Ian Stewart (musician)


Ian Stewart (musician)

Infobox musical artist
Name = Ian Stewart (musician)


Img_capt =
Background = non_vocal_instrumentalist
Born = birth date|1938|7|18|mf=y
Died = death date and age|1985|12|12|1938|7|18
Origin = Pittenweem, Fife, Scotland
Instrument = Piano
Genre = Rock, Boogie-Woogie
Occupation = Keyboard Player
Tour Manager
Years_active = 1960s–1985
Label =
Associated_acts = Rolling Stones, Rocket 88
URL =

Ian AR Stewart (18 July 1938 – 12 December 1985) was a Scottish keyboardist and co-founding member of The Rolling Stones. In May 1963 Stewart was dismissed from the group's official line-up, but he remained with them in the capacity of road manager and piano player until his death.

Role in the Rolling Stones

Born in Pittenweem, Fife, Scotland, and raised in Sutton, Surrey, Stewart (who was often called Stu) started playing piano when he was about six years old. He also took up banjo, and played with various Sutton-area amateur groups on both instruments.cite book |last=Wyman |first=Bill |title=Rolling With the Stones |publisher=DK Publishing |year=2002 |id=ISBN 0-7894-9998-3 |pages=pg. 19] Stewart, who loved rhythm & blues, boogie-woogie and blues as well as big-band jazz, was the first person to respond to other co-founder Brian Jones's advertisement in "Jazz News" of 2 May 1962 seeking musicians interested in forming a rhythm & blues group.Wyman 2002. pg. 34–35] Mick Jagger and Keith Richards joined them in June, and the group (with Dick Taylor on bass and either Mick Avory or Tony Chapman on drums) played their first gig under the name The Rollin' Stones at the Marquee Club on 12 July 1962.Wyman 2002. pg. 36-37.] cite web |last =Zentgraf |first=Nico |title=The Complete Works of the Rolling Stones 1962-2008 |url=http://www.nzentgraf.de/books/tcw/works1.htm|accessdate=2008-02-23 | ] By January 1963, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts had also joined, replacing a series of off-and-on bassists and drummers.

Stewart had a regular job at Imperial Chemical Industries in addition to his work with the fledgling The Rolling Stones. None of the other band members had a telephone; Stewart said, " [My] desk at ICI was the headquarters of the Stones organisation. My number was advertised in "Jazz News" and I handled the Stones' bookings at work." He also bought a van to transport the group and their equipment to their gigs.Wyman 2002. pg. 45.]

In early May 1963, the band's new manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, informed The Rolling Stones that Stewart should no longer be part of the onstage line-up, saying that six members would be too many for a popular group and that Stewart's appearance didn't fit the band's image.cite book |last=Oldham |first=Andrew Loog |title=Stoned |publisher=St. Martin's Griffin |year=2000 |id=ISBN 0-312-27094-1 |pages=pg. 222] He proposed that Stewart could stay with the band as road manager, and could continue to play piano on recordings.

Stewart accepted this demotion. Keith Richards has said: " [Stu] might have realised that in the way it was going to have to be marketed, he would be out of sync, but that he could still be a vital part. I'd probably have said, 'Well, fuck you', but he said 'OK, I'll just drive you around.' That takes a big heart, but Stu had one of the largest hearts around."cite book |last=Jagger |first=Mick |coauthors=Richards, Keith; Watts, Charlie; Wood, Ronnie |title= According to the Rolling Stones |publisher= Chronicle Books |year=2003 |id=ISBN 0-8118-4060-3 |pages=pg. 62]

As The Rolling Stones' career started to take off, Stewart became the band's full-time road manager, loading the gear into his battered van, driving the group to their gigs, replacing frayed guitar strings and doggedly setting up Charlie Watts' drums the way he himself would play them. "I never ever swore at him," Watts says, with rueful amazement.Fact|date=March 2008 He also played piano (and occasionally organ) on most of the band's albums in the first decades of their career, as well as providing essential criticism. Shortly after Stewart's death Mick Jagger said: "Stu was the one guy we tried to please. We wanted his approval when we were writing or rehearsing a song. We'd want him to like it."Fact|date=March 2008

