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The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones by Rich Cohen.

December 14, 2019

stonesThe Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones by Rich Cohen. Pub. Headline Publishing Group, 2016.

From the author “you’ve never seen or heard the Stones unless they are playing in a bar, you’ve had 3 drinks, Charlie has gotten loose, Keith has found his groove and Mick has remembered who he really is.” I think that is about right and how I would have loved to see them play like that.

This very literate, entertaining, opinionated, factual and perceptive book not only about the Rolling Stones but also about the cultural movements that occurred in the 60’s & 70’s when they were in there heyday. Jagger once said “I’d rather be dead than singing Satisfaction when I’m 45″. Well he is mid 70’s now and still performing. Keef seems to think they will keep going till they can’t.

The Stones were wild,”Would you let your daughter date a Rolling Stone” screamed the press. They were middle class boys who dressed and acted down unlike the Beatles who were working class boys who were dressed up like the middle class. The Beatles were better musicians in my opinion but the Stones had the blues roots that I adored. The contrast between the two bands is a theme of this book.

I first heard the Stones on the radio on the West Coast doing It’s All Over Now but the song that grabbed me was Little Red Rooster. The blues was everything from the beginning for the Stones and they owed this to Brian Jones. His decline within the band and his death is another theme of this book.

The book tells how the Stones got together as Brian’s band and how Andrew Oldham changed the dynamics by encouraging Mick and Keith to write the songs. Charlie became the safety valve between factions in the band and Bill followed the girls and laid down the base line. Even  the author  was mocked by Charlie when he first got the job of interviewing the band. Keith said “if Charlie mocks you you are alright, if not he is silent”

Cohen also looks at the perspective that the story of the Stones is about drugs. Yes and no. Keith certainly, Mick often in the early days, Brian big time, Charlie and Bill never. The raid on Keith’s house at Redlands is described as is Brian’s decline and death and Marianne Faithful’s overdose in Australia. All the goss including the alleged Mars Bar.

All the albums, all the big songs are discussed, plus the view by Bruce Springsteen that “what more can a poor boy do except to sing for a rock n roll band” is the best line from a rock n roll song. Ever. From Street Fighting Man if you don’t know. The account of Altamont will blow your mind.

I’m not going to tell you any more you can find out for yourself by reading this very readable and fascinating biography of  the band that has been called The greatest Rock n Roll Band in the World. Mick was not pleased when this title was given to them by Sam Cutler the organiser of the Stones free concert in memory of Brian Jones in 1969 and of Altamont.

There is so much in this book that even if you don’t like the Stones, you get a portrait of the 60’s & 70’s which in my opinion is one of the best ages that people on this planet have had. I feel privileged to have been a Boomer and witnessed it all. I can relive it through this book.

Go ahead spoil yourself this Xmas by reading a rock n roll book of real substance. The author concludes that history gives way to legend about anything with the Stones.

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