The Rolling Stones kick off North American tour
The Rolling Stones kick off a North American "50 and Counting" tour in Los Angeles on Friday, marking the band's half century in the music business.
After 17 dates in the United States and Canada, the British band will perform in June at Glastonbury, Britain's largest music festival, and in London's Hyde Park in July.
Following are some facts about the band, which has recorded more than 20 studio albums, and which first used the name "Rollin' Stones" in 1962 at a performance in London's Marquee Club in London.
* Michael Philip Jagger, 69, was an avid fan of American blues artists like Muddy Waters and formed his first band in his teens. He won a place at the prestigious London School of Economics but admitted he didn't take it seriously. At London's Ealing Blues Club, Jagger met Brian Jones who was recruiting for a band he called the "Rollin' Stones" - the "g" was restored months later - after a Muddy Waters song. The band with the tweaked name, The Rolling Stones, released their first single in June 1963 and their debut album in 1964.
* The original line-up included Mick Jagger (vocals), Brian Jones (guitar, harmonica, vocals), Keith Richards (guitar, vocals), Ian "Stu" Stewart (piano), Dick Taylor (bass) and various drummers including Mick Avory (later of The Kinks) and Tony Chapman. Drummer Charlie Watts joined in 1963. Taylor left shortly after to return to art school, and later formed The Pretty Things. He was replaced by Bill Wyman. Jones, whose drug problems had begun to affect his ability to perform, drowned in his swimming pool in 1969.
* In 1965 the single "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" made the Stones into superstars on both sides of the Atlantic.
* A stream of hits followed, from the anarchic "19th Nervous Breakdown" and doom-laden "Paint It Black," to ballad "As Tears Go By."
* In 1967 Jagger and Richards were busted for drugs, cementing the band's outlaw image. Jagger was sentenced to three months in jail for amphetamine possession, and Richards to one year for permitting the use of cannabis in his home. The sentences were later quashed.
* In December 1969, the band played a free concert at the Altamont Speedway in California during which a young man was killed by members of the Hells Angels. Coming months after the Woodstock music festival, Altamont was called "the concert that ended the Sixties."
* In 2003, Jagger was knighted at a Buckingham Palace ceremony, becoming "Sir Michael Philip 'Mick' Jagger" for his services to popular music.
* The band's last major tour was the 2005-07 "A Bigger Bang," which went to more than 30 countries and grossed more than $550 million.
Sources: Reuters, http://www.musicstarx.net/, BBC, Rolling Stone magazine and The Guardian newspaper.