As some of you may know, a certain Rock ‘n Roll band of geriatrics who have been around since 1962, are back on tour again now in late 2012. These old geezers have been doing this for 50 years now, which is proof that The Rolling Stones will continue to get up on stage and play as long as they can still breathe, and lots of people will still pay expensive ticket prices to go see them.
I have a love/hate relationship with the Stones. At various times, the Stones have been the best of times and the worst of times for me, to paraphrase another English guy Charles Dickens, who if he was alive today, he would be 200 years old. Which is only slightly older than Jagger and Richards are. Or at least Mick and Keith look like they could be 200 years old these days.
Okay, now maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but check out the following:
Mick Jagger in his prime, circa 1970.
And Jagger now, in 2012.
Keith Richards in 1969
My wife Jean admitted to having quite a crush on Keith, back in the day.
But maybe not so much now…
Charles Dickens in 1868.
Sorry Mick & Keith, but Dickens at around your age looked a hell of a lot better than you do these days.
But since it’s not very nice for a 56 year old young guy like me to be so mean to the elderly, I will (temporarily) stop bashing the Stones for looking like fossilized stones… The following video is an example of one of the better times during my love/hate relationship with The Rolling Uglies, who long ago used to represent that “a rolling stone gathers no moss” but now in 2012, Jagger’s face gathers more wrinkles than an old man’s scrotum.
Those of you who aren’t Stones fans can skip all the videos here, and just read the post. Or go read someone else’s post… That’s cool with me, and hey, no hard feelings! :-)
The song in the video “Live With Me” is the first track on a tape I made at around 2:00 AM on a very early morning after a long and late night of romance with Lucy in the Skies with Diamonds, in 1978. I woke up the next day at around 2:00 in the afternoon, and I had completely forgotten about making the tape, until I found it in my tape deck. When I played it, I was delighted to discover that while in my very altered state of consciousness the night before, I had put together a great mix of some of my all time favorite Stones tunes, by recording them in a random but very effective selection from my extensive collection of Rolling Stones vinyl LPs.
“Live with Me” was followed on my tape by “Let it Bleed”
My very first memory of hearing The Rolling Stones was in 1965, when “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” was a big hit. The song was also very controversial at the time, because of lyrics such as:
“I can’t get no satisfaction
I can’t get no girl reaction…
And I’m tryin’ to make some girl
Who tells me baby better come back later next week
Cause you see I’m on a losing streak
I can’t get no, oh no, no, no!…”
Compared to some of the truly obscene song lyrics of today, it’s almost hard to imagine that back in 1965, lots of parents were really up in arms about lyrics like “I can’t get no girl reaction… And I’m tryin’ to make some girl…” My, how times have changed!
But although I liked “Satisfaction”, the first Stones song to really grab me by the ears and shake me with a major rush of adrenalin, was “The Last Time” which was also a big hit in 1965.
If you listen to nothing else in this entire post, please listen to this public service announcement. It’s vitally important, and people’s lives literally depend upon this message being heard, and then acted upon as soon as possible.
While searching for a video of “The Last Time” I had no idea that I was going to find this message, but when I did, I had to include it here.
When I was 14 years old, there was another Stones song I vividly remember being so thrilling that it gave me chills while hearing it, even though I’d heard it many times before. It was “Sympathy for the Devil” – on the night that I got to tag along with my 19 year old brother and his friends for a Saturday night adventure that literally included sex, drugs and Rock ‘n Roll for all of us…
We were listening to the recording studio version, but however much my 14 year old adolescent excitement was jacked up to a fever pitch while hearing it that night, in the years since, I’ve come to like the live version the Stones performed in 1969 at Madison Square Garden in NYC much better. It features some great guitar work from Keith Richards and Mick Taylor on a night when they were both really hot!
So during my love/hate relationship with The Rolling Stones, what has been the down side for me?
The Stones have an infamous history of playing some truly horrible live shows, mostly back in the mid to late 1970s. There were nights when Mick & Keith were both guilty of showing up for a concert so drunk and drugged out of their skulls, that when they tried to play the great Rock ‘n Roll they were famous for, they failed spectacularly. When their seriously impaired condition was combined with no attempt to do any pre-show sound checks or proper mixing, the Stones sounded so bad that sometimes it was hard to recognize what songs they were attempting to play.
