Rolling Stones Gather at Marquee Club to Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Their First Show

Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood return for a photo op at the London venue where it all began as the band marks a half-century of rock history.
From left: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts

A half-century ago tomorrow, The Rolling Stones took the stage for the first time. And the Glimmer Twins and company have returned to the scene of the crime.

Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood posed this week for veteran rock photographer Rankin in front of London's Marquee Club to mark the 50th anniversary of their inaugural gig at the Oxford Street venue on July 12, 1962. The photo marks the first time the quartet has been shot together since the 2008 premiere of Martin Scorsese's Stones doc Shine a Light.

Among the happenings to mark the band's silver jubilee are a career-retrospective photo exhibit opening Thursday at Somerset House in London, which the band is scheduled to attend, and the U.K. release the same day of Rolling Stones 50, a coffee-table book chronicling the Stones' legacy. (Hyperion will issue the book stateside in October.) A still-untitled new documentary on the legendary group, directed by Brett Morgan, is due in November.

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All of which begs the question: Are they gonna tour?

Nothing is official yet, but Richards is dropping hints. "We're playing around with the idea and had a couple of rehearsals," he told the BBC. "We've got together, and it feels so good." Fine, but will that lead to them hitting the road? "There's things in the works; I think it's definitely happening," the 68-year-old guitarist added. "But when? I can't say yet."

OK, Keith, how about a new record? In March, he told Rolling Stone: ""We'll just get the boys back together again then and maybe cut a side. I've got plenty in the locker here, but it's not on tape." A few weeks later, guitarist Wood -- who has played with the Stones since 1975 -- said that the group planned to go into the recording studio "to just throw some ideas around [and] get the feel again." But that apparently was premature, and Wood soon backed off and apologized to his bandmates for jumping the gun.

Of the new book -- which features performance and news photos along with contact sheets, negative strips, outtakes and more -- the band said in a statement: "This is our story of 50 fantastic years. We started out as a blues band playing the clubs, and more recently we've filled the largest stadiums in the world with the kind of show that none of us could have imagined all those years ago."

Jagger hosted and performed on the season finale of Saturday Night Live in May, but The Stones haven't played a concert in five years. Their most recent tour, supporting the album A Bigger Bang, grossed more than $558 million over 144 shows from 2005-07. Seen by about 4.7 million people, it was the top-grossing concert trek of all time before being surpassed by U2's recent 360 tour.