If the headline from a recent article published in “The Wichita Eagle” could speak, it would project the tone of proud, boasting parents: “Rolling Stones to tour (and why you should care).”
The multitude of Rolling Stones’ fans have shown just how much they care after 50 years of listening to their music, attending their worldwide concerts, spending hundreds of dollars for tickets, albums, clothing, books and other merchandise.
Those once youthful, mussy bad boys of rock and roll do not seem so bad now. There are books continuously being published – so many biographies, autobiographies, song books and other ditties – about the band that it could be a difficult decision picking only one out of the bunch.
Steve Appleford’s “The Rolling Stones: The Stories Behind Their Biggest Songs,” could be a place to start.
Aside from a few minor setbacks, including a much deserved and necessary update of songs even though the book is a reprint, Appleford attempts to enlighten his readers with a lively introduction and story about the Stones’ music, giving an account of each song. Unfortunately, the research does not feature news of the more recent albums, “A Bigger Bang,” “40 Licks” and a few others were left out. However, stories about the making of their songs and afterlife is worth the read. The personal accounts of the original Stones’ cast give extra highlights. It should be noted, however, that some of the stories of the Stones and their music vary in perspective from one author to another. Actually, I prefer Keno’s “Rolling Thru The Stones” and his own rendition of the stories behind some of the band’s compositions as found in the chapter, “Most Asked Stones Questions,” but that is for another day of discussion. With their high octane levels of energy, great performances, humor and some of the most memorable songwriting abilities, The Rolling Stones never seem to let down their followers. This alone is astounding. It’s even more amazing that they, in their 60s and 70s, plan to embark on their “50 and Counting” tour starting in May.
Whether it’s their personalities, the stories and rumors people hear about their drug use and/or ‘sexcapades’ or their struggles of surviving the music industry, it is their songs that carry the most weight.
People are likely to find at least one song, perhaps a couple of lyrics from a song that they can identify with. Take time to ask anybody and they’ll say that they can find just as much meaning in a tender ballad like “Wild Horses,” “Slipping Away,” or “As Tears Go By,” as they are able to find themselves immersed and totally swept away with a muddy waters’ blues number, or “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Honky Tonk Women,” “Country Honk,” “The Last Time,” “A Rock and A Hard Place,” “Break the Spell,” or “Some Girls.”
Some people might not think spending $300 to $400 for Stones’ tickets makes much sense. Like the television commercial featuring the “Peanuts” characters where Lucy firmly states, “It should be five cents,” most Stones’ fans know that “everything can’t be five cents.” Sometimes paying more for the best is the best policy of all. Incidentally, I got a real bargain on Appleford’s book: I only paid $7.98. In this case, I settled on what I could afford at the time, even though I’d much rather have been in the crowd to hear “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones!”
Carol A. Wright is a freelance writer and a former Manhattan resident.