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

December 14, 2019 Comments off

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.

Thanks a Lot Mr Kibblewhite. My Story by Roger Daltrey

March 5, 2019 Comments off

daltryThanks a Lot Mr Kibblewhite. My Story by Roger Daltrey. Pub. Allen&Unwin, 2018.

Pete Townsend once described The Who as “four people who should never have been in a band together”. In this autobiography Roger Daltrey goes out to prove how wrong this statement is, in a most literary manner.

For Daltrey the arguments, fights and friction gave the music of The Who, energy and vitality, something they fought about through their whole history. He portrays Pete Townsend as a brilliant but tortured composer whose music was at the heart of The Who.

Daltrey pulls no punches as he talks about the drugs, the girls, the TV sets out the window, the cars in the swimming pool, the touring, the death of Keith Moon and John Entwistle, Pete’s arrest for alleged child pornography(of which he was innocent), everything.

But more than that he gives a brilliant portrait of post war Britain and the rise of teenagers as a market force in the 60’s and 70’s.

One thing I will always remember from this book is how he describes the demise of singing at every level of society even in our education system. After the war people sang at parties, they sang at work, they sang in schools, they sang at home, they whistled as they walked down the street. Music was everywhere. It stemmed from keeping the morale up in war time and boy could we use some of it today. Nobody sings anymore. If you do they raise their eyes above the level of their cell phones and tut tut.

Thanks Roger for reminding me of where I came from and for a brilliant book.

If you are a rock fan, get a hold of this book it is classic rock history. And then there is Mr Kibblewhite. Who is he? Who are you?

I Am Brian Wilson by Brian Wilson with Ben Greenman.

July 3, 2017 Comments off

brian wilsonI Am Brian Wilson by Brian Wilson with Ben Greenman. Pub. 2016 Coronet.

George Martin called Brian Wilson a musical genius whose album with the Beach Boys titled Pet Sounds had a big influence on the Beatles classic Sergeant Pepper. God only Knows was Paul McCartney’s favourite song but for me it was Do It Again and the classic Crystals song Then I kissed Her.

Brian Wilson was a major influence in my musical life and in the history of rock music. You would never know that he was deaf in his right ear and that after taking LSD when he was 22 years old he started to hear voices that told him he was worthless, that he should give up and that they would kill him. He tried everything to get rid of them including therapy, drugs and alcohol all documented in this book.

Fortunately he heard other voices that created harmony and harmony was what Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys were all about. That Brian was able to manage his life is miraculous as he lost his two brothers Carl and Dennis, came under the influence of Doctor Landy who almost wrecked him and finally found his second wife Melinda who managed his moods and gave his life meaning.

Lots of music and songs in this book but do not expect an ordered chronological sequence of events. Brian can take you from 1963 to 1997 in the space of a sentence but it is all part of the man and for me it was riveting reading.

There is more to the book than this but you cannot help liking the man and it is all good vibrations in a little deuce coupe.