The Rolling Stones are an English rock band, formed in London in April 1962 by Brian Jones (guitars, harmonica), Ian Stewart (piano), Mick Jagger (vocals, harmonica) and Keith Richards (guitars). Bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts completed the early line-up. The Rolling Stones raised the international regard for the primitive blues typified by Chess Records’ artists such as Muddy Waters, who wrote the song Rollin’ Stone after which the band is named. R&B and blues cover songs dominated the Rolling Stones’ early material, but their repertoire has always included rock and roll. According to critic and musicologist Robert Palmer, the Rolling Stones have endured and stayed relevant by remaining “rooted in traditional verities, in rhythm-and-blues and soul music”, while “more ephemeral pop fashions have come and gone”.
Jones initially led the band, but after teaming as songwriters, Jagger and Richards assumed leadership. By 1969 Jones’ diminishing contributions to the band and his inability to tour the United States for legal and health reasons led to him leaving the band. Three weeks after his departure, Jones drowned. His immediate replacement Mick Taylor stayed with the band until 1974, and was replaced by Ronnie Wood. Wyman retired from the band in 1993, and his replacement Darryl Jones is not a full member. Stewart was taken from the official line-up in 1963 to continue as the band’s road manager and occasional keyboardist until his death in 1985. Since 1982, Chuck Leavell has been the band’s primary keyboardist. (extract from Wikipedia 2011)