Anniversary of the Death of The Sixth Rolling Stone

12/12/2011
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(Gibson) On this day in 1985, Scottish keyboard player Ian Stewart died of a heart attack in his doctor's Harley Street waiting room in London. He was a co-founder of The Rolling Stones (Stewart was the first to respond to Brian Jones's advertisement in Jazz News). Stewart was dismissed from the lineup by the band's manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, in 1963 but remained as road manager and piano player. He played on all The Rolling Stones albums between 1964 and 1983, except for Beggar's Banquet. He also played piano on Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" and "Boogie with Stu." Gibson looks back:

Ian Stewart didn't look like a Rolling Stone. That was both a curse and a blessing for the Scottish-born boogie pianist, who more resembled Jay Leno than a rock star. And so, despite the fact that he was one of the founders of The Rolling Stones and one of the best boogie pianists the London scene had ever known, he was asked to step off the stage and into a more subordinate role by Stones management in 1963, just before the group signed their record deal and vaulted shortly thereafter into a freight-train career that would eventually see them hailed as "The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World." Stu, as he was known, simply didn't look the part.

Ian Stewart was born in Fife, Scotland on July 18, 1938. By the age of six, he had found his home on the piano. A big fan of jazz and blues, Stewart developed a rollicking boogie-woogie style that perfectly fitted Brian Jones' plans, when the young guitarist posted an ad in the Jazz News in May 1962, seeking likeminded musicians to form a blues band in London. Stewart was actually the first musician to respond to the ad, with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards joining a few weeks later. By July, the rest of the outfit had been fleshed out and the band was gigging. more on this story

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