Jim Roberts Observes How the Rolling Stones are Part of the American Psyche
With the Golden anniversary of the Rolling Stones underway, it is time to reflect on their music, legacy and influence. Their humble beginnings in the arms of Brian Jones and Ian Stewart has turned into what is the greatest rock-n-band left today. I don’t use that term lightly. They have weathered time with an array of pop, blues, R&B, disco and rock that is instantly recognizable and playfully fun to listen to. From Keith Richard’s riff machine which has come to define the quintessential rock sound, to Charley Watts straight ahead beat that makes everyone groove hard, this music literally moves people.
Then there is the vocal prowess of Mick Jagger who could be called one of the best front men to grace a stage – with the moves that cross between a sprinter and a stripper, Mick never disappoints. Ron Wood adds the second guitar which has defined the Rolling Stone sound since it’s inception, first with Brian Jones and then Mick Taylor. Wood came on board in 1975 and has been with the band for 38 years. The two guitars weave and dodge so that one does not always know who is playing which part. It is indeed a tapestry of fine woven sound that has caressed our sensibilities for 5 decades.
And the music? To name just a few, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, Brown Sugar, Wild Horses, Gimme Shelter, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Happy, Shattered, Let’s Spend the Night Together, Sympathy for the Devil and on and on. All these hits are available in their newest compilation Grrrr! along with the new DVD, Crossfire Hurricane, a substantial overview of their years together. Other film classics include Gimme Shelter, the film that set new standards for documentary film making. A slice of 1969 that just happened to witness the end of the peace and love era with a mismanaged concert that captured a death and multiple beatings by the Hell’s Angels “security”. The Stones in Exile reveals captivating footage of the making of Exile on Main Street while running away from a 93% English tax rate that was leaving them in debt.
You can even track down a banned copy of Cocksucker Blues which offers a personal look at the personification of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll. Be prepared to be adequately bored while you are fast forwarding to find the good parts as fantasy is often just a fragment of real life. If that’s not enough, you can get a new Rolling Stones app, read the new Rolling Stones 50 book complete with previously unreleased photography, check out Muddy Waters and the Stones live DVD in 1981, visit their online store which is teaming with memorabilia or revisit one of their 25 album releases all the way from their 1st release The Rolling Stones, NOW! to A Bigger Bang from 2005. If you can’t get what you want, just try to get what you need!
Thomson notes: Jim Roberts is Adjunct Percussion Faculty at Elon University. Find out more about this talented musician at his website. Also check out just a few of his recordings at cdBaby for Craicdown. And most importantly, here is a link letting you know where you can hear him and when, so keep your ears open!