The Rolling Stones’ third longest-serving member is British rock legend Ronnie Wood, although his career goes well beyond the band.
Ronnie Wood first established himself as a guitarist in the Jeff Beck Group before starting Faces, a Small Faces spinoff with Rod Steward on vocals, in 1976, before he joined the classic rockers.
In his late teens, as he carved out his own path to success in the London rock scene, Wood idolized the Rolling Stones.
Wood once remarked in an interview with NME with pride, “I was going to be in that band one way or another, and I would broadcast the fact. I thought it looked like a good job – and it turns out that it is. It goes to show you can set your sights on something and get it if you think big and put in the work.”
Wood, who had been Mick Taylor’s close buddy since the early 1960s, grew close to the group in the early ’70s.
Wood purchased The Wick, a Grade I listed Georgian home in Richmond, in 1971 and used it to organize lavish parties for the top rock stars of the day.
Ronnie’s ideal job appeared to be within reach when Keith Richards decided to spend several months living in the property’s coach house between 1973 and 1974.
1973 saw the start of Wood’s first solo record, I’ve Got My Own Record to Do, while Richards was visiting.
The title was a jab at Stewart, who at the time had started to focus more on his own solo career and had neglected the Faces as a result.
In Jagger’s lyrics, “Well it’s been a long time since I’ve seen you/You’re looking good/Can’t begin to tell how much I’ve missed you/ I wish I could/ But I like what you’re wearing for me/ And I could do things for a little bit of your sympathy.”
Additionally, Jagger and Richards are given credit for ‘Sure the One You Need’ as part of a more collaborative effort.
Harrison, a former Beatle, penned “Far East Man” with Wood. Later in 1974, Harrison re-recorded the song for his fifth solo album, Dark Horse.
However, there was some direction in the Stones and Wood’s early musical collaboration. When the band’s 1974 album Goat’s Head Soup was being written, Jagger and Richards invited Wood to co-write the song “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It),” which would later serve as the album’s lead single.
David Bowie provided the backing vocals for the UK top-ten song, which was recorded at The Wick in just one night. Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts were replaced by Willie Weeks and Kenney Jones, respectively.
The final Stones album to include Taylor as Keith Richards’ bandmate was It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll. Taylor attributes his decision to leave the band in large part to tensions between himself and the other members.
He told Mojo in 1997, “We used to fight and argue all the time. And one of the things I got angry about was that Mick had promised to give me some credit for some of the songs – and he didn’t. I believed I’d contributed enough. Let’s put it this way – without my contribution, those songs would not have existed. There’s not many but enough, things like ‘Sway’ and ‘Moonlight Mile’ on Sticky Fingers and a couple of others.”
Wood was hired to work on Black and Blue after Taylor left in December 1974, but he had Faces obligations to fulfill.
Before the Faces split up in December of 1975, he toured North America with the Stones. On April 23, 1976, he was formally welcomed as a Rolling Stone.