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50 Years Later, How Did The Rolling Stones Manage To Stay Together?

L-R Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Mick Jagger attend as The Rolling Stones celebrate their 50th anniversary with an exhibition at Somerset House on July 12, 2012 in London, England. (credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

L-R Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Mick Jagger attend as The Rolling Stones celebrate their 50th anniversary with an exhibition at Somerset House on July 12, 2012 in London, England. (credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — It’s not such a drag getting old when you’re The Rolling Stones, who are cerebrating a mind-blowing milestone.

Thursday marks 50 years after the group’s first live performance and the boys gathered in London to celebrate the unlikely accomplishment considering the band’s history.

WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot spoke with Star-Ledger music writer Tris McCall and asked — given that very few bands last more than a few years — how did the Stones manage to stay together all these years?

WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot Speaks With Music Writer Tris McCall

“Well, it seems like Jagger and Richards really understood each. And even at times when they weren’t getting along they knew what their strengths were,” McCall said.

McCall said he believes the key to the group’s longevity was their “grounding in the blues.”

LINK: The Rolling Stones Return To London’s Marquee Club On 50th Anniversary

“The blues taught them — really how to be economical. How to be concise. How to be epigrammatic. And you saw that both in the way they wrote their songs and the way they wrote their lyrics. They were always right to the point,” he said.

Cabot also asked whether luck had anything do with their success.

“How much of their success would be written off to luck given the fact that Keith Richards was a heroin addict and yet managed to stay alive?” asked Cabot.

“One of the funny things that he said was that he did a lot of drugs, but they were always great drugs. He was always able to afford the best drugs. And that was actually to his credit — he was always actually able to get the best stuff,” McCall said.

And above everything else McCall said the group still resonates with people and that ultimately is what has contributed to their success.

“Fans still love them, they still connect with people and they continue to have that alchemy on stage — when they look at each other and lock in,” he said.