Rolling Stones getting back together to celebrate 50th anniversary — with a commemorative photo book

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Fans have been waiting with bated breath for the Rolling Stones to announce plans for a gala 50th anniversary event. The hope, obviously, was for a tour. That hasn’t happened yet. But that doesn’t mean the band won’t be celebrating.

Band members have overseen a new 352-page photo book called The Rolling Stones: 50, by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood, which will hit stores on July 12 — the same day the group first took the stage at London’s Marquee Club in 1962.

“This is our story of 50 fantastic years,” Jagger, Richards, Wood and Watts said in a statement. “We started out as a blues band playing the clubs and more recently we’ve filled the largest stadiums in the world with the kind of show that none of us could have imagined all those years ago.”

Published by the UK’s Thames and Hudson, the publication reportedly will contain 700 illustrations, photographs and text by the band members. Many of the photos were taken from the archive of the Daily Mirror tabloid, which holds the largest newspaper collection of Stones photography. Also included are images taken by Philip Townsend, the photographer for the band’s first-ever shoot.

“Curated by us,” the band members said, “it features the very best photographs and ephemera from and beyond our archives.”

Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on the Rolling Stones. Click through the titles for more …

SOMETHING ELSE! SNEAK PEEK: FOUR SONGS FROM THE ROLLING STONES’ 1981 HAMPTON SHOW: he Rolling Stones have uploaded four songs to YouTube from their recently released archival live date in 1981 at Hampton Coliseum: “Black Limousine,” “Little T&A,” “She’s So Cold” and “Satisfaction.” Often bootlegged, but never officially released — until earlier this month — this Virginia concert had become something of a legend. If you were wondering what the fuss was about, or whether or not to download the show at ithe Rolling Stones Archives site, here’s your chance to indulge in some free samples.

ROLLING STONES – SOME GIRLS: LIVE IN TEXAS ’78 (2011): The full-on, balls-out Some Girls was perfectly uncluttered — no horn section, no guest stars like Billy Preston. That gives this subsequent live set from the summer of 1978 a chance to build off the record’s latent energy, rather than fruitlessly try to match it. Instead, this is a stripped-down wonder: no digital movie screens, no huge scaffolding for Mick Jagger to prance on, no big light show. Just a band playing.

ROLLING STONES – A BIGGER BANG (2005): I listened to A Bigger Bang expecting a lot of the generic glossy pop of their more recent output. Instead, the classic mid-period Stones sound is back. That sound is updated, for sure, and Mick’s voice is deeper. But Jagger’s swagger is back. Keith Richards (who actually sings with some effort on a few tracks) and Ronnie Wood are playing together as well as ever. And Charlie Watts can still lay down some mean rhythms. The results sound like the same band who put out Let It Bleed and Sticky Fingers, even if it’s not up to par with those classics. And at this point, that’s plenty good enough for me.

GIMME FIVE: ROLLING STONES IN THE 1990s: There was no reason to believe that the Rolling Stones, 30 years into their dangerously debauched rock career, would make anything worth a damn out of the 1990s. A band that made its name on skirt chasing and drug taking was softening into middle age. No one would have been surprised if the Stones simply ground to a halt. Only, they reformed in the wake of Richards’ successes with Talk Is Cheap, and by the middle part of the next decade, the Rolling Stones were in the midst of a small very-late career resurgence. Here are five arguments for continuing your Rolling Stones collection into the 1990s.

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