On April 16, 1964, rock and roll changed forever. That was the day the Rolling Stones released their first album, The Rolling Stones, which turns 50 years old this year. The band recorded the 12-song LP in London in January and February of 1964. It mostly consists of covers of classic R&B songs. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have just one writing credit on the record, for "Tell Me (You're Coming Back)," buried deep on side 2 — although two of the songs were written by the group, and credited to the pseudonym Nanker Phelge (which, when you think about it, couldn't have been anything other than a fake name).
The album stood out for its ambitious cover, which features a shadowy portrait of the band in profile, with no name or title anywhere. The only text is the name of the record company, Decca. The design was more than a little unusual at the time. Of course, that didn't stop people from buying it. The album reached Number 1 on the U.K. chart, and stayed there for 12 weeks.
The Rolling Stones was released in the United States on May 30, 1964, this time featuring text on the cover (including the subtitled "England's Newest Hitmakers"), and with "Not Fade Away" in place of "Mona (I Need You Baby)." It reached Number 11 on the U.S. chart — the only Stones album that didn't make it to the top five.
In celebration of a great album (and an even better band), here are a few clips of the Stones performing tracks off their first record: