The Little-Known Facts About The Rolling Stones' First Gig

Not many folks can say that they have witnessed rock and roll history during their lifetime. From the namesake of "Smoke on the Water" to Queen's 1985 Live Aid concert, only a handful of lucky rock fans can genuinely say that they have seen something game-changing. For the handful of attendees at the Marquee Club on London's Oxford Street on a summer day in 1962, bragging rights are deserved, as they were the first to see a little-known band play their tunes live for the very first time.

The Rolling Stones made their performance debut at the Marquee Club on July 12, 1962, according to Home BT, by pure accident. Revered rhythm and blues band Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated, boasting lead singer Mick Jagger, had booked a regular slot at the London club that night. It was a scheduling conflict –- namely the fact that the popular band was invited to perform on BBC's Jazz Club radio show on the same day without Jagger -– that propelled the singer to ask Marquee owner Harold Pendleton for a tiny favor:

Instead of performing with his usual group, Jagger wanted to debut his new six-piece group that night. Pendleton accepted, and the band was born.

Jagger's little helper

Per Rolling Stone, the band borrowed money from Jagger's dad to rent equipment for the debut show. Taking on the name of "The Rollin' Stones", borrowing the moniker from a Muddy Waters album, the line-up of the night consisted of would-be superstars Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones. The musicians were assisted with Ian Stewart on keys and Dick Taylor on bass, although it is disputed whether Tony Chapman or Mick Avory (of The Kinks' fame) took over drumming duties. In fact, Richards insisted in his 2010 memoir "Life" that Avory was on the roster.

The setlist is also somewhat controversial, but it has been largely accepted that songs by Chuck Berry, Jimmy Reed and Elmore James, among others, were played to the small audience. Richard also recalls playing tunes such as "Dust My Broom," "Confessin' the Blues" and "Got My Mojo Working" in his memoir.

"It is quite amazing when you think about it," Mick Jagger told Rolling Stone in 2012, reflecting on the 50th anniversary of the first gig. "But it was so long ago. Some of us are still here, but it's a very different group than the one that played 50 years ago."