Friday, March 21, 2014
The Rolling Stones. The World's Greatest Rock n Roll Band. Just ask them. Or one of their devotees.
Are they? Of course not but who am I to judge? The Stones are every bit as important in the history of rock as anybody, except the Beatles of course. Their songs are timeless. Their hits are classics that never get old. And they haven't been relevant since 1974 when Mick Taylor had enough of Keith Richards bullshit and quit. This is their history. Sorry, Ron Wood fans, but that guy is like when Sammy Hagar joined Van Halen. Jump the Shark anybody?
But to suggest I don't like the Rolling Stones is wrong. I do like them. Love them at times. I love it when the inevitable comes in any Marty Scorcese movie and we get to hear a Stones classic. But to see them now pains me. In fact when I saw them in 1981 it pained me. Quite honestly I thought as a live band they sucked. And they were barely pushing 40 years old then.
The Rolling Stones. Yep it's love/hate with me. The brilliance of Satisfaction. The timelessness of Street Fighting Man. The genius of Paint It Black. The laziness of She's So Cold or Shattered.
And then there's Happy. I recall a story I read many moons ago where somebody asked Keith Richards why he didn't sing more of their songs. Keith replied with the classic "Well then what would HE do?". And that is what the Stones are to me. Genius musicians like Keith, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts, the glue that keeps it all together. Then there's Jagger, prancing around like a rooster onstage, being the greatest front man ever. It works. And then it didn't.
Worst Rolling Stones song:
I'm tempted to say anything after 1974 (other then the great Love Is Strong or A Little T&A) but it has to be :
I fucking hate that song. I hated that song in high school. I hated that song in college. I hate that song now on my way to the AARP meeting. The speculation on who it's about I hate. Carly Simon had already done that. Damn, the time period it used to take for me to hear the opening note to when I flipped the radio station was so minuscule Steven Hawking would have been amazed.
My Favorite Rolling Stones song:
Come on now. The song is pure raw emotion. Mick Jagger was never better. Add Merry Clayton screaming "rape, murder" is bone chilling. They were never better. If the apocalypse ever does come, I'm sticking this tune in my ears, Bring it on, Four Horsemen, I have Gimme Shelter going.
Sympathy For The Devil
I was tempted to say Gimme Shelter cuz it IS a masterpiece but Sympathy For The Devil is also a masterpiece. This song is part of the reason I have always felt a certain admiration for English musicians who seem to be writing smarter lyrics than their American counterparts (sorry Bob & Bruce, I don't mean you). I don't know why this happens, maybe perhaps because American musicians tend to be less educated (yeah,you Motley Crue) but the history lessons in this song show a certain awareness of history. It may have been the times, it may have been Mick Jagger's angst. I don't know. But it IS a masterpiece.
The Stones are certainly in the Top 5 of all time. There's no doubt. It's just that Jagger's act gets on my nerves sometimes. It gets on Charlie Watts' nerves sometimes. Remember the story of him punching Mick in the face for calling for "my fucking drummer" and then stating "You are my fucking singer". Goddamn ,Charlie, you ARE my favorite Stone ever. Even if that never happened, it should have.