Ian Stewart (musician)

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Ian "Stu" Stewart (born July 18, 1938 in Pittenweem , Scotland , † December 12, 1985 in London ) was a British pianist and was one of the founding members of the Rolling Stones . Manager Andrew Loog Oldham arranged for him to be expelled from the group in 1963 because he found that his appearance did not suit the image of the band. Stewart, however, was a road manager and pianist for recordings and live performances until his death, still close to the Rolling Stones.


Ian Stewart on piano at a Rolling Stones concert; next to Billy Preston (1975)

After being expelled from the Rolling Stones, Stewart worked as an electrician - he was the only "Rolling Stone" with a completed professional training. When he had successfully completed his master craftsman's examination, the Rolling Stones gave him as a gift at the private master’s party the entire cost of starting an electrician business.

Ian Stewart influenced many Rolling Stones songs with his boogie style . The best example is probably their version of the Chuck Berry composition Around and Around from 1964. As a road manager, he played his part in the group's success. Occasionally he played with other groups, such as Led Zeppelin , where he is immortalized in the song Boogie with Stu , and with Ronnie Lane . On the tours USA 1975, Europe 1976 and USA 1981, Europe 1982 he also accompanied the Rolling Stones on the piano stage. His motto: "I have seen the first show and I will see the finish show".

In 1980 he formed the band Rocket 88 with Bob Hall . The name refers to the song of the same name by Pete Johnson from 1949, which is considered to be one of the first rock 'n' roll pieces. The only official release of the band is a live album, recorded in March 1981 with the Rolling Stones Mobile Unit in the Rotation Club, Hanover, released on Atlantic Records (SD 19293). Rocket 88 is considered more of a continued jam session with the Constants Hall and Stewart and numerous guests of British rhythm and blues than a regular band. The guest musicians included: Alexis Korner , George Green , the Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts , Jack Bruce , Danny Adler , Colin Smith , John Picard , Don Weller , Dick Morrissey , Colin Hodgkinson , Zoot Money , Chris Farlowe , Hal Singer , Mickey Waller , Pete York , Colin Smith , Dave Markee , Harvey Weston and Charlie Hart .

Ian Stewart died suddenly on December 12, 1985 of a heart attack.


Stewart had done a lot in the background for the "chemistry" at the Rolling Stones (especially between Jagger and Richards). After his death, rumors circulated that the band would break up.

“Very few people realized how important he was to the Stones.
He was the glue that held the whole thing together. "

“Few people realized how important he was to the Stones.
He was the glue that held the whole thing together. "

- Keith Richards, quoted from Bill Wyman

In memory of their recently deceased colleague, the Rolling Stones gave a concert at the 100 Club in London on February 23, 1986 together with guest musicians, including Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend .

On the Rolling Stones LP Dirty Work , released on February 25, 1986 in Paris, the music group gave their ex-member a special honor: the inside cover read: “This album is dedicated to Ian Stewart. Thanks Stu, for 25 years of boogie-woogie. “On page two of the LP there is a 20-second boogie after the last piece of music, played solo by Stewart on the piano, without naming the title. On the CD version, this is a separate track called Key to the Highway .

When they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, the Rolling Stones specifically asked that Ian Stewart's name be listed.

In April 2011, the British boogie-woogie pianist Ben Waters released the CD Boogie 4 Stu - A Tribute To Ian Stewart , a tribute to the late pianist, whom Waters regards as a musical role model. Various friends and colleagues of Stewart took part in the recording, including Jools Holland , former members of Rocket 88 as well as the Rolling Stones Charlie Watts , Keith Richards , Ron Wood , Mick Jagger and ex-Rolling Stone Bill Wyman . Ian Stewart himself can be heard on the last track of the CD with Rocket 88 at the 1984 Montreux Jazz Festival. The CD was advertised in advance with a concert entitled "Boogie For Stu", at which various musicians performed around the host band The ABC & D of Boogie Woogie with Charlie Watts, including Bill Wyman and Ron Wood, who were already on the album former Stones guitarist Mick Taylor . The proceeds from the sale of the album will be donated to the British Heart Foundation in memory of Stewart, who died of a heart attack. With this and other donations it would like to support research into the healing of heart diseases.


  • Bill Wyman: Rolling with the Stones . Dorling Kindersley Ltd., London 2002. ISBN 0-7513-4646-2 (English, band biography and documentation)

Web links

  • Bill German: Boogie With Stu. In: Beggars Banquet Online. Archived from the original on July 2, 2012 .;
  • Ian Stewart: Rocket 88. In: Alexis Korner's website. Archived from the original on March 27, 2002 .;

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Wyman: Rolling with the Stones , p. 482
  2. ^ Wyman: Rolling with the Stones , p. 483
  3. Ben Waters: Boogie 4 Stu - A Tribute To Ian Stewart . Eagle Records 2011, CD (with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, Dave Green , Jools Holland, PJ Harvey, Hamish Maxwell and others).
  4. Boogie4Stu - Narrated by Ben Waters. In: benwaters.org.uk. Archived from the original on October 22, 2011 ; Retrieved September 15, 2011 (English, Ben Waters website).
  5. Boogie 4 hours In: ronniewood.com. Retrieved May 9, 2011 (Ron Wood website).
  6. Boogie for Stu. In: bhf.org.uk. Archived from the original on May 15, 2011 ; accessed on September 15, 2011 (English, website of the British Heart Foundation).