The musician co-founded the Rolling Stones in 1962 but was dismissed from the band in 1963 by their manager Andrew Loog Oldham
Remembering Ian Stewart, the forgotten Rolling Stone on his birthday
He was an original Rolling Stone, but Ian Stewart’s name still remains much in the shadow despite co-founding the band and playing piano, organ, electric piano and/or percussion in most of the Rolling Stones albums released between 1964 and 1985. Ian Stewart was born in Pittenweem, Fife, Scotland on July 18, 1938 and he was the first to respond to Brian Jones’s advertisement in Jazz News of 2 May 1962 seeking musicians to form a rhythm & blues group. In fact, it can be said Brian Jones and Ian Stewart were the original Stones. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards only joined in June, with Dick Taylor on bass and Mick Avory on drums, playing their first gig under the name the Rollin’ Stones at the Marquee Club on 12 July 1962. But in 1963, the Stones controversial manager Andrew Loog Oldham felt Stewart should be dismissed from the band and should no longer be on stage, claiming that six members were too many for a popular group and that the older, burly, and square-jawed Stewart did not fit the image (despite bassist Bill Wyman being actually the oldest member of the band). Ian Stewart still contributed to all the bands albums except for “Their Satanic Majesties Request”, “Beggars Banquet”, and “Some Girls”. Among some of the songs Stewart recorded with the Stones are “Let It Bleed”, “Honky Tonk Women”, “Time Is On My Side” , “My Obsession”, “Brown Sugar” and “Dead Flowers”. He was also a touring member of the band but remained aloof from the band’s drug abuse and partying lifestyle. Ian Stewart also worked with other artists, notably with Led Zeppelin in the songs “Rock and Roll” from “Led Zeppelin IV” and “Boogie with Stu” from “Physical Graffiti”. In 1985 after finishing recording the Stones album “Dirty Work” Stewart began having respiratory problems, and on December 12 he went to a clinic to have the problem examined, but he suffered a heart attack and died in the waiting room at age 47. Ian Stewart was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with the rest of the band in 1989 and the Rolling Stones always praised his importance in the band’s history and music.
Watch some studio footage of Ian Stewart with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in 1969 mixing “Litlle Queenie”
Also watch: a tribute to Ian Stewart
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