“Is everybody ready?”
“Ladies and Gentlemen the greatest rock and roll band in the world, The Rolling Stones.”
The famous intro from The Rolling Stones 1970 live album Get Yer Ya-Yas Out! Not the intro they used at their first ever gig at the Marquee Club in London, which was 50 years ago today.
Whether or not you believe that The Stones are the greatest rock and roll band in the world, they are certainly longest surviving and one of, if not the most influential. So many front men have tried the moves like Jagger and guitarists to live like Keith, often with tragic results. Very few ever came close to the human riff himself. Probably the closest was so close they eventually made him a Rolling Stone. Ron Wood joined the band in 1976 after the departure of Mick Taylor and Brian Jones before him and has now stayed longer than both of them combined.
It’s probably true to say that The Stones best songs and albums were released in the 60’s and 70’s, but they still put on great shows (even if they are often supplemented by a full backing band) and sell more tickets than almost anyone. Their Bigger Bang Tour was the second highest grossing tour of all time, raking in more than $550 million.
There is talk that they will retire this year, but there is no confirmation so far. In fact the picture below is their first together in four years and other reports say they are rehearsing again.
Andrew Loog Oldham, The Rolling Stones first manager was a great publicist and promotions man and decided to launch The Stones as the antithesis of the clean cut and more wholesome Beatles. They certainly lived up to that image, with Mick and Keithboth being arrested for drug possession in their early days and some sensational Sunday paper revelations of Marianne Faithful (Mick‘s girlfriend at the time, or Keith’s, or maybe both) being found naked under a rug when the Police raided them.
They remain at least anti-establishment enough to have avoided an appearance at the Queens Diamond Jubilee Concert and the embarrassment of their teeth rattling like Cliff Richard, lisping like Elton John or Mick’s voice having gone like Sir Paul McCartney’s. If they did receive an invite to that society event you can be sure that Keith Richards would have knocked it back, he has still not got over Mick Jagger accepting his knighthood.
If The Stones are rehearsing for one last hoorah, it has got to be worth getting along to, if they come near you. Everyone has to have seen The Rolling Stones at least once and to say you saw their final tour is something you can put on your tombstone. But if they did go down to the crossroads and do the deal with the devil, maybe they will be touring for another 50 years.
An update, 3 months later, the Rolling Stones have been in the studio and released their best single in a long time, here’s the clip of Doom and Gloom with lyrics from Youtube.