By the time the Rolling Stones began calling themselves “The World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band” in the late '60s, they had already staked out an impressive claim on the title.
As the self-consciously dangerous alternative to the bouncy Mersey beat of the Beatles in the British Invasion, the Stones had pioneered the gritty, hard-driving blues-based rock & roll that came to define hard rock. With assured front man Mick Jagger combining with the guitar talents of Keith Richards and Brian Jones, backed by the solid rhythm section of bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts, the Stones became the breakout band of the British blues scene, eclipsing many others.
The Stones had an impressive and prolific output of popular hits during the 1960’s with a string of songs which are considered classics and standards. The list would be too extensive to venture into, but is well acknowledged and needs no further documentation.
Over the course of their career, the Stones never really abandoned blues, but as soon as they reached mass popularity, they began experimenting musically. After a brief dalliance with psychedelia, the Stones re-emerged in the late '60s as a jaded, blues-soaked hard rock quintet. The Stones always flirted with the seedy side of rock & roll, and as the hippie dream began to break apart, they thrived in the new rock culture. It wasn't without difficulty, of course.