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The Rolling Stones

The collaboration between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, aided by wunderkind Brian Jones, has been productive in a way few rock ‘n’ roll partnerships can boast. From the first, the band was a raunchy, gritty doppelganger to the Beatles’ dandified Merseybeat pop. The Stones offered a heavier, bluesier sound than their British Invasion peers, taking cues from Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. Throughout their long career, the band’s greatest strength has been their ability to add stylistic touches drawn from Eastern music, psychedelia, country, and even disco to their blues-rock chassis. Listening to the trippy Their Satanic Majesties Request, the honky-tonk Exile On Main Street, and the clean modernist surfaces of Bridges to Babylon, it’s hard to believe they are all products of the same band. Then again, in some ways they aren’t: the lineup changes that dogged the Stones’ career account for much of their musical diversity. The two constants have always been Jagger’s famous slur and Richards’ sloppy guitar elegance, elements that make every Stones song instantly recognizable.