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Re: The Rolling Stones at 50

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:00 pm
by Adam Blake
Ted wrote:Let It Bleed is the last human Stones album.


Thank you, Ted. Nailed very neatly.

One of my pet soapbox subjects is how cocaine ruined rock'n'roll. They were certainly using it by this time, but it hadn't ruined them yet. Certainly by "Sticky Fingers" the rot had set in with a vengeance (yes, Garth, I know, it's got some great songs and some great moments on it, but the sense of embalmed emotions is all but stifling).

"Let It Bleed" and "Beggars Banquet" are also their best produced records. Jimmy Miller was on a roll.

If my anorak serves me well, the version of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" on the B side of "Honky Tonk Women" loses the London Bach Choir intro.

Re: The Rolling Stones at 50

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:58 pm
by garth cartwright
I once drove out of LA listening to Let It Bleed - sunny day but that album absolutely felt right for leaving that city of dark shadows.

I agree with you Adam about coke ruining the Stones (and much else). Was listening to Exile today and while some of it is so-so-so great you can hear the lazy, druggy decline setting in. Goats Head Soup is so bad I have never owned a copy. Not even a 2nd hand one. What a falling off!

Agreed about the Bach choir. Great song. No need for ornamentation.

Who is this Firestone you guys are referencing?

Re: The Rolling Stones at 50

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:05 am
by AndyM
Firestone was a pioneering 60s American feminist writer, Garth, sort of their Germaine Greer but considerably more radical.

Re: The Rolling Stones at 50

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:08 am
by john poole
"Sticky Fingers" certainly wasn't a bad record, but it always seemed a little lifeless to me in comparison to their previous work, partly as a result perhaps of having worked on some of the songs too long. "Exile on Main St." still sounds like a great album to me - their murky masterpiece, but "Goat's Head Soup", I remember thinking to be a candidate for the most disappointing LP of all time - not sure I would have bothered with them any further had that been the first record of theirs I heard. As it was I continued with them into the Ron Wood years - generally some reminders that they once were the Rolling Stones, if never as vital as in the old days. Gradually the albums seemed to be promoting the tours instead of the other way round. Hardly unique though in having almost all their best work during their first decade of recording.

We'll probably all have had enough of the 50th anniversary before the day is out, but here's one from the set-list of that first Marquee appearance (with Tony Chapman on drums incidentally, rather than Mick Avory as Christopher Sandford claimed in the Guardian piece earlier in the week). Here recorded two years later at Chess Studios and in MONO as it should be heard - 'Down the Road Apiece' from the US LP "The Rolling Stones, Now" (the US version of their second LP) with the sadly missed Ian Stewart on piano.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcICFGqhpFM
Recorded by Chuck Berry for the 1960 LP "Rockin' at the Hops" - perhaps that was one of the LPs that Mick had under his arm the day he met Keith on Dartford railway station.

The Marquee set-list from that first appearance as written in Ian Stewart's diary and first reproduced in Roy Carr's "Illustrated Record" book in the mid 70s (online here from 2009). Interesting to note how many Jimmy Reed songs were included.
http://www.iorr.org/talk/read.php?1,1098453,1098908

and it's 49 years this month since I saw their first TV appearance miming to 'Come On' on ATV's "Thank Your Lucky Stars"

Re: The Rolling Stones at 50

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:02 am
by Adam Blake
Lovely choice, John. I remember painstakingly learning every guitar lick from that record.

You've made me feel OK about writing about The Stones. It's so complicated. I loved them so much when I was a teenager, they let me down so badly, I hated them, I became indifferent to them, now I'm almost ready to accept them again. I know, I know, one shouldn't attach so much significance to these things but I bought into the myth so thoroughly as a youth. I would never have guessed that Mick Jagger's primary interest was money, but it should have been obvious. I blame them for my own foolishness and thus the blaming is very bitter.

The music? Yes, some of it still sounds great. Keith Richard was my guitar teacher. I owe him for that. I learned more off listening to him than I ever learned off any in-the-flesh teachers. I would listen to Chuck Berry, not be able to make head or tail of it, listen to Keith's version, learn that, and go back to Chuck and be able to see what Keith had done. Invaluable. For myself, I wouldn't be without their 60s output. As a live band, they were pretty incomparable up to around 1974 when Mick Taylor left (although, for me, The Who on a good night could take anyone apart, including The Stones) - as the many bootlegs attest. The segment I posted above is from "Welcome To New York", recorded at Madison Square Garden, on Mick Jagger's birthday 1972.

People think I hate The Stones because I love The Beatles so much. Nonsense. I hate The Stones because I loved them so much.

Re: The Rolling Stones at 50

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:52 am
by garth cartwright
I think you are a little too hard on Jagger, Adam. If he was only ever interested in money he would not have joined a blues band at the start and certainly would not have been so engaged in making great record after great record, taking the likes of BB King, Ike & Tina, Stevie Wonder, even the unknown Prince as tour support etc. If only interested in money he would of been a mercenary like Jimmy Page and ripped off everyone going and churned out blues cliches as stadium rock.

