Rolling Stones celebrates 50th anniversary of first gig

The Rolling Stones on Thursday celebrated the 50th anniversary of their first gig — played at London’s Marquee Jazz Club on instruments rented with borrowed money — amid feverish speculation about their next “live” performance which could see Mick Jagger (now 68) give a new twist to the words, “What a drag it is getting old”, he sang as a young man all those years ago.

As Jagger and three other surviving members of the famous band — Keith Richards, Ron Wood and Charlie Watts — came together at a photo exhibition in London documenting their career they confirmed that they had met up a few times for rehearsals and a “live return’’ was in the works, but nothing had been finalised yet.

“We're playing around with the idea and had a couple of rehearsals — we’ve got together lately and it feels so good. I think, soon! I think it’s definitely happening. But when? I can’t say yet,” said Richards.

Their last tour together, A Bigger Bang, earned more than half a billion dollars between 2005 and 2007 and was the highest-grossing tour of all times.

Nearly fifty years after they had their first hit with their 1963 cover of Chuck Berry's “Come On” , the Rolling Stones are still going strong — something that Jagger says he could not have imagined at the time, especially after The Beatles split.

“Groups in those days and singers didn’t really last very long. They weren’t supposed to last. It was supposed to be ephemeral. It was only really Elvis and The Beatles that were the biggest things that ever happened in pop music that I can remember. But even [Elvis] had lasted perhaps less than 10 years, so how could anyone really last?” he told the BBC.

Critics hailed their contribution to rock ‘n’ roll as “immeasurable’’. “They are a founding father of rock music as we know it. Other bands have tried and not pulled off that amount of sexiness, allied to a kind of street-fighting menace,” said music critic John Aizlewood.