Meet the ORIGINAL Rolling Stones — from Mississippi!

They were from Starkville, actually. Home of Mississippi State University. The alma mater of quite a few Memphians  — which gives me an excuse to write about that here. Yes, I know, it's a stretch. But pay attention anyway.

Now, everybody on earth has heard of that little band in England, formed in 1962 by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. They named their group "The Rolling Stones" after the title of a Muddy Waters record they admired, though he preferred to spell it Rollin'.

But, as you can see from this photo published way back in the 1958 edition of the Reveille, the yearbook of Mississippi State College, as it was known then, a high-energy rock-and-roll group called — yep, the Rolling Stones — played at parties in the Starkville area. The group had an interesting lineup — a pair of guitarists (one armed with a Fender Stratocaster, another with a Telecaster), a drummer, a pianist, and a stand-up bass player who apparently decided that he didn't need to actually "stand up" to play his instrument. No microphones in sight, so it's hard to say who the singer was. Heck, with all this going on, maybe they didn't need one.

I have no idea who these guys' names are, and I do wonder what happened to them over the years. But with their catchy name, they were certainly ahead of their time, and their matching "mod" jackets even preceded what we would see the Beatles wearing about five or six years later.

Who knew Starkville, Mississippi, was so cutting-edge in the world of music? And what's really strange about this band? Not a cowbell in sight!

Reader Comments:
Jun 5, 2011 10:01 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

I have no idea who these guys' names are, and I do wonder what happened to them over the years.

Well, here ya go, Vance. :-)

Jun 5, 2011 10:56 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Interesting pic here, don't know if the drum logo is photoshopped:

Jun 6, 2011 08:32 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

OK VMan. as a longtime reader of your work from Jackson, tn. I am going to lay the real skinny on the Rolling Stones on you so deep even you will get the bends resurfacing. Forget about Andy Anderson...the Stones DID produce a music legend. His name was James Aldridge. He was the piano picker. In about 1962 he moved to Smashville to try it on his own. he had been the Stones lead singer. After hustling around the city he hooked up with Buddy Killen at Tree Publishing as a demo singer. One day a short haired, three piece suited budding songwriter named Willie Nelson came in to get a demo cut. James Aldridge did the demo. it was so brilliant Killen said we got us a record here. They cut it in two takes. They changed Aldridge's name to Jimmy Elledge and released it. The song was 'Funny How Time Slips Away' and it remains the definitive version of that incredible song after being cut more than a 1,000 times. Get it from itunes and revel in its magnificence. Jimmy Elledge is the REAL legacy of The Rolling Stones.

Jun 7, 2011 03:50 pm
 Posted by  Vance Lauderdale

Thanks to all for the wonderful information. On one hand, I was wondering if this band was some "flash in the pan." On the other hand, they were playing rather high-quality instruments (can you imagine how much a 1958 Strat would sell for today?) so maybe they deserved better than just playing for fraternity parties. I'm glad to hear that some of them, at least, went on to bigger and better things.

Oct 26, 2012 06:23 pm
 Posted by  ellisbgood

I was at Missippy State in 1956 and sold an electric steel guitar to a group called the Rolling Stones, but I never did hear them play.
I wonder if the piano player James Aldridge aka Jimmy Elledge could possibly have been the guy from down around Meridian, Ms that won the MS State FFA Championship as a solo musician in about 1949. I was there on a high school FFA trip and heard him play piano and sing a song he wrote named, "Gonna Join The Ku Klux Klan" which rally brought the house down.

Jul 14, 2013 09:55 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I actually met one of the original members from the Rolling Stones last night. Never knew until he told me. At first I really didn't believe it, then he started showing me pictures and told me stories. I was a little shocked when I knew he was really in it. He said it embarrassed him giving autographs and things, but that he had signed some nice boobs. Haha xD

Oct 8, 2013 04:31 pm
 Posted by  Johnny Rock

All the information that you are seeking is contained in the book "Classic Magnolia Rock-History of Original Mississippi Rock and Roll 1953-1970" by Johnny W. Sumrall Jr. He has articles currently on I hope this helps.

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Ask Vance is the blog of Vance Lauderdale, the award-winning columnist of Memphis magazine and MBQ: Inside Memphis Business.  Vance is the author of three books: Ask Vance: The Best Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History and Trivia Expert (2003), as well as Ask Vance: More Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History Expert (2011) and Vance Lauderdale's Lost Memphis (2013). He is also the recipient of quite a few nice awards, the creator of several eye-catching wall calendars, and the only person we know with a vintage shock-treatment machine in his den. 

You can find him from time to time in the pages of the Memphis Flyer and MBQ, on WKNO television, and on Facebook. When he is not exploring the highways and byways of Memphis, he spends his time sleeping, napping, and dozing.

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