The Fifer at heart of Rolling Stones

John Murray
John Murray

John Murray on the Kingdom’s links to the great rock & roll band

With the sad news surrounding Mick Jagger’s long term girlfriend this week several Fifers have been recalling times they saw Mick in the Kingdom.

Back when the Stones would play the Caird Hall Dundee, he was sat in the cafe in Leuchars after seeing some motorbikes parked up outside.

As recent as 2003 Mick was again seen in the Crusoe Hotel for a half Guinness and crisps where he duly signed an autograph for the owner.

He had been in the East Neuk seeking the surviving relatives of the late Ian Stewart who was raised in Pittenweem.

Without Ian there would have been no Stones - it was his band, formed with guitarist Brian Jones.

Back at the birth of British R&B in 1961, ‘Stu’ as he was known would sit in on piano with drummer Charlie Watts at sessions by Alexis Korner at the Ealing Jazz Club.

Brian wanted to form his own band and Stu answered his ad in Jazz News.

Stu then invited his mate Mick to audition which he did but on the condition he could bring Keith Richards.

Playing boogie-woogie piano to Keith’s riffs they hit it off immediately and so began the legacy.

By July 1962 they still had no drummer or name for the combo until they landed a gig at the Marquee Club.

Needing a name, Brian looked at a Muddy Waters LP and said Rollin’ Stone – as so it was.

Nearly a year later PR man Andrew Loog Oldham saw them as his first signing.

His fashion sense dropped Stu - he didn’t fit the long hair thin boy image.

He would be on every album and tour though but missed the photo shoots.

Clean living Stu died of a heart attack aged just 47 and as a tribute plays out the Dirty Work album released 1986.

Bill Janovitz tells the stories in 50 Rolling Stones songs in his book Rocks Off (Polygon, £12.99).