Happy birthday Ronnie Wood!
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Born: June 1 1947 (Hillingdon, Middlesex, England)
*From the “The Rolling Stones A-Z” book (1984):
“Honest” Ron Wood/Woody/Ronnie is the Stones’ Stone—a favorite within and without the Rolling Stones, who has the distinction of being the only band member to be a rock star before being a Rolling Stone. Growing up with two musically motivated brothers, in a household where his father also was in a band, Ron started learning clarinet, drums, and washboard at an early age, making his debut on the last at the age of nine in his brothers’ skiffle band. He studied art and briefly worked as a sign painter while playing guitar in his early- to mid-sixties band, the Birds.
When they broke up, he joined the Jeff Beck Group on bass, and finally, in 1969, the Faces, where he found worldwide fame and fortune as lead guitarist. Ron was the Stones’ choice to replace guitarist Mick Taylor in 1975, but Ron was reluctant to leave the Faces, although he did accompany the Stones on their 1975 Tour of the Americas as a guest artist. In December 1975, upon Rod Stewart’s leaving the Faces, Ron left too, becoming the seventh “official” Stone and taking over Keith’s dreaded job as onstage foil to Mick. The rest is history…
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Few can claim to have had as stellar, or diverse, a career as Ronnie Wood.
A two-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (with the Rolling Stones and the Faces), he has played in some of the most influential rock groups of all time and guested with a who’s who of British music. At the same time, he’s enjoyed a remarkable parallel career as a highly regarded artist and, as a natural raconteur, has won a record three prestigious Sony Radio Personality awards.
Descending from a long line of travelling barge people, Ronnie grew up in a lively musical and artistic West London household. His father played in a harmonica orchestra, while older brothers Ted and Art were both accomplished musicians and graphic designers. With Ron showing creative flair at a young age, his brothers chipped in to buy him an acoustic guitar and at the age of 14, he purchased his first electric model.
Soon after, Ronnie embarked on his musical career when he joined local outfit The Birds, dropping out of Ealing Art College to focus on the band.
Signed to the Stones’ label, Decca, the group’s incendiary take on R & B made them a popular live act up and down the country. However, their popularity failed to translate into record sales and the group eventually parted ways.
1967 marked a career milestone when Ronnie joined the Jeff Beck Group as bassist.
With frontman Rod Stewart’s raw vocals, blues maverick Beck’s blazing guitar work and Ron’s instinctive bass lines, the Jeff Beck Group would write the blueprint for British hard rock. Despite an intense musical chemistry, band tensions often ran high and Ron briefly jumped ship to cult mod band, the Creation. Inevitably, the Jeff Beck Group would split for good in 1969 – just two weeks prior to a slot at Woodstock – but not before releasing two classic albums, wowing US audiences with their live performances and laying the groundwork for burgeoning rock acts like Led Zeppelin.
After a blink-and-you-miss it stint in Quiet Melon, with brother Art, fortune smiled again on Ronnie
After the departure of singer, Steve Marriott, the remaining three members of the Small Faces approached Ronnie and Rod with the offer of starting a new band. Renaming themselves the Faces, the band would inject a buccaneering rock-and-roll spirit into a dreary music scene, drawing huge audiences for their rollicking live shows and influencing a generation of punk musicians waiting in the wings. Back on 6 string, Ron helped pen some of the Faces’ finest and best known songs like ‘Ooh La La’ and ‘Stay With Me’, whilst also making major contributions to Rod Stewart’s first solo albums.
With a growing confidence in his abilities, Ronnie also released his own solo efforts during this time
With their unique, rough-hewn charm, I’ve Got My Own Album To Do (1974) and Now Look (1975) boasted a list of starry cameos, including George Harrison, Rod Stewart, Bobby Womack and future bandmates Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. These albums helped to reinforce Ron’s credentials as a first-rate musician and songwriter.
In 1975 fate would once again intervene for Ronnie. With the Faces finally falling apart at the same time as Mick Taylor’s departure from the Rolling Stones, a chance encounter with Mick Jagger at a party would lead to Ronnie finally landing his dream job as the Rolling Stones’ guitarist.
With his musical versatility and bonhomie, Ron proved a natural fit for the group and he’s long established himself as a vital part of the Rolling Stones sound. Keith Richards best describes his and Ron’s bluesy guitar interplay as, “the ancient art of weaving”, magically blurring the lines between rhythm and lead.
Even while a member of the Stones, Ronnie has continued to perform with a string of musical legends, ranging from Dylan to Bo Diddley. He formed the super-group the New Barbarians, featuring Keith Richards, former Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan, bassist Stanley Clarke, the Stones’ saxophonist Bobby Keys and drummer Joseph Zigaboo Modeliste from the Meters. He has also released a string of well-received solo albums.
Ronnie’s passion for painting is undiminished and he continues to to be an ever-in-demand artist.
(Ref. happy birthday ronnie wood)
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