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The Rolling Stones: How, Why and Where it all Began

By Alan Clayson

In The Rolling Stones: the Origin of the Species pop historian Clayson tracks the early years of each band member in witty, laconic style, tracing their boyhoods and school careers in different corners of post war Britain – from the stuffy Cheltenham of middle-class renegade Brian Jones to the historic meeting of Mick and Keith at Dartford train station. He traces the musical heroes who shaped their style with the expertise of a true aficionado – American artists like Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker – whose recordings they collected obsessively and who were unknown in Britain at the time.

He details the different characters who played with the band before the final line-up was formed; and how the ferocious charisma of the two Dartford boys, Mick and Keith, and the chemistry between them would come to eclipse the more fragile personality of Brian Jones, the band’s original founder, taking them on to become one of the most successful songwriting duos ever.

Fascinating both as a portrait of each individual member and of the genesis of one of rock’s most enduring acts, this is the most thorough and engaging account of the Stones’ formation and indeed of the emergence of youth/pop culture in the United Kingdom.

Noted rock critic and author Alan Clayson has written many books on music – including the best-sellers Backbeat – subject of a major film – an authorised biography of The Yardbirds, and the only English-language biography of Jacques Brel. He has written for journals as diverse as The Guardian, Record Collector, Mojo, Folk Roots, The Times, The Independent, and, as a teenager, the notorious SchoolkidsOz. He is also an acclaimed songwriter and performance artist, both solo and fronting the legendary Clayson and the Argonauts.

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