The Rolling Stones' Ron Wood

Guitarist Ron Wood, who has been with the Rolling Stones since 1975, was well-known

before his stint with Mick Jagger and company. In his pre-Stones days, he was a key

member of the Jeff Beck Group and the Faces.

Wood was born 52 years ago today in Hillingdon, England. He played in feedback-heavy

British band the Creation before joining the Jeff Beck Group as bassist. Playing with Beck,

Wood met singer Rod Stewart, who was the band's vocalist for a while.

When guitarist/singer Steve Marriott left the mod-pop group Small Faces in 1969, the

remaining bandmembers recruited Wood and Stewart. With the pair's addition, the Small

Faces became the Faces; the "small" was reportedly dropped because Wood and Stewart

are tall.

The Faces evolved into a sloppy rock band, losing much of their psychedelic,

singles-oriented tendencies. The new band delved into rock 'n' roll, blues and folk with equal agility.

The band toured U.S. arenas frequently, due to Stewart's burgeoning solo popularity, and

had hits with the top-20 "Stay With Me" in 1971 and the top-50 "Cindy Incidentally" in 1973.

But Stewart's solo career beckoned, causing the Faces to split. Their last LP was 1973's

Ooh La La and the band left a legacy of rough-and-loose musicianship that influenced

many future rock groups.

Wood joined the Rolling Stones for their 1975 tour and made his first recorded appearance

with the band on its Black and Blue (1976). His chemistry with guitarist Keith Richards

was immediate and obvious -- the two played in a similar style and loved to party. Wood fit

the Stones' bad-boy image better than departing guitarist Mick Taylor had, though Wood's

playing was not as flashy or intricate. Wood was even credited with co-writing a few Stones

songs, including "Dance, Part 1" from Emotional Rescue.

Wood was part of the Stones' hugely successful Some Girls (1978) and played with

Richards in the side band the New Barbarians. He also was present for the start of the

Stones' massive stadium tours, beginning behind Tattoo You, which contained the #2

"Start Me Up."

As Jagger and Richards bickered throughout much of the '80s, Wood stayed with the band.

But he also painted and exhibited his works throughout the world.

Wood's solo LPs include his debut, 1974's I've Got My Own Album to Do; 1979's

Gimme Some Neck (including Bob Dylan's "Seven Days"); and 1992's Slide on

This. He's also made albums with the likes of the Small Faces' Ronnie Lane and Bo


Wood remained a Stone for the band's world tours behind Steel Wheels and

Voodoo Lounge. Bridges to Babylon (1997), featuring such cuts as "Flip the

Switch" (RealAudio excerpt) spawned

another successful tour, which was documented on No Security (1998). That live LP

itself was promoted with a 1999 U.S. tour.

Other birthdays: Pat Boone, 65; Graham Russell (Air Supply), 49; Alan Wilder (Depeche

Mode), 40; Simon Gallup (the Cure), 39; Mike Joyce (the Smiths, Adult Net), 36; Jason

Donovan, 31; and Alanis Morissette, 25.