Friday, 11 December 2009

Where are they now?

I love this album cover (everyone looks great when they're made of anti-matter). "More Hot Rocks" a fairly non-essential Stones best of. I'm a big fan of the Stones. I find some of their earlier recordings a bit scrawny but, and I know this is hardly groundbreaking stuff, I love the run of albums from "Beggars Banquet" through to "Exile on Main Street". I've never listened to anything after "Main Street", I don't have to, I just know. It's like someone waved an evil wand and their powers deserted them.

As well as the music I love the way they looked (in the sixties) and again in this I'm far from alone - their style still defines the dress code of swathes of indie kids and would be hipsters in general. And I suppose they played a part in shaking down the still Victorian attitudes of their day. But that is the limit of my admiration. I love all the myths and by far the best book I've ever read dealing with them is "Up and Down with the Rolling Stones" by genuine insider Tony Sanchez (immortalised on the cover of "Beggars Banquet" through the grafitto - "Spanish Tony Where Are You?").

In some ways the book fuels the myths with its description of their seventies tour behaviour but it hilariously dispels any idea that either Mick Jagger or Keith Richards were in any way bad boys. Due I suppose to the fact that he got to know Keith better his reputation as anything but a tight fisted and rather cowardly heroin addict takes a bit of a kicking. This seems to have upset a few reviewers of the book on Amazon, Americans taking it especially badly. Only Brian Jones comes across as actually living (and dying) up to the myth, and it's clear from this book (and others) that he was a bit of a cunt. Albeit, from a distance, a very cool and at times amusing one.

I despise the current celebrity culture and the tabloids and magazines such as Heat and Hello that thrive on it, but I suppose the truth is that that's because I have no interest in any of the people they're writing about. "Up and Down with the Rolling Stones" is a massive violation of Keith Richards' privacy, and one that leaves him looking like a small man in many instances. What justification is there for it? Perhaps Andrew Loog Oldham should take some of the blame - he built the Stones a monstrous reputation - was it therefore fair of Tony Sanchez to attempt to show the reality behind it?


  1. I'm with you on that classic run ~ but Black and Blue and Some Girls are worth checking..

    I've always been tempted with the Sanchez book I'll have grab that. Best Stones biog I've read is Victor Bokris's Keef one.

    And Through The Past Darkly's a great cover too

  2. I've never read the Bokris book, don't know why not. Up and Down is the best I've read so far though and Marianne Faithfull's book is good as well, though I don't really like her - so pretentious. Compare and contrast the bits in each book describing how Spanish Tony and Marianne Faithfull ended up in bed together.

    Probably the best non autobiographical book I've read about them is Blown Away, which is really just a long series of quotations from most of the main characters.

    I think my all time favourite sleeve of theirs is "Jumpin' Jack Flash" - I'm amazed you can't get it as a big poster.