Stewart was only one of The Rolling Stones' keyboard players; Jack Nitzsche, Nicky Hopkins, Billy Preston and Ian McLagan are among the others who supplemented his keyboard work in the studio and on stage. In 1975 Stewart began to join the band on stage again, playing piano on numbers of his own choosing throughout The Rolling Stones' tours in 1975-76, 1978 and 1981-82. Stewart favoured blues and country rockers, and remained staunchly dedicated to roots music forms like boogie-woogie and early rhythm & blues. He refused to play in minor keys, saying: "When I'm on stage with the Stones and a minor chord comes along, I lift me hands in protest."Wyman 2002. pg. 482.]

Stewart remained aloof from the excesses of the band's lifestyle. "I think he looked upon it as a load of silliness," said guitarist Mick Taylor. "I also think it was because he saw what had happened to Brian. I could tell from the expression on his face when things started to get a bit crazy during the making of "Exile on Main Street". I think he found it very hard. We all did."Fact|date=March 2008

Stewart was an avid golfer, and as The Rolling Stones road manager he showed a strong preference for hotels with golf courses - much to the band's frustration. Richards recalls: "We'd be playing in some town where there's all these chicks, and they want to get laid and we want to lay them. But Stu would have booked us into some hotel about ten miles out of town. You'd wake up in the morning and there's the links. We’re bored to death looking for some action and Stu's playing Gleneagles."cite web |last=Connelly |first=Ray | |title=Stu |publisher=Out-take.co.uk |url=http://www.out-take.co.uk/ot/ray_connelly.php |accessdate=2008-03-23 |]

Other work

Stewart was an active keyboard player outside of his work with The Rolling Stones. He contributed to Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" from "Led Zeppelin IV" and "Boogie With Stu" from "Physical Graffiti", two numbers in the traditional rock & roll vein, both featuring Stu's intensely rhythmic boogie-woogie style. Another notable release was Howlin' Wolf's 1971 "London Sessions" album, an all-star recording featuring Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Klaus Voorman, Steve Winwood, and The Rolling Stones bandmates Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts in addition to Stewart.

Stewart also played with the commercially obscure back-to-the-roots band Rocket 88, a late-70s/early-80s venture which included Charlie Watts, Alexis Korner (the founding father of the British blues/trad jazz scene in the early sixties), Cream frontman Jack Bruce on stand-up acoustic bass, Bob Hall sharing piano duties with Stewart, and a horn and brass section taken from what he called "British Jazz Legends", including Colin Smith, John Picard, Dick Morrissey and Don Weller, among others. Though they only released one album (a concert disc recorded in Germany), Rocket 88 allowed Stewart to play the boogie-woogie music that he loved and championed.

Death and posthumous recognition

Stewart contributed to The Rolling Stones' 1983 album "Undercover", and was present during the 1985 recording sessions for "Dirty Work" (released in 1986). In early December 1985, Stewart began having respiratory problems. On 12 December he went to a clinic to have the problem examined; he suffered a heart attack and died while in the waiting room. [http://www.beggarsbanquetonline.com/decades.htm Accessed: 6 February 2007]

The Stones honoured their friend, road manager and piano player by playing a tribute gig for him with Rocket 88 in February 1986 at London's 100 Club, and by including a 30-second boogie-woogie piano solo played by Stewart at the end of the "Dirty Work" album.

When the Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, they requested that Stewart's name be included as a member of the band.

Basis for fictional detective Rebus

According to a Sunday Herald [http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4156/is_20060305/ai_n16180326 article] in March 2006, Ian Stewart was taken as the basis for a famous fictional detective:

Rankin has subsequently written the lyrics to a song recorded by Aidan Moffat & The Best-Of's about Ian Stewart. The song is titled "The Sixth Stone" and is the first official release by the new band of Aidan Moffat, formerly of Arab Strap. It is included on Chemikal Underground's "Ballads Of The Book" compilation, which has Scottish authors and poets writing lyrics for contemporary Scottish bands.

References


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