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!

Beatlemania Phenomenon Becomes Pandemic

Beat-le-ma-ni-a

(bēdlˈmānēə)

Noun

Definition — Extreme enthusiasm for The Beatles, as manifested in the frenzied behavior of their fans in the 1960s.

“The band took to spending weeks on end in the studio as a way of escaping from the mayhem of Beatlemania.”

When Scottish concert promoter Andi Lothian first booked The Beatles in January of 1963, fifteen people showed up. When he booked them again that October, local police were pleading with him to let them onstage early to appease the fans growing increasingly agitated.

He told The Guardian, “The girls were beginning to overwhelm us … It was absolute pandemonium. Girls fainting, screaming, wet seats. The whole hall went into some kind of state, almost like collective hypnotism. I’d never seen anything like it.”

The Beatles had since released their chart topping album and single, both titled Please Please Me. While the phenomenon had already sparked to life in the United Kingdom, it took a few well placed breaths to send Beatlemania across the pond.

Roots in History

The word mania was first used to describe fandom in 1844. As reported by The Guardian, German poet and essayist Heinrich Heine coined the term Lisztomania to describe the pandemonium that erupted from fans during performances by the piano virtuoso Franz Liszt.

Paul McCartney singing on stage at the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston, Texas, August 19, 1965.

Paul McCartney singing on stage at the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston, Texas, August 19, 1965.

Back then, the phrase also carried implications of mental illness. The word Beatlemania, though, carried no such connotations (despite its close association with overactive pituitary glands). Parents of Beatlemania-afflicted teens, however, definitely thought their children were hypnotized by a spell of strange music that caused transistor radios to become permanent fixtures to their ears.

The Beatles had already been introduced to the States with the songs “Please Please Me” and “From Me to You,” and the singles were both flops initially. This made the American branch of The Beatles’ record label apprehensive about promoting them domestically. Fate was on their side, however, and the Fab Four were about to catch a break.

According to History.com, American television host Ed Sullivan was walking through London’s Heathrow airport when he encountered hordes of ecstatic teens, eager to see The Beatles’ return from tour. Shortly after, Sullivan booked them on the Ed Sullivan Show. Prior to seeing the commotion in the airport, Sullivan had never heard of them. He suspected, though, that they could be “as big as Elvis.”

The Beatles in Technicolor

With a performance on the Ed Sullivan added to their agenda, the Beatles’ American record label agreed to back their upcoming album. The band had also gained exposure in the States after CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite reported on the Beatlemania phenomenon raging across the UK and parts of Europe.

After seeing one such newscast, 15-year-old Marsha Albert from Maryland wrote to her local radio station asking, “Why can’t we have music like that here in America?” After some digging, a radio DJ unearthed the unreleased single “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” reports History.com. The song was wildly popular and sent The Beatles’ record label into a frenzy as they worked to meet customer demand. The single sold 1 million copies in the span of a few days. The British Invasion had begun.

While there are varying accounts of who coined the term Beatlemania first, the word mania and its historical roots ensured it was only a matter of time before it would be used to describe the band whose popularity spread like wildfire. The phenomenon only needed to wait until the conditions were right to make that leap across the Atlantic successful.

Order Amidst the Craziness

Along with the Beatles, Bob Bonis also confronted the raging crowds of teenage girls while serving as their U.S. Tour Manager from 1964 to 1966 (as well as for the Rolling Stones’ first five stateside tours). Armed with his Leica M3 camera, he was able to capture The Beatles in moments of order, amidst the chaos and flurry of screaming fans.

These never before available photographs of The Beatles at the height of Beatlemania 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!

Paul McCartney and George Harrison perform at the Metropolitan Stadium in Blooming, Minnesota, August 21, 1965.

Paul McCartney and George Harrison perform at the Metropolitan Stadium in Blooming, Minnesota, August 21, 1965.

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.

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