In 1962 Mick Jagger was a bright, well-scrubbed boy (planning a career in the civil service), while Keith Richards was learning how to smoke and to swivel a six-shooter. Add the mercurial Brian Jones (who'd been effectively run out of Cheltenham for theft, multiple impregnations and playing blues guitar) and the wryly opinionated Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts, and the potential was obvious.
During the 1960s and 70s the Rolling Stones were the polarising figures in Britain, admired in some quarters for their flamboyance, creativity and salacious lifestyles, and reviled elsewhere for the same reasons. Confidently expected never to reach 30 they are now approaching their seventies and, in 2012, will have been together for 50 years.
In The Rolling Stones, Christopher Sandford tells the human drama at the centre of the Rolling Stones story. Sandford has carried out interviews with those close to the Stones, family members (including Mick's parents), the group's fans and contemporaries - even examined their previously unreleased FBI files.