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Pretty weird, but quite entertaining for all the wrong reasons.
on 24 February 2015
I bought this expecting what it says on the cover: "An Anthology of the Best Writing about the Greatest Rock 'n Roll Band in the World". Turns out this "anthology" is actually just a handful of reasonably entertaining articles, whereas the vast majority of it is the author's own reviews of every album, song, musician, producer, engineer, album cover etc. Not necessarily a bad thing, but this is actually a pretty strange one - because Sean Egan doesn't actually appear to like the Stones much at all. I'm all for a neutral and well backed-up review of any piece of work, but I'm still struggling to see which Stones albums Mr Egan actually likes. I might remember this wrong, due to all the general negativity, but my impression of his reviews is that there were a few great tracks, very few decent albums (but there's still always something wrong somewhere), and a whole bunch of crap. So you might think a song like Tumbling Dice is a wonderful, almost perfect piece of music? Not so! Sean Egan knows better than most, and when he says it's mediocre and a poor choice of single, obviously that's correct.
He also gets the various contributors' roles all mixed up, constantly blaming producers or engineers for things they may not have had anything to do with at all. Everything that's wrong (in his opinion) about a mix or master, is all down to the producer (or engineer where the Glimmer Twins produced it themselves, because he clearly doesn't understand what a producer does). The fact that the Stones' producers in most cases have had very little to do with the engineering, and often even less to do with the mixing, is a fact that passes him by. At several points he blatantly states that the producer operates the console, which of course is very often not how it works at all.
Sean Egan is also clearly a mind reader, because he knows exactly why the various band members behaved how they did and how they internally reacted to various situations. With no references whatsoever, he boldly explains what goes on in people's heads, for example Mick's true feelings and expectations around the release of his third solo effort. (not even the best example, just happens to be where I'm up to at the moment).
The strange thing is it's actually pretty well written. The prose does not at all reflect the mediocre and often ridiculous content (in my opinion, I haste to add).
As you can probably guess, this is not a book I would recommend to anyone, except maybe a Stones fan who might just find it quite entertaining for all the wrong reasons, as I did.