The Rolling Stones are not just the world’s greatest rock ‘n, roll band, they also are its most well-documented. That’s not just a mattter of longevity (52 years and counting). The Stones recognized the power of the camera right from the start: the U.K. cover of their first album, 1964’s England’s Newest Hitmakers, was a shadow-filled portrait of the band without a word on it. No album title or band name — the Stones counted on the picture to tell the story, and it did: long hair (that would get longer), Mick Jagger‘s pout (that would get poutier) and a hint of a snarl from Keith Richards (which, needless to say, would become much more than a hint). This wasn’t just another album from another band; it was a challenge to follow a way of life embodied in the music, full of freedom, glamour and menace.
Throughout their career, the Rolling Stones courted the attention of great photographers to tell this story, from fashion shooters like David Bailey, Cecil Beaton and Helmut Newton and museum artists like Andy Warhol and Robert Frank to the magazine photographers who shaped the iconography of rock’n’roll, like Jim Marshall, Ethan Russell, Annie Leibovitz and Anton Corbijn.These and more are collected in a 518-page book from Taschen, titled simply The Rolling Stones and available in December in limited editions for $10,000 and $5,000 (a general edition goes for $150). The photos excerpted here range from 1965 to 1992; the band members start out as young musicians eager to come to terms with the sensation they cause and quickly grow into superstars manipulating their adoring audience and the media. Check out the gallery below.
Jean-Marie Perier/Courtesy of Taschen Books
This article first appeared in the Nov. 22 issue of Billboard.