The Rolling Stones: In the Beginning
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The Rolling Stones: In the Beginning

by Bent Rej

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Praise for the hardcover edition:

"Captures the frenzy of the band's live performances and the lightheartedness behind the scenes . . . a real sense of their personalities."
-- Library Journal

"In this arresting book . . . are pictures that reveal the Stones on the cusp of greatness, scruffy legends in the making."
-- Movie Entertainment

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Praise for the hardcover edition:

"Captures the frenzy of the band's live performances and the lightheartedness behind the scenes . . . a real sense of their personalities."
-- Library Journal

"In this arresting book . . . are pictures that reveal the Stones on the cusp of greatness, scruffy legends in the making."
-- Movie Entertainment

The Rolling Stones: In the Beginning is the fascinating behind-the-scenes story of the band and the private lives of its members from the very beginning. Bent Rej, a photojournalist and close friend of the Rolling Stones, had unprecedented access to the band when they made their first European tour, staying with them in hotels and in their homes.

The book is organized chronologically with chapters devoted to each band member, including Brian
Jones, and covers the important periods in the band's early career. These photographs give rare insights into the Rolling Stones just before their star rose and their lives spun out of control on a wave of fame, drugs and failed marriages. Photographs range from candid and intimate to staged shots, each revealing the complex personalities of the band members.

This book provides remarkable insights for any fan of the Rolling Stones.