Sure, Jagger eventually became a dancing accountant but from 1962-72 he was someone who loved music very much and proved to be a remarkable songwriter and entertainer. The man that sang Gimme Shelter had real soul, no doubt. Accusations of "selling out" could be said for Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, Ray Davies (last album featured him recutting old classics with Bon Jovi and Metallica... - at least Mick has never done that), The Who (i'd bet money a Stones stadium show is better than a Who stadium show), John Lydon (not in the same league but another example of someone who once "meant it" then wanted nothing but money) etc. Today almost all musicians are encouraged to sell out as quickly as possible - hard to believe there was a time when they were about the music first!

Re: The Rolling Stones at 50

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:45 am
by Adam Blake
You're right, Garth. It was the idealism that The Stones inspired that made the selling-out such a bitter pill to swallow. Jagger realised at some point, probably when it dawned on him how much he had been ripped off by Allen Klein, that there was serious money at stake and he'd better get on the case. Keith wasn't going to, after all, being too drugged up at the time.

I don't care anymore. I just feel that I got cheated somewhere along the line, but actually it was my own stupid fault for believing what I read in the NME, for thinking that songs like "Street Fighting Man" and "You Can't Always Get What You Want" were any more than just good songs. My generation (born 1960) had a lot of cultural baggage to carry, most of which we still have never fully assimilated, understood or discarded.

Music as music, though, The Stones 1962-72 output is one of the great catalogs of the era and no arguing about that.

(By the way, a band with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts in it can still call itself The Rolling Stones, but a band called The Who without John Entwistle or Keith Moon in it is not The Who.)

Re: The Rolling Stones at 50

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:45 pm
by AndyM
I'm curious as to why you hold the Stones so particularly culpable in that 'selling out' debate, Adam. Didn't any 60s act who (a) didn't die and (b) sought legitimate material reward for their achievements commit similar 'crimes' ? (Inverted commas designed to indicate I personally don't buy into that discourse, though I do understand its impulse.)

Re: The Rolling Stones at 50

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:23 pm
by Adam Blake
At least a three glass conversation there, Andy, but the short answer is it's got far more to do with me than it has to do with them.

I think Jagger in particular occupied a unique position in the counterculture wars of the late 60s - and he blew it. But he didn't ask to be put in that position, he was placed there by the establishment. He's a smart fellow and realised he had been set up, so he took refuge in fame and vast wealth - unlike Lennon who was in a similar position and got manipulated by some very shrewd left wing opportunists.

But nowadays, it's all ancient history, is it not? Write a Mojo article. Include lots of sex and drugs. Consume and throw away.

Re: The Rolling Stones at 50

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:49 pm
by AndyM
Interesting.

Now, this is going to come out ALL wrong, and you'll be insulted, but honestly that's not my intention, it's a genuine enquiry, so here goes...... But why were you so invested in the generation before yours ? Most teenagers rebel against the generation before them. The 60s counterculture wasn't your era, important and seductive and fascinating as it was, you should have been agitated about the Anti-Nazi League & Thatcher & etc etc etc.

I suspect the quality of 60s music had something to do with it!

Re: The Rolling Stones at 50

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:04 pm
by Adam Blake
AndyM wrote:I suspect the quality of 60s music had something to do with it!


Exactly.

And being an inquisitive soul, I wanted to know why that music possessed that quality. In particular, I wanted to know how The Beatles had got from "Love Me Do" to "Tomorrow Never Knows" in less than four years..................

But drugs aside, I still believe that there was a bona-fide cultural renaissance, made possible by many factors, most but not all economic, that there was a brief (shining?) moment when an entirely more positive way of life was suddenly within grasping distance. And then it receded forever.

Compared to culture shifts on this level, the punk and post-punk stuff that I was directly involved in seemed like pretty small beer to me. But then the grass is always greener...

Re: The Rolling Stones at 50

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:18 pm
by AndyM
Can't argue with much of that, though it seems like a sure-fire way to set yourself up for a lifetime of disappointment!

Re: The Rolling Stones at 50

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:19 pm
by Adam Blake
What you might find even more interesting, Andy, are the numbers of young people who feel the same way. At least I vaguely remember the 60s, many people that I have met in their late teens and early twenties obviously do not. But they are obsessive! Admittedly, the politics of the era hardly interest them at all, but the music the music the music...
For some young people, The Small Faces never split and The new Beatles album is going to be a real departure.

Go figure, Mr Cultural Studies Teacher!

Re: The Rolling Stones at 50

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:57 pm
by AndyM
I find that rather depressing. The 60s, for such people, must have become a cross between a hidey-hole and a theme park.

Re: The Rolling Stones at 50

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:28 pm
by Adam Blake
It is an odd phenomenon. But they seem perfectly happy. I'm not saying it's common, mind.