x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Required Reading: The Rolling Stones

As The Rolling Stones celebrate their 50th anniversary, what better time to get stuck into some reads about the band's epic journey to musical superstardom?

It's 50 years now since a young blues band stepped on to the stage for the first time at the Marquee Club on London's Oxford Street. That band was The Rolling Stones, who - rumour has it - are on the verge of announcing major London and New York gigs to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

It's been a five-decade trip that's taken Mick Jagger et al from rock 'n' roll beatniks to legends of the 1960s pop culture revolution. What better time, then, to reflect on the journey?

• Mick Jagger was 19 when the Stones struck up their first song at the Marquee Club in 1962. Turn to Stephen Davis's sweeping history Old Gods Almost Dead (Arum Press, Dh93) to learn how Jagger and Keith Richards started playing R&B after bumping into one another at Dartford train station.

• Initially playing covers, Jagger and Richards quickly realised that major success meant writing their own songs. Bill Wyman's Stone Alone (Da Capo Press, Dh81) draws heavily on the journals he kept at the time for its portrait of the band's chaotic rise towards international fame. I Can't Get No Satisfaction reached number one in the UK and US in 1965.

• An avalanche of drink, drugs and groupies ensued. Read Brian Jones (Piatkus, Dh58) by Laura Jackson to remember Jones's tragic fate. A founding member of the band, addiction and acrimony saw him ejected in 1969. He died weeks later, drowning in his swimming pool. How different, though, the fate of the band's other great chemical enthusiast? Find out how Keith Richards survived 50 years of late nights in his autobiography Life (Phoenix, Dh52). The world, and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise owners, are grateful that he did.

• Meanwhile, The Rolling Stones 50 (Thames & Hudson, Dh175) is a glossy coffee-table archive of the best, and some previously unseen, Stones photographs from across the past five decades. Perfect if you wish you'd been there; or if you were there, but can't for the life of you remember it.

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