The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in London in April 1962 by guitarist and harmonica player Brian Jones, pianist Ian Stewart, vocalist Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards. Bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts completed the early lineup. Rhythm and blues cover songs dominated The Rolling Stones' early material; they are credited for raising the international regard for the more primitive blues typified by Chess Records' artists such as Muddy Waters who wrote "Rollin' Stone", the song after which the band is named. Unconcerned with being authentic blues stylists, from the start the Rolling Stones have played rock and roll, and have written and recorded in many genres.
Though Jones initially led the band, Jagger and Richards took over after teaming as the band's songwriters. By 1969 Jones contributed minimally to recording, was legally barred from touring the United States, and was in failing health. By mutual agreement Jones left the band, and Mick Taylor became his replacement. Weeks after leaving the band, Jones drowned. Taylor left in 1974 and was replaced by Ronnie Wood. Wyman left in 1990, and his replacement Darryl Jones became the primary bassist, but he is not a full member. Stewart was taken from the official lineup in 1963 to continue as the band's road manager and occasional keyboardist until his death in 1985. Chuck Leavell has been the primary keyboardist for the band.
After gaining popularity in Europe, The Rolling Stones became successful in North America during the so-called British Invasion of the mid 1960s. They have released 22 studio albums in the United Kingdom (24 in the United States), eight concert albums (nine in the US) and numerous compilations; their worldwide sales are estimated at more than 200 million albums.Sticky Fingers (1971) began a string of eight consecutive studio albums reaching number one in the United States. Their most recent album of entirely new material, A Bigger Bang, was released in 2005. In 1989 the Rolling Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2004 they ranked number 4 in Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. In 2008, Billboard magazine ranked the Rolling Stones at number ten on "The Billboard Hot 100 Top All-Time Artists", and as the second most successful group in the Billboard Hot 100 chart.