Believe it or not, these pleasant-looking young men with their well-groomed hair and smart Mod attire were once branded as ‘ugly’, ‘dirty’ and a threat to decent society.
It’s The Rolling Stones posing for their personal photographer Gered Mankowitz in 1966, when they were a rock band like the adult world had never seen – and wish it still hadn’t.
Stone concerts at the time were orgies of hysteria and destruction that the band itself seemed eager to whip up. On and offstage, they were the opposite of their arch rivals (and secret best friends), the charming and impeccably behaved Beatles. As the Fab Four smiled and bowed, the Stones hunched and frowned.
After fan magazines demanded pictures of The Rolling Stones in domesticity, they asked their friend Gered Mankowitz to do ‘At Home’ sessions. In the photo, Keith Richards was sitting on a toilet in his yard
Socially ambitious Mick Jagger lived in a flat on Baker Street with his then girlfriend, but bought Harley House, a prestigious Edwardian mansion in Marylebone, London.
Their hair was a national scandal, covering their ears, curling over the collars of their shirt, and widely believed to harbor pests – though it was always carefully shampooed, sometimes twice a day.
But what most disgusted and terrified British parents was the raw, bleak sex projected by young Mick Jagger in songs like Get Off Of My Cloud, 19th Nervous Breakdown and most importantly (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, which seemed nothing short of a hymn to self-abuse.
It was all hype, conceived by their brilliant manager Andrew Loog Oldham and wishing for what had been a rather serious blues band.
Oldham saw that The Beatles became too melodic and parent-friendly for some music fans, so he invented pop’s first antiheroes.
As struggling blues musicians, the main Stones – Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones – had lived together, often in misery. But by 1966, with some top ten hits behind them, everyone could afford their own ‘pad’.
The fan magazines demanded photos of them in their newfound homeliness and instead of letting in pushy press photographers, they asked their friend Mankowitz to do an ‘At Home’ session with each of them. He was on the Stones’ US tour in 1965, providing images for several of their album covers.
The socially ambitious Jagger had moved to Harley House, a prestigious Edwardian mansion in Marylebone, central London.
The surprise portrait was Watts in his backyard in Lewes, East Sussex, wearing a nondescript sweater and airing lingerie next to a drying rack.
Mankowitz’s lens caught him in an unusually vulnerable mode, standing in his lofty front hall, turning the knobs of his huge new TV set rather silly.
Richards – virtually silent in those days except on his guitar – had shown an unexpected rural tendency by purchasing an old world house called Redlands, near West Wittering, Sussex.
Mankowitz snapped him in his garden, seated funny on a disconnected toilet, enjoying a seclusion that sadly wouldn’t last.
A year later, a police force raided Redlands and arrested Richards and Jagger on tiny drug charges.
Afterwards, it was rumored that they had also found Marianne Faithfull, Jagger’s girlfriend, in the center of an orgy, naked except for a fur rug and unconventional using a Mars bar. A lie, but a legend to this day.
When photographed by Mankowitz, the blonde, angelic-looking Jones was a dominant presence in the band as a founder and namesake, and a brilliant musician who could pick up any instrument and get the hang of it right away.
Richards, who was virtually silent in those days, except on his guitar, had shown an unexpected rural tendency by purchasing an old world house called Redlands, near West Wittering, Sussex.
He was the only one who lived up to the image of the band. His drinking, drug use, and womanizing even left Mick at the starting gate.
However, the balance of power changed when Oldham forced Jagger and Richards to write songs together; a much more lucrative proposition than the previous R&B cover versions of the Stones.
Despite all his instrumental genius, Jones had no talent as a writer, so he was immediately demoted. Mankowitz – to whom he clung to as one of his few true friends – snapped him over to the flat just off Fulham Road where he lived with the stunning German / Italian model Anita Pallenberg.
Sexually ambivalent, he liked that Anita dressed him in her clothes and made him up. Perhaps she lent him the jeweled headband reminiscent of an Arabian Nights princess he chose for the session.
Worse things were in store for lead guitarist Jones. A year later, he lost Anita to Keith, sunk in drug addiction and paranoia, shrank into a non-entity in the Stones, and mysteriously drowned in his pool in 1969.
Bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts were older than the other three, and both married, so Mankowitz had to make do with the ordinary suburban homes they’d lived in for years. Wyman posed in his kitchen in Penge, South East London, with the family dog.
The blonde, angelic-looking Brian Jones was a dominant presence in the band as founder and namesake, and a brilliant musician who could master any instrument.
The surprise portrait was Watts in his backyard, dressed in a nondescript pullover and airing lingerie next to a drying rack.
The gritty drummer was normally so well groomed that even the one time he hit Jagger, because of the singer’s overbearing arrogance, he was dressed in a suit, with plenty of aftershave.
As it turns out, there was never a call at home for Mankowitz’s portfolio of the young Stones, and it stayed in a plastic bag under his desk for many years while shooting like Jimi Hendrix, Elton John, Kate Bush. and Duran Duran.
It’s a testament to the whimsicality of the music business.
Because who could have ever thought that the most unstable bands of the 1960s would still be going strong 54 years later, with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards still performing as Septuagenarians and national treasures, and yet somehow still seem cool?
GOIN ‘Home With The Rolling Stones ’66, by Gered Mankowitz, will be published by RAP in October for £ 19.95. © 2020 Rescued Mankowitz.
To order a copy for £ 15.96 visit mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3308 9193. Free shipping on orders over £ 15. Valid through September 11, 2020.