What pissed me off even more, was that Jagger made it obvious by things he said publicly, that he really didn’t give a fuck what anyone thought of the worst of their shows. He acted like it was still a great privilege for people to see him “perform” no matter how bad his performance was.
This was frustrating as hell for people like me, who knew just how good the Stones could really be, on a night when they decided to show up and play the great live music they were truly capable of, when they weren’t out of their heads, and they made the effort to perform at their very best. Check out this video of the Stones live in 1972, playing “Love in Vain.”
But in 1978 I was still delighted when the Stones released their album “Some Girls” because I thought it was some of their best music in years, and I loved it. But I did NOT love it at all, when The Rolling Stones went on tour in 1978, and suddenly decided to jack their ticket prices up to $75.00 a ticket for seating in huge arena Rock venues. This was at a time when ticket prices cost $20.00 or less to see and hear some of the greatest Rock bands and solo performers to ever perform live in concert.
I thought that the sky rocketing prices for getting into a Stones concert in 1978 was nothing less than disgusting and greedy price gouging, and I refused to pay $75.00 for a ticket to a Stones show. But I guess that I must have been one of the few people to boycott the Stones, because the entire 1978 “Some Girls” arena Rock tour sold out, down to the very last available seat.
Even worse, the Stones also sold out again as musicians, when no less than “Rolling Stone” magazine reported that more than a few of the Stones’ performances in 1978 weren’t very good. In fact, they sucked so bad in Dallas, that the huge crowd who paid $75.00 a head to get in to see The Rolling Stones, starting booing them when the Stones sounded like shit.
Jagger’s response was to kick the “Rolling Stone” reporter off the tour, for publicly ratting out his band for their shameful shows, and then Mick threatened to sue “Rolling Stone” for using his band’s name. Which came to nothing when “Rolling Stone” was quick to remind Jagger it was common knowledge that the original founder of the Stones, Brian Jones, named the band after a song by Blues great Muddy Waters, called “Rollin’ Stone”, that was recorded back in 1948.
But the final insult and outrage for people like me, came when almost all of the big name Rock bands and performers soon began charging $75.00 and up for tickets to their concerts, after seeing the massive financial success of the “Some Girls” tour, even though it was frequently an artistic failure.
Which is why I will always have a love/hate relationship with The Rolling Stones, and however much I love some of Jagger’s best efforts, I will never like Mick the little prick for his overblown and arrogantly huge ego, and his often petulantly childish and obnoxious personality. And why I will continue to have fun at Jagger’s expense, by making fun of his increasingly ancient looking face…
Jagger way back when…
I wonder if he’s feeling any sympathy for the devil, now that time is no longer on his side, and he really can’t get no satisfaction, cause his looks have been shattered, and some girls no longer want to start him up like they used to. Many women don’t miss him, and he must feel like yesterday’s papers when all his love is in vain. It’s enough to make a grown man cry, and not for the last time, now that Jagger looks so much older, and much better with his face hidden under cover of the night.
(There are references to ten different Stones songs in the paragraph above.)
But… now that I’ve got that little rant out of my system, there’s still all that great Stones music that I still love to listen to, to this very day. Also on the plus side, I finally ended my boycott of Stones ticket prices in 1990 for the “Steel Wheels” tour and I was rewarded when I saw and heard The Rolling Stones play one of the ultimately best concerts of my entire life. Just don’t ask me what I paid for a pair of seats, because I’m not tellin’, except to say that it was a hell of a lot more than $75.00 a seat! But after swallowing hard, when I put that very large dollar amount on my credit card, it was worth it… BIG time!
I’m suddenly reminded of a very bad day I was having at work, when everything was going wrong, and even my favorite Rock radio station was playing an endless stream of crap almost all morning long. Until… suddenly the DJ played this song, and the opening electric guitar riff instantly felt like my blessed salvation from oncoming insanity, as it sliced right through all the bullshit that was played before, and vaporized it all away into nothingness…
The Rolling Stones… sometimes I can’t live with them, but I’d rather not live without them. I know that there’s a chance I will live long enough to see the day when Mick, Keith, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood no longer play any more live shows, or record any new music. But even when that day comes, I’ll still have the best of 50 years worth of some of the greatest Rock ‘n Roll ever played, and I’ll keep on listening to it, when I’m in the mood to hear it.
Because I know… it’s only Rock ‘n Roll… But I like it, like it, Yes I do!