I've been a Stones fan since i saw them perform "Not Fade Away" on the Mike Douglas Show one summer morning centuries ago while my family vacationed in Maine. Must have been 14 or 15.
Anyway, Douglas apologetically introduced the band, and when Jagger began to sing, that was it. Mesmerized is the only word. Those guys were cool, and they knew it. The studio audience looked as if someone had let a pack of Dobermans loose. They didn't quite know how to take what they'd just witnessed. I loved it.
My mother bought me my first Rolling Stones record the following spring, Rolling Stones Now, which remains in the top 5 of their releases. "Mona," for instance, a Bo Diddley song is sublime.
The summer of "Satisfaction" (1965) for me was that I came close with a waitress from Small Point. Sad to say, though, that I was still a virgin when I enrolled at UNC two years later.
Then came the flood of four straight incredible albums: Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, and Exile On Main Street, back to back to back to back.
So, when LIFE came out, I wondered if Keith would discuss process. And, of course, he did and not just about songwriting or recording, but drug use, girl chasing, marriage, parenting, cars, government, travel: in essence, life itself.
I have less than hundred pages to go, and i now know that most of the focus of the book targets the Stones when they were at their best and Keith's struggle to leave heroin behind.
After the album, "Some Girls," it's very difficult to find another Stones album that doesn't seem forced. The Stones continued to make wonderful songs, but the magic of the 70s had passed.
I just learned that their most recent tour for their most recent studio album, A Bigger Bang, grossed 565 million bucks. That's stunning, considering (in my opinion) that the tour for the record had little to do with the record, but rather the legend. I didn't care for Bang at all. "Rough Justice" was the one song that came close to a Rolling Stones song. The Stones released a single last summer that was even worse than the worst Bang stuff. But I've learned to never think they are finished.
LIFE has helped me understand that when Jagger and Richards started going their separate ways, the blend of their personalities and talents which forged monumental moments in rock had been in every sense had been shattered. The magic of Lennon/McCartney, as well as the entire band, disappeared all too soon for us, but not for them. Stones fans are lucky that the band stayed tightly together as long as it did, because among the many observations one can make about the Rolling Stones, one should include that they were (and are) serious musicians.
I've been listening to Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street the past month. Fantastic records. Perhaps it's true that old farts like myself are stuck in the 70s. Well, when you consider the music of that time, it's easy to see why.