolling Stones, Jones used his influence as a multi-instrumental musician to help shape the band’s core sound. In a 2013 interview with Q107 Toronto, Richards recalled how what he calls “guitar weaving” was created during this period. He said, “We listened to the teamwork, trying to work out what was going on in those records; how you could play together with two guitars and make it sound like four or five.” The layered rhythms of the duo’s guitars would become signature to the band’s sound, and Jones’ ability to play multiple instruments is best displayed on the albums Aftermath (1966), Between the Buttons (1967), and Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967).

Despite his innate talent, however, Jones began feeling alienated from the group as the charisma of Jagger’s stage presence, combined with Richards’ and Jagger’s songwriting abilities, precipitated his eventual departure from the band. Jones’ managerial duties were also changing, further displacing him from another role. As his role in the band continued to diminish, so did his health as he sought the solace of drugs and alcohol.

Speaking of Jones, Wyman told the Los Angeles Daily News that “[Jones] formed the band, he chose the members. He named the band. He chose the music we played. He got us gigs … he was very influential, very important, and then slowly lost it – highly intelligent – and just kind of wasted it and blew it all away.”

Tragically, Jones struggled to bear the weight of legal troubles, estrangement from his bandmates, substance abuse and mood swings, making him unable to maintain an active role in the band. Jones was asked to leave the band that he helped create, and officially left on June 8, 1969. Less than one month later, on July 3, 1969, Jones was found dead in the swimming pool at his home in East Sussex, England. His death was ruled accidental. Like his contemporaries such as Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix, he died at the age of 27.

Bob Bonis was fortunate enough to know Jones while working with the Rolling Stones as U.S. Tour Manager for the band’s first five trips (as well as all of The Beatles’ U.S. tours) to the United States from 1964 through 1966. During his time with the band Bonis was in the unique position to capture some of the most candid and profound moments with his Leica M3 camera always at the ready.

Bonis captured many moments of Jones both by himself and with the band. These photographs are now available for the first time through The Bob Bonis Archive at BobBonis.com. Each photograph is released in strictly limited editions and is hand numbered, estate embossed, and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from The GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. Live.

The world wouldn’t be the same today without Brian Jones and the work he did to make the Rolling Stones into the rock-n-roll powerhouse they are today. Despite the tragic end to this young musician’s life, his work and influence on the world of music will never be forgotten.

Brian Jones, we hear hear you still, and always will.