Now, the band's former bassist, Bill Wyman, is writing about their decades of making music.
Wyman tells The Early Show his new book, "Rolling With the Stones" is a comprehensive history of the band drawn from his personal diaries and photographs.
Wyman says he knew the former garage band would become to be much more when the band first arrived in America in 1964. "'Not Fade Away,' was about No. 84 on the Billboard Charts and um, nobody had heard of us. So, nobody came to the shows," recalls Wyman. "We'd went to these 10- to 12,000 stadiums and there'd be 350 people in them. The only two places where we had great crowds, as we'd always though, were San Bernadino, for some reason, and New York." He says New York was fabulous. But, the band thought they failed in America.
How wrong they were. The Rolling Stones (the band took their name from a Muddy Waters song called "Rollin' Stone Blues") are the longest running act in the history of rock music. There are roughly 300 books about the Rolling Stones published over the years, according to Wyman. He says he wanted to make "Rolling With the Stones" one of the better Stones book.
Wyman filled his book with over 3,000 illustrations, photographs, anecdotes, a map of the band's destinations and excerpts from his diaries.
The author explains that The Rolling Stones were, unintentionally, the alternative to the early, clean-cut Beatles. "We didn't have uniforms because we didn't have money," says Wyman. "[We} let our hair grow long because we couldn't afford barbers. It was all like accidental to really start with … we just continued with it, and then we just didn't agree with all the funny rules and regulations."
But the music was different too. The blues created by Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley influenced the Rolling Stones. The English kids were then able to take the music created in America's backyard and introduce the music to its kids.
"And they used to say, 'Where can we see Muddy Waters,' and all that," says Wyman. "And we used to say, 'Just go across the bridge,' when we were in Chicago.
"So we used to jump in taxis and zoom over and go in the first little shop and grab records and take them back."
The band's old bassist says he does not miss playing. "Well I did it for 31 years," says Wyman. "I wanted to something else. But I'm still very proud of my time with the band, obviously, and I'm very pleased that they're still succeeding and having great reviews and doing great shows."