This week, in further celebration of the Rolling Stones 50th anniversary (or marketing ploy to boost sales of their next greatest hits collection), NPR’s All Things Considered has been airing short interviews with each of the band members, the topic being their favorite Stones song. Keef took “Street Fighting Man,” with Charlie picking “Satisfaction,” and Ron Wood selecting “Dance (Pt. 1).” All great choices. Mick’s spot will be broadcast this evening. I have a feeling he’s going to go with “Sympathy For The Devil.” We’ll see.
I’m still having a hard time adjusting to this fifty years thing. Let’s face it, nobody really thought rock & roll would stick around for so long. It was a young man’s game early on. Some folks say that that hasn’t changed and the dinosaurs need to get out of the way. Right. You want to say that to Keith Richards’ face?
For the live show experience, age is pretty much irrelevant. It might be weird to see some wrinkled old dudes up there, but if they can still rock, what’s the problem? Heck, Springsteen is 63 and he’s still bustin’ up the joint. Same goes for Rush and Neil Young. And while the quality of a live Bob Dylan show can be debated, there’s no getting around the fact that he’s still putting out some pretty inspired music.
And so back to the Stones. A few decades ago, I got kind of tired of classic rock. I’d grown up with it, never straying far from that FM radio. But it was that very same radio that pushed me away. I’d hit my limit of Seeger’s “Turn The Page.” The Stones have a huge catalog, but all they would only play “Satisfaction” or “Start Me Up.” I needed some variety.
So I became a JazzSnob™. And after being away from most classic rock for a couple of years, it all seemed kind of fresh again. I also began to appreciate the long-haul staying power of many of these riffs. From the opening licks of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” to slashing into of “Jumping Jack Flash,” there’s something to be said for making history with those six strings.
There was one one terrific line from Richards’ interview segment: “These riffs were built to last a lifetime, and I’m still working on them, you know?”
Yeah Keith, we know.