In 1962 Mick Jagger was a bright, well-scrubbed boy (planning a career in the civil service), while Keith Richards was learning how to smoke and to swivel a six-shooter. Add the mercurial Brian Jones (who'd been effectively run out of Cheltenham for theft, multiple impregnations and playing blues guitar), the wryly opinionated Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts, and the potential was obvious.
During the 1960s and 70s the Rolling Stones were the polarising figures in Britain, admired in some quarters for their flamboyance, creativity and salacious lifestyles, and reviled elsewhere for the same reasons. Confidently expected never to reach 30, the band is now celebrating 60 years together with a European tour, Sixty, to mark the occasion. Of the original line-up, only Jagger and Richards remain, along with 'new boy' Ronnie Wood, who joined the band in 1975.
In The Rolling Stones, Christopher Sandford tells the human drama at the centre of the Rolling Stones story. Sandford has carried out interviews with those close to the Stones, family members (including Mick's parents), the group's fans and contemporaries - even examined their previously unreleased FBI files. Like no other book before The Rolling Stones makes sense of the rich brew of clever invention and opportunism, of talent, good fortune, insecurity, self-destructiveness, and of drugs, sex and other excess, that made the Stones who they are.