Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

"Time waits for no one" .....

The Stones in '71: GIMME SHELTER
Even the Rolling Stones had their comeback gig at the London O2 cut short when they - of course - began late and over-ran. Why can't concerts ever start on time? Surely they have all day to get ready - people have to get home too so need to get away while public transport still runs. Fans apparantly were left stranded at the O2 which happens quite a lot as public transport shuts down on time here.

The Stones though - a fascinating article in yesterday's paper by music commentator Mick Brown. But first, their set list: Wanna Be Your Man, Its All Over Now, Get Off My Cloud, Paint it Black, Gimme Shelter, Wild Horses, All Down The Line, Going Down, Out of Control, Doom and Gloom, Its Only Rock & Roll, Honky Tonk Woman, Before they make me run, Happy, Midnight Rambler, Start Me Up, Tumbling Dice, Brown Sugar, Sympathy for the Devil, You Cant Always Get What You Want and Jumping Jack Flash - they were going to finish with Satisfaction but couldn't ... what,  no Miss You or Emotional Rescue, 2 of their later songs I like.
That new documentary CROSSFIRE HURRICANE got me interested in the Stones again, as it highlights those crazy rock & roll tours or circuses of the '70s when the Stones were leading the pack.  I don't think I really need to see them now as they approach their 70s! Did we ever think back in '69 when they were producing that great run of albums (THEIR SATANIC MAJESTIES, BEGGER'S BANQUET, LET IT BLEED (my 24th birthday present from my best friend Stan, as per his inscription) and STICKY FINGERS with that real zip on the cover , that they would still be going strong 40 years later!  I am amazed now that I threw out all my vinyl albums when moving house a few years ago - what was I thinking? - ok I may never have played the vinyl versions any more but they were part of  my history ... even selling them wouldn't have made any money .... those albums though were the sound of the era, as The Beatles broke-up and Jim Morrison exited ....

As Mick Brown says about the high ticket prices: "The Stones long ago set the benchmark for shameless cynical exploitation of "the brand"  .... . It is an odd paradox that while the Stones have not made an album worth listening to since TATTOO YOU in 1981 they are bigger business now than they ever were, the prime example of 60s and 70s rock music as heritage industry. It is a tired and familiar trope to to point out the irony of old rockers, who can barely make it to the stage unaided, singing the anthems of their rebellious youth - half The Who still going, Paul McCartney has become a national institution wheeled out at state occasions to sing the creaking Hey Jude .... surely its time to give it a rest? 

Watching CROSSFIRE HURRICANE reminded you of just how glamorous, how dangerous, how romantic the Stones were in their prime: a different species altogether from the cadavers who emerged, as if from creaking coffins, on the O2 stage. Jagger is as they say marvellous for his age .... surviving tax exile, two expensive divorces and, by his own account, "dozens" of paternity suits."

I may have to re-buy those classic 4 late '60s albums, which are cheap cds now, there's lots of tracks I like on them, rather than the latest 50 track compilation. I also got the re-issued EXILE ON MAIN STREET a few years ago - their following albums we also got at the time but GOATS HEAD SOUP, ITS ONLY ROCK & ROLL etc only had a few good tracks each..  I think the last item of theirs I bought was a CD single Saint of Me which had a bonus live version of Gimme Shelter or Midnight Rambler ...

The BBC programmer though had a sense of humour: CROSSFIRE HURRICANE was followed by the movie NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD...  
Well, thats done The Stones as well as The Beatles and Cream and the Joni Mitchell re-issues, Paul Simon, Pet Shop Boys etc (Music label) - who next? Pink Floyd ?, The Moody Blues ? Tamla Motown ? Atlantic? (seeing Aretha and Otis Redding etc), Disco, acid house, soul grooves and club music ... ?


  1. Hey Michael, I saw Crossfire Hurricane too and it reignited my interest in the Stones (I'm 27 so missed them in their prime but I love their early London years stuff). The Altamont footage was particularly amazing. Going to seek out Gimme Shelter and Cocksucker Blues, which I hear are the best Stones docs from the golden age.

  2. hi Joe, yes CROSSFIRE HURRICANE reminds us of the Stones in their prime and those crazy 70s years and tours.... I got their best albums cheap on cd, so putting those on ipod this week! At their peak tracks like "Midnight Rambler" were simply stunning.