The Rolling Stones
Few partnerships in rock 'n' roll have been as productive as the collaboration between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and of course having wunderkind Brian Jones along did nothing to hinder the Rolling Stones' popularity. From the get-go, the band played the raunchy, gritty doppelganger to the Beatles' dandified Merseybeat pop. They ventured a heavier, bluesier sound than their British Invasion counterparts, taking their cues from Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. The band's greatest strength, besides Charlie Watts, has always been their ability to add stylistic touches drawn from their interests in Eastern music, psychedelia, country and even disco to a blues rock chassis. It's difficult to listen to the trippy Their Satanic Majesties Request, the down-and-out honky-tonk of Exile On Main Street and the clean modernist surfaces of Bridges To Babylon and believe they were recorded by the same band. Of course, in some ways they weren't; the lineup changes that have dogged the Stones account for much of their musical diversity. Jagger's famous slur and Richards' sloppy guitar elegance are the two constants in the band's many life cycles that make every Stones song instantly recognizable.