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Editorial Reviews

Montreal Gazette - Ian McGillis
There's a certain wistfulness in Rej's vivid photographic record of a time when the mere image of a Rolling Stone was a thrown gauntlet. On page after page in this sumptuous time capsule, we're shown a band looking like alien future beings dropped into an austere black-and-white world. ... The tension leaps off the pages of [this] amazing book.
Book News
Hidden away in photographer Rej's archives for 40 years, the photos in this book catch the Rolling Stones as they were making their transition from a British pop group with a few hits under their belts to becoming perhaps the most famous rock band on the planet. A friend of the band as well as a photographer, the author followed the Stones on their 1965 European tour and, subsequently, photographed them in other settings through much of 1966 (and, later, in 1970). Catching the band members in performance, in limos and hotel rooms, and at home, Rej's excellent photographs open the door to a period in the Stones' career that has not been particularly well documented, at least in terms of images. While this book will appeal to many readers, those who've read Keith Richards' recent autobiography will find it especially interesting.
Shelf Life
Say what you want about the Rolling Stones, but these bad boys of rock music have definitely withstood the test of time. Although now in the senior citizens category, they still can make music and work old-time and newer fans into a frenzy, listening to their biggest hits from the 1960s and beyond. In the Beginning is filled with classic photos of the band taken from a time when people were experiencing their music for the first time... All the photos were taken by Bent Rej, who shadowed the band wherever they went. The sheer volume of photos here is amazing... There are photos of the band members individually, or together, and yes they show Brian Jones, whose untimely death years later changed the dynamics of the band and their music. Rej really captures these bad boys' days to a tee, but there was still an innocence to the band, as they slowly created a rock and roll legacy second only to the Beatles. In the Beginning is a great nostalgic read for fans old and new, and shows us how the Stones conquered the world, one country at a time.
Publishers Weekly
In 1965, the Rolling Stones released their album Out of Our Heads, which included their hit "Satisfaction." During that time between spring of 1965 and summer of 1966 when the band had just gained worldwide attention, Danish photographer Rej was on the scene and granted unprecedented access to the band members as no other future photographer would be. In this book, Rej collects the shots he took of the very young, very hot band just as, Bill Wyman writes in his introduction, they "were able to buy good houses, great cars, and as Keith [Richards] said at the time, we were able to eat in places that our fans couldn't afford to." The book is filled with candid and staged photos both color and b&w of the band members with all the awkwardness of musicians in their early 20s who are "beginning to appreciate how very big we could become." The captions accompanying the photos some by Rej, others by the band members are alternately insightful and mundane. But they, along with the photos, warmly capture the band at this critical moment in their lives. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
While there are certainly many other similar anthologies (e.g., Gered Mankowitz's The Rolling Stones: Out of Their Heads), this lavishly oversized hardcover may live up to the praise by former bassist Bill Wyman in the foreword as "The finest single collection of Stones photographs I have ever seen." Encompassing live and behind-the-scenes shots from 1965–66, the images catch the group at a crucial period of transition from up and comers to worldwide stars. Rej befriended late guitarist Brian Jones on the band's first Scandinavian tour and later stayed with the group's founder in London. His camera captures the frenzy of the band's live performances and the lightheartedness behind the scenes. Some of the most intimate photos depict each of the band members at home: Charlie Watts's bohemian loft with his artist wife, Mick Jagger's hip urban pad, Jones's eccentric and lonely-seeming apartment, Wyman's country estate, and, perhaps most interesting, Keith Richards at the hotel he lived in at the time (too busy or absentminded, apparently, to find a place of his own!). In the end, readers get a real sense of their personalities. Recommended for larger public libraries and all music/art libraries.
—Dave Valencia
Globe and Mail - John Allemang
Beautifully intimate... You don't have to be a hopeless nostalgist to savour Rej's with-the-band shots from the days when the Stones could fit their entire stage show into a single van... These are the images of rock's idealism, what every garage band aspires to: hard-working musical dedication earning its righteous rewards.
Pages - Beth A. Fhaner
An extraordinary collection of over 300 photographs -- most of them never published before -- that illuminate a band on the brink of superstardom. This is a gorgeous book that no Stones fan will want to be without.
Ottawa Citizen - John Major
A sincere, somewhat innocent glimpse into each of their personalities... [Rej's] work is diverse in lighting and composition, allowing the aura of the mid-'60s to come through with the richness of tone that the era's films produced... a refreshing break from the usual overwritten rock pseudo-science books. The sheer magic captured in these photographs, particularly the breadth of context, does the impossible. It redefines what you think you've known about The Rolling Stones for 40 years. It is also a must-have for every Stones fan.
Calgary Sun - Chris Nelson
Through it all runs Brian Jones... In the beginning, it was his band, it was his look. Capturing that alone makes this project more than satisfactory.
Arkansas City Traveler - Carol Wright
A splendid book... Rej provides the blues and rock and roll audience with some of the most striking (and yes, loving) pictures of the Stones.
Newport News Daily Press - Mike Holtzclaw
Capture[s] the Stones when they were fresh-faced kids.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat - Marta Salu
Goodness, they were so young and beautiful then.
Globe and Mail
[Globe and Mail 2006 Holiday Gift Book selection] A sumptuous book ... pictures of the band onstage, backstage, their partners, pets and rented flats are beautifully presented.
Movie Entertainment - Peter Howell
In this arresting book...are pictures that reveal the Stones on the cusp of greatness, scruffy legends in the making.
300 extraordinary color and black-and-white photographs of the Stone... captures a special period early in the Stone's career.
Guelph Mercury
This patio slab of a book can be the perfect gift. ... Pop music fans who are now in their 50s will love this book... People in other age groups ... will also enjoy the book. Rej is ... a lively storyteller and his lengthy commentaries are worth a look.
London Free Press - John Kryk
Filled with [Rej's] outstanding photography... impressive. Few Stones books are so rich in photographic quality and quantity.
Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, CA) - Tony Hicks
An astounding array of gorgeous shots... a must-have for any real fan.
Ottawa Citizen - James MacGowan
A collection of rare photographs [from] before fame consumed them. The images are stark, many candid and many staged.

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Product Details

Firefly Books, Limited
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
7.90(w) x 9.70(h) x 0.80(d)

What People are saying about this

The finest single collection of Stones photographs I have ever seen.

Meet the Author

Bent Rej was born in Denmark and started working as a photographer for one of Denmark's leading newspapers in the early 1960s. Since then he has become a world-renowned fashion, advertising and floral photographer. He has contributed to several books.

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