Friday, October 25, 2013

How The Rolling Stones Band & Rolling Stones Magazine Got Their Names

Edited by Azizi Powell

There are lots of fanciful made up stories about how various bands, celebrities, and magazines got their names. However, the inspiration for the award winning British Rock group "The Rolling Stones" name and the highly regarded politics and popular culture magazine is well documented.


"Was Rolling Stone Magazine named after The Rolling Stones band?



Both Rolling Stone Magazine (founded 1967) and the Band, the Rolling Stones (Founded 1962), named themselves after the song Rollin' Stone, written recorded by Muddy Waters, in 1950.

Rolling Stone magazine started out as an Indy magazine meant for the hippie culture of the time (1960s). It actually had a political section in which Hunter S. Thompson wrote... Later on, it started to lean more toward writing for a younger demographic, hence the music, and pop culture."
Click for more information about Rolling Stones magazine.

"Rollin' Stone" is a blues song recorded by Muddy Waters in 1950. It is his interpretation of "Catfish Blues", a traditional blues that dates back to 1920s Mississippi.[5] "Rollin' Stone" has been recorded by a variety of artists and has been acknowledged by the Grammy Hall of Fame and Rolling Stone magazine, which is named after the song.[6] The Rolling Stones were also named after the song.[6]...

Earlier songs
In 1928, Jim Jackson recorded "Kansas City Blues Parts 3 and 4", a follow-up to his highly successful "Jim Jackson's Kansas City Blues Parts 1 and 2". Jackson's lyrics included:
I wished I was a catfish swimming down in the sea I'd have some good woman fishing after me ...

Several other early songs also explored variations on the catfish and/or fishing theme. In 1941, Tommy McClennan and his sometime partner Robert Petway each recorded versions of the song. Petway's was the first to be titled "Catfish Blues" and is sometimes cited as the basis for Muddy Waters' "Rollin' Stone".[7] However, according to one biographer "They'd been singing "Catfish Blues" for years in the Delta, but it never sounded like "Rollin' Stone".[8]

"Keith Richards and Mick Jagger were childhood friends and classmates in Dartford, Kent until the Jaggers moved to Wilmington.[1] Jagger had formed a garage band with Dick Taylor, mainly playing Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Howlin' Wolf and Bo Diddley songs.[1] Jagger became reacquainted with Keith Richards in 1960 at Dartford railway station.[2] The Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters records Jagger had in his hands revealed a mutual interest and prompted their musical partnership.[2][3] Richards joined Jagger and Taylor at frequent meetings at Jagger's house. The meetings switched to Taylor's house in late 1961, where the three were joined by Allen Etherington and Bob Beckwith. The five adopted the moniker the Blue Boys.[4]

Brian Jones had decided to start a band of his own, and placed an advertisement in Jazz News. Ian Stewart found a practice space and joined with Jones and to start a rhythm and blues band playing Chicago blues. Shortly thereafter, Jagger, Taylor and Richards left Blues Incorporated to join Jones and Stewart in their effort. Also at the first rehearsal were guitarist Geoff Bradford and vocalist Brian Knight, both of whom declined to join the band citing objections to playing the Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley songs preferred by Jagger and Richards.[6] In June 1962 the line-up was: Jagger, Jones, Richards, Stewart, Taylor, and drummer Tony Chapman. According to Richards, Jones christened the band during a phone call to Jazz News. When asked for a band name Jones saw a Muddy Waters LP lying on the floor of which one of the tracks was "Rollin' Stone".[7][8]"

Example #1: Muddy Waters - Rollin' Stone (Catfish Blues)

Antitodo2889, Uploaded on Jan 7, 2009

Well, I wish I was a catfish,
swimmin in a oh, deep, blue sea
I would have all you good lookin women,
fishin, fishin after me
Sure 'nough, a-after me
Sure 'nough, a-after me
Oh 'nough, oh 'nough, sure 'nough

I went to my baby's house,
and I sit down oh, on her steps.
She said, "Now, come on in now, Muddy
You know, my husband just now left
Sure 'nough, he just now left
Sure 'nough, he just now left"
Sure 'nough, oh well, oh well

Well, my mother told my father,
just before hmmm, I was born,
"I got a boy child's comin,
He's gonna be, he's gonna be a rollin stone,
Sure 'nough, he's a rollin stone
Sure 'nough, he's a rollin stone"
Oh well he's a, oh well he's a, oh well he's a

Well, I feel, yes I feel,
feel that a low down time ain't long
I'm gonna catch the first thing smokin,
back, back down the road I'm goin
Back down the road I'm goin
Back down the road I'm goin
Sure 'nough back, sure 'nough back
Click for "A Complete Song List of Titles Written by McKinley Morganfield"

Example #2: Muddy Waters Rollin'Stone - Newport1960

theo9593, Published on Apr 4, 2012

Visit Robert Petway - "Catfish Blues" for other links to other pancocojams posts in a series on recordings that are connected to the song "Catfish Blues".

The content of this post is presented for historical, cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Muddy Waters & the Rolling Stones for their musical legacies.

Thanks to all who are quoted in this post.

Visitor comments are welcome.


  1. What about Bob Dylan's song?

    1. Bob Dylan's song "Like a Rolling Stone" was recorded in 1965.

      That was fifteen years after Muddy Waters wrote and recorded the Blues song "Rollin' Stone".

  2. all the information on this page runs counter to every fact i've seen. The Rolling Stone magazine started in 1967 (two years after the Dylan song, 3 years after the Rolling Stones had over 10 hits in the U.S. , 3 of them being number one singles). Also at the MTV music awards in the mid-90s Jann Werner introduced the Rolling Stones and explicitly said "without the Rolling Stones we would have never had a name for our magazine".
    I'm not saying this is wrong but i'd like to see some sources or interviews because all the information on this website is way, way off based on easily available facts.

    1. Unknown, thanks for your comment.

      This pancocojams post quotes Wikipedia pages that cite their